Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Holocene Extinction

I'm still working on getting scelest.us working, namely that I can get GoDaddy to forward to my IP, but the IP displays on the address instead of the domain name. I can still link to subfolders and such. More on this later.

I've been reading up a lot about global warming lately, and how it is potentially a threat to all life on Earth. Now, don't get me wrong - all this nastiness is unnecessary, and I'd rather the globe didn't warm. However, I think the idea that we could wipe out all LIFE on Earth is somewhat conceited. In the grand history of life, we are not special, and not capable of wiping out all life even if we wanted to.

To use a historical example, I would compare the Holocene extinction event (the current one that's our fault, otherwise known as the Sixth Extinction) to the Oxygen Catastrophe 2.5 billion years ago. The first Cyanobacteria evolved, and started recklessly spraying Oxygen all over the place. Before this, not only did organisms not need oxygen - but it was a deadly poison! Imagine the jerk sitting next to you starts farting HORRIBLE POISON GAS. And this is happening all over the world. That's why they call it a catastrophe.

So now, we're farting poison gas that seems to be killing everything, and people think that not only is this something new, but it's the end? The Proterozoic eon was started with the Oxygen Catastrophe; the Sixth Extinction could be a new beginning, rather than the end. An artificial life form could flourish in this toxic world we are creating, and it could be as important a step forward as the multicellular life spawned during the Proterozoic eon.

29 Comments:

Blogger J0kerr said...

http://www.junkscience.com/

read the global warming stuff

9:40 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

Uh... thanks? Considering Steven Milloy has been getting his pockets greased by ExxonMobil, I think I'll listen to 99% of Earth's environmental scientists.

11:29 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger J0kerr said...

Just remember, these were the same scientists that said the Earth was going into an Ice Age and we needed to put charcoal on the poles to keep the earth warm. Did you even read any of it or did you just dismiss it? Just because someone receives money from a source doesn't mean its false info, just means that they better check their work double to make sure the skeptics can't really pick it apart. The cigarete companies have found out their product is harmful, do we say that their findings aren't worth anything? If a fat man says to another fat man that they are fat, does that mean the 2nd fat man is skinny?

1:12 AM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

Funny you should mention cigarette companies... since Steven Milloy has been getting bribed by Phillip Morris as well. I'd much rather get my information from someone who doesn't have a conflict of interest; it's much more likely to contain bias.

7:57 AM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger J0kerr said...

I can see you looking for a different opinion from someone, but the facts are facts no matter who they come from.

"We pay taxes"
"Taxes are always good"

See the difference. Just because you don't like the facts doesn't make them false.

8:09 AM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger J0kerr said...

Now, I do realize that global warming is occuring....ON MARS!

Yeah, we polluted that place very well.

8:26 AM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

Before we discuss this further, I would like you to give me your word that you are not trolling, and that you honestly do not believe in global warming.

5:36 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger J0kerr said...

I believe in global warming. I just beleive its a natural phase of the planet. As in, humans, don't have much control over it and it will happen whether or not we are here.

7:46 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

That's a reasonable theory. With weather patterns, it's always difficult to ascertain a cause for any given effect. There is only one Earth on which to base your hypotheses, and in this case there are plenty of factors that may cause both warming AND cooling.

However, for centuries, Earth's temperature and atmospheric makeup remained relatively constant. When the industrial revolution started, we began releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide, which absorbs infared radiation and contributes to a greenhouse effect. On the global scale, CO2 levels have been reliably and significantly higher during interglacial periods, and lower during ice ages.

Now, it's possible that the planet's CO2 levels would be increasing naturally right now if there were no humans. But we have released more in the last hundred years than had been naturally released in the previous thousand years, and this happens to coincide with a significant increase in temperature.

10:46 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger J0kerr said...

