Saturday, November 5, 2011

Watts up with Old PI: Humans adapt nature to our desires, we don't adapt to nature

With the Santer session behind me and today being a snow-day I was catching up on WUWT.  It seems that Dr. Trenberth has been receiving a lot of attention and abuse over there and I hope to do a series of posts dedicated to those threads.  

But, for now a comment smacked me in the face enough to share.  It seems to me to reflect on a main reason for our collective failure to communicate:



Old PI says:
November 3, 2011 at 11:00 am
Of course human beings are changing the climate. Anyone with half a brain can see it. It’s especially obvious to me where I live in central Colorado. We plant trees and grass in what was originally semi-desert scrub-land. We plow fields and plant crops where there was nothing but a grassy prairie. We dam rivers and streams, improve ports and harbors, build levees and spillways. THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN: TO ADAPT NATURE TO OUR DESIRES, INSTEAD OF ADAPTING TO NATURE. No other creature on Earth does it to the extent we do. That doesn’t mean we’re “destroying” the Earth.
~ ~ ~

Sounds great, unfortunately an inspection of most of those dams, levees and other USA infrastructure reveals that once we build stuff, we too often fail to maintain them, thus much is crumbling thanks to neglect. 

For example, take a trip on the Chicago River and look at the underside of Chicago’s many drawbridges.  They are rotting.  I mean 24” main I-beams with rust holes you could stick your head through!  Is that anyway to treat the hard won triumphs of our forefathers?
Why has this happened? . . .  because too few cared about mundane maintenance and no one would spend the money. 

Fancy waterfront beautification was more important.  Don’t get me wrong the beautification is wonderful, but why couldn’t we maintain our bloodline bridges in the process?  And the same sort of story is repeated thousands of times over in our great country these brave new days.

I bring this up because I think your comment spotlights a fundamental source of our failure to communicate:

... WUWT folks seem like the engineers, the can-do guys.
... convinced they’ve subjugated and mastered the natural world with technical expertise and exacting precision.
... knowing how to make the machines run and demanding the machines keep running. 
Convinced by your successful subjugation... and seeming mastery of our natural world.

But, take heed, like so many before, all is not as it seems.

Look at what you wrote and seem to believe: “THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN:
{yea right, wink wink}

You display no conception of our dependence on a healthy “environment” and benign weather patterns?

Worse is that you actually seem to believe you can superimpose engineering standards on understanding Earth Science's lessons. 

But that conceit is a sorority house debate trick - not curiosity, or an honest pursuit of better understanding what's happening within our biosphere these days!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Old PI says:
The hypothesis behind catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is that we’re changing the Earth so fast, we’ll reach a “tipping point” where we’ll destroy the Earth. That’s hogwash.

Climate changes constantly, based upon solar dynamics and orbital dynamics of the Earth. It’s changed from having temperatures a dozen degrees warmer and cooler than the current global “average”. Carbon Dioxide has been present in greater and lesser quantities than today, from times when it comprised 30% of the atmosphere to times when it was barely high enough to continue to sustain plant life. We’re currently at a low point in carbon dioxide atmospheric content, gradually recovering from a deep trough.

What are you actually claiming? . . . society hasn’t had vast impacts upon the face and condition of our planet?

Could you explain?

You blithely toss around assertions about how Climate has undergone even more radical conditions in the past > willfully ignoring that society could not have existed during those past periods.
Why construct such rationