JoysWorld Affairs

Are You Scared?

State of Fear Cover

Just finished reading a great book by Michael Crichton (new window) called State of Fear (new window).

Basically the book deals the subject of global warming, and points out that it is nothing more than a media/political propogated myth. It has some very convincing arguments which point out how little we know about the environment and the climate, therefore how little ability we have to predict…not determine or calculate…but how bad we are at even guessing what it might do.

Sure Carbon Dioxide levels are rising and there is supposedly an increase in the average global temperature – but all of this does little to prove that the earth is actually getting warmer, and if it is, that it is a result of human activity. My aim here is not to argue the question of whether global warming exists or not, but to say that if you are going to take up that argument, you should definately read this book first. If you’ve no interest in global warming or arguing, you should still read the book because it does a great job of highlighting the sad fact that the media and politicians love to keep the population scared – keeps them in check!

8 thoughts on “Are You Scared?

  1. Hey, as much truth as there is in saying that we dont know all there is to know about the detailed workings of the environment/climate its not exatly a good idea to sit around and wait until we do before bothering to do something.
    There are a wealth of things which we do know about the climate’s workings and all of them (not to mention comparison to past temperature fluctuations) suggest that something this time is different. That something is very likely to be us.
    On the political side of things: remember that Bush’s government didnt even acknowledge global warming for a long time (do they now? i cant remember). Yes there is something to be said about the media stirring up fear for ratings but the people making the most noise about this are scientists who generally would just as soon stay out of the media spotlight.

    So, im inclined to disagree with Michael here (though i will borrow the book when your in Ed). Lets not forget that people on both sides of all arguments can have their own agendas.

  2. AAAHHHH great. Mr Moss, i whole heartedly miss our interesting chats on various matters, infact i was wondering who would bite the bait first and comment on this post – i’m so glad it was you!!

    True…i accept that it is just one side of the story…but he does present a great deal of information that shows how much the climate has been fluctuating since records began, and how poor those records are. We also have to remember that the world is roughly 6 billion years old and is already on it’s 3rd atmosphere – we are part of nature too, and humans thinking that they have such a large influence on the world is quite arrogant. Beavers block rivers and hugely change the face of the landscape, there are millions more termites on earth than humans, who for their size have a much larger impact on the environment, etc etc. Sure, i don’t think we need to be destroying anything…but what i think the key point is, that we have no idea if we really are destroying anything or not.

    No one is actually sure if the climate is warming, or what effect CO2 is having on it. A warming trend of 100 years isn’t that much compared to a million year ice age…or the fact that a mini ice age comes every 20,000 years and the last one happened…hhmm…20,000 years ago. Of the data available scientists cannot claim that the temperature is rising across the board…some places are getting cooler, some are warmer, ice is melting in some places and growing in others. We need a wealth of more information and research to be able to have some idea of what it ‘might’ do on the long term.

    Global warming is the ‘idea’ that CO2 is creating a greenhouse effect in the environment and warming the earth’s surface – it is not fact, nor is their any more evidence to support it than there is to reject it. My vote is for more research…but independant research, where donors do not know what their money is being used for so that they cannot influence the findings. Today scientists are often like painters in the Renaissance…they are commissioned on an individual project basis and encouraged to find what the donors want!

    Def read the book though…i was skeptical until i had read it…he has a good way of not pushing anything down the readers throat…he just tells some of the other side of the story.

  3. Hello again. When is it your back?

    Believing that we have a large impact on the world is arrogant its true. Unfortunately its also true. Look at the rainforests (as they vanish before your eyes), or the impact large cities have on their local climate (not to mention river and ocean life unfortunate enough to live downstream of them), or how about the huge number of species vanishing as a direct result of human activity (the dodo isnt just a parable). As a final example – the enormous temperate forests of Europe. Just looking at Roman records shows you how rapidly we got rid of those. Some animals may have a big impact on their environment, but the facts are that their effects are always local and none of them has an industrial civilisation that burns billions of tonnes of oil/coal/gas/whatevercangetyourhandson.

    The data available is not just written records. Its ice cores and other systems which paint a fairly clear picture of climate fluctuations: but slow ones, even the mini ice ages appear gradually. As far as i am aware the general warming trend seen now (and there is one) is unheard of in its rapidity through millions of years of these records.
    Atmospheric CO2 rises have also been associated with temperature rises in the records. Again the current rises in atmospheric CO2 are unheard of in their rapidity.
    Seems a fairly interesting correlation to me. If nothing else it allows you to realise that CO2=warming(sooner or later) and perhaps something should be done.
    Im all for more work to be done on the subject. But the implication that you can commision reputable teams of scientists to tell you whatever you want to hear is both insulting and wrong! I suggest you take this up with a geographer at some point – they will be able to give you more info than me. Sadly my only geo friend is on her way to Madagascar so i cant get her help 🙂

  4. Wow…so much info. Firstly, i would say read the book – you can probably get it at the local library…he does a great job of expressing these answers.

    Second…i don’t at all think that it is a good idea that rainforests, or any other forests, are being cut down. But we must also remember how relatively young these forests are, and how the face of the earth is constantly changing. The only harmony in the environment is change. We really do not know how much it has changed in the past, and your meagre records of the last 200 years show absolutely no pattern on the earth’s 6 billion year life.