I wish I could find the chart that shows the pattern of temperature only going slightly up with humans when compared to a couple of thousdand years but I can't. Its lost on the interet.
Heres something esle to look at though.
http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008597&mod=RSS_Opinion_Journal&ojrss=frontpage

10:59 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

If you feel the need to include sources, please link to them to support an argument of your own - I would much rather debate with you than with Google. Here is the global change in temperature for the last thousand years. I couldn't find one for two thousand years either.

11:47 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger J0kerr said...

Sorry, I don't know how to link in comments.

Also, this may help with CO2 levels if you can view it.

http://zebu.uoregon.edu/1996/ph123/vostok.gif

7:53 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

Well, that's helpful in a greater scale, but the industrial revolution is less than a pixel in width, so it's hard to see our effect.

The government actually has an Information Analysis Center just for Carbon Dioxide. Before 1958, they base their data on little bits of air caught in glaciers from ages past, and since then they've been taking readings in Mauna Loa, Hawaii. They report that CO2 levels have been increasing significantly.

Of course, since most of this data is from the glaciers supposedly in danger of melting, we've got another conflict of interest. Damn paranoid glaciers!

8:17 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger J0kerr said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling

Just another thing the scientist society agreed on. And this wasn't that long ago. It was also blamed on the same causes warming was blamed on. Human pollution. So Really, i think its natural and scientists really have no idea either.

9:35 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

Back in the 20th century, global cooling was also a reasonable theory. The temperature had been slightly decreasing for centuries, and the trend we're discussing now may have just looked like a fluke.

However, the global cooling theory was by no means as widely supported by scientists as global warming is today.

So we've agreed that there IS global warming. Would you agree or disagree that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is one of the primary causes?

6:04 PM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger J0kerr said...

1. We agree global warming is real.
2. I can find one site that says you are wrong. Until I see a little more the global cooling was still big among scientists. Remember how yuo treated junkscience.com

3. I'm saying that humans have had little if any effect on the global weather. Yes, we have changed it a little, we do effect things, just not in the magnitude that people are scared about. I don't think we have that much control over it.

7:49 PM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

2. From the last link you provided:
It is occasionally asserted that "in the 1970's, all scientists believed in global cooling" and therefore we should not believe in global warming now. However the scientific literature does not support this (see below); there is limited support from the popular press.
If you don't believe the facts presented in your own sources, what will it take to convince you?
3. I would agree that some people are getting too scared about it - that is what the original post is about. However, I'm curious about what you think happened to cause such a large spike (relative to the previous 900 years) in temperature, coincidentally at the same time as the industrial revolution. Could you please tell me in your own words?

4:20 AM, July 08, 2006  
Blogger J0kerr said...

In my own words, ok, let me try it.
I think that some people want to blame humans for glabal warming and are will to not look at some things to do this. I beleive, and I have a source with some sciency stuff after this, that humans have played a small part in global warming if any and that the earth has hit a natural part of its cycle. That would would explain the natural spikes, its part of the cycle.

http://www.clearlight.com/~mhieb/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

11:23 AM, July 09, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

Water vapor levels are mostly natural - they naturally reach an equilibrium proportional to the other greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere via a positive feedback.

3:43 PM, July 09, 2006  
Anonymous Phallus said...

First of all, I've never heard anyone, not even the craziest return-to-the-stone-age environmentalist, ever claim that global warming would wipe out all life on Earth. There are lifeforms in hot springs and at undersea vents that survive at temperatures in excess of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, so unless our climate becomes Venusian there's absolutely no threat of wiping out all life on Earth. More to the point, I've never even heard a non-psychotic ever even claim that humanity would be wiped out. At most, they suggest that it would cause some serious troubles for people in arid climates and those along the coasts. You're arguing with nobody.

But you inspired me to write more elsewhere.

5:34 PM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger jeff said...

Explodicle never claimed that global warming would wipe out all life on Earth. I believe he actually stated his opinion to be the opposite: "in the grand history of life, we are ... not capable of wiping out all life even if we wanted to." Now, while that doesn't directly say that he thinks that global warming cannot wipe out all life on Earth, it does say that he does believe that human kind is incapable of wiping out all life on Earth, even if it was to employ a method of superheating the globe.
As for calling j0kerr a nobody, that's a bit harsh, no? I think more accurately, phallus, he is arguing about whether or not global warming will wipe out all life on Earth, with nobody. By the way, interesting choice in handles.

7:23 PM, July 14, 2006  
Anonymous Phallus said...

Say vas?

>>>"I've been reading up a lot about global warming lately, and how it is potentially a threat to all life on Earth. Now, don't get me wrong - all this nastiness is unnecessary, and I'd rather the globe didn't warm. However, I think the idea that we could wipe out all LIFE on Earth is somewhat conceited."

^This is what he said. I'm not arguing that our buddy Justin didn't eventually come to the correct conclusion, simply that there was no debate on the topic of whether we'd wipe out all life to begin with, and therefore arguing against it is unnecessary.

2:58 AM, July 15, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

Well, I had Stephen Hawking in mind, from when he said global warming may cause Earth to end up like Venus. I've read too much good science by him to call him a "psychotic".

But hey, I'm sure you can find plenty of other iterations of the meme.

10:22 AM, July 15, 2006  
Anonymous Phallus said...

Hawking, then, is grossly misinformed. I've never heard a serious geologist or climatologist ever suggest that the average global temperature was likely to heat up more than 10 degrees. The main wikipedia entry doesn't even mention the possibility of a supermassive extinction as a result of global warming.

6:16 AM, July 16, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

Look, I'm not going to argue Hawking's point. But the man has been right when everyone else was wrong in the past, and he's worth at least hearing out. Considering they can't accurately predict what the weather will be next MONTH, I'm not going to dismiss any but the most outlandish theories.

Also, the article to which you just linked DOES mention that a previous extinction event may have been due to global warming, albeit in a poorly supported manner.

12:05 PM, July 16, 2006  
Anonymous Phallus said...

First things first: I apologize, I had no idea that Hawking had said this. I was wrong to say you were arguing with no one. I should have said that you were aruging a point that wasn't worth arguing.

You don't think Hawking's claim falls into the realm of "the most outlandish theory?" What WOULD qualify? "The Earth will become a sun?" I know Hawking's a smart guy, but come on. That should make NO difference in the realms of science. What should matter is evidence, peer review, a reasonable hypothesis, and direct expertise in the field discussed. Hawking has none of these regarding this opinion. HAY I'M SMART SO YOU SHOULDN'T DISMISS ME OUT OF HAND should not be good enough.

3:35 AM, July 17, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

If you think THIS theory is outlandish, I strongly recommend you read this book. Aimed at the layman, the New York Times called it "A ten-strip of astral mindfuck!"*

Hawking may not be a global warming specialist, but I would argue he does know more about planetary thermodynamics than the average bear. If CO2 levels were to rise indefinitely, we'd wind up just like our sister planet. I think this is very improbable, but it's not unreasonable.

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
- Arthur C. Clarke

* Paraphrase.

8:04 PM, July 17, 2006  
Blogger Phallus said...

A QUOTE-OFF, SIR? I ACCEPT!

"They laughed at Newton. They laughed at Einstein. But they also laughed at Bobo the Clown." ~ Carl Sagan

Your scientific open-mindedness is laudable. But there's a point where you must say "hey, all evidence and consensus indicates this is full of crap and completely not worth my time." Where is that point? I'm not sure, but I know it's way before the point of spending several hours designing a perpetual motion machine for an incestous semiretarded ex-convict.

1:30 AM, July 18, 2006  
Blogger Explodicle said...

Hey! I spent 15 minutes CHECKING that design, no more. It's actually about as long as I spent writing this post, not counting the TWO WEEKS OF ARGUING with you and V. If my precious time isn't worth wasting on someone who actually understands the science behind his ideas, then

8:15 AM, July 18, 2006  

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