    How many species go extinct each year? 10,000, 15000 – we have absolutely no idea. To know how many go extinct, we must first know how many are there! Name one animal became extinct in the last 50 years…or even 100 years. I’m not sure when the Dodo got wiped out, but until we can claim to have analysed every square mm of the earth’s surface, and every cubic mm of earth down to the solid rock crust…we really cannot say how many species there were, or were not. Remember, we’re not talking about lions and tigers, we’re talking about tiny insects.

    The facts are simple. The temperature is constantly changing, but CO2 is rising. The period 1960-1980 actually saw an overall decline in average global temperature, yet CO2 was still rising. We must also remember that CO2 has risen by some 40 parts per million in the last 200 years – sure a 10% rise, but still not a huge amount.

    However, where you are wrong is that there is indeed a correlation, CO2 rising, and currently (last 20 years) the temperature is rising…but that doesn’t mean that one is a result of the other. The temperature on the earth has been changing since the earth was born…CO2 has been changing since the earth was born…the fact that they are currently both rising doesn’t mean that they control each other.

    Anyway. My points are simple.
    1. The earth is constantly changing. You cannot judge a person’s life in 1 second. He may be ill, he may have just finished a marathon – why should we be so naive to judge the earth on records of no more than 200 years.
    2. Read the book. It is about far more than the topic of global warming. It is about how people in power control those under them through fear…and how this is one of the current subjects to attain that fear. Throughout history this is seen over and over again. In the past usually through the fear of death…with ‘democracies’ they use other means – communism, the cold war, the world wars, terrorism (more people die every year from asteroids hitting them than terrorism…but i haven’t seen one shop selling bullet proof umbrellas! have you?).

  5. 1) The records are not mine and they go back a damn site more than 200 years. Millions is really more correct.
    2) 10% anywhere else is seen as large – if the worth of my shares rose by 10% i would be thrilled.
    3) You have a tendency to see conspiracies under every rock and pebble and im not going to argue about that aside from to reiterate that ‘those in power’ ignored the claims being made by scientists for a very long time.
    4) We are also talking about things much smaller than insects which come in even greater numbers. I would prefer to catalogue them whilst they still exist.

  6. Sorry, i use ‘you’ as a figurative for people in general – not pointing blame at your good self! However, i would love to see evidence of weather, climate, the environment…well…erm…anything at all that goes back millions of years. If we are dealing with ‘accurate’ records, we can go no further than 200 hundred years, and even with these records we must be aware of their inaccuracy. For example, it is a known fact that towns are warmer than countryside, so, temperature records that are taken in towns are lowered according a formula based on the number of people in the town – this is not actual temperature, but a guess at what the temperature might have been. Venice, for instance, has got warmer but it’s population has not increased in the last 50 years, proving that this method of ‘adjusting’ temperature readings provides inaccuracies.
    All that aside, if we look at raw data
    we can see that although temperature is rising (0.5 degrees in 100 years) and CO2 levels are rising…they are not doing so in direct correlation.
    This page gives a good explanation of what has happened in the past and why (particularly ‘A Matter Of Opinion’).
    The main problem associated with global warming is the social belief that it is real. How many people have actually looked at the science behind it. State of Fear has something like 40 pages of references at the end – have those just been invented to make story seem real?
    Now…the real question…yes of course i’m a conspiracist…but it is because i like to think i have the insight to not sit and believe everything i see on TV and read in newspapers. I am by no means inflexible in changing my views. I hold the opinion that best suits the facts i’ve been given! Sure, i don’t trust governments – but why should i? It is a known fact that election campaigns are lies…they consistently change their policies once they are elected, how long has Blair been saying he will stand down and Brown will step in? The fact is, humans are greedy, and most people will have little problem with abusing positions of power for their own benefit. I won’t get started on this argument…but look at Christianity! The raids, the killings, the extermination of non-believers…is that really for the love of God?

    Animals – sure…i would love to catalogue animals while they exist…that is not the issue. To catalogue animals and get numbers for extinction etc…some guy goes into the forest and sections off a certian area. They then count all species in that area and catalogue them. They come back 10 years later…do the same thing…and note which species are still there, and which are not. Hardly scientific fact on how many species are on the planet…and which ones are going extinct. The issue here, and the subject of the book, is that the media latch onto figures (such as 10,000 species go extinct every year) and hugely publicise it, without showing any background information, or mentioning the fact that it is…erm…well…a guess. It is not fact, it is estimation broadcast as fact – that is the real crime. Global warming is not fact…it is a theory based on estimations – estimations that have countlessly been proven wrong.

  7. To me, this is a typical debate between one person with a new and strongly formed opinion and one with a belief in “what everybody knows to be true”. I would ask how much research into the subject each of you has done, and from what bias.

    Have you each researched your opinion in some depth? Or is this two people with two opinions each of whom believes themselves to be right based on very little knowledge?

    Ooh, I do love to stir… 🙂

  8. Ha ha, you only say that because you know my opinion is newly formed, and while i haven’t done excessive research, i also haven’t made too many facts – but feel free to research and prove them all wrong!

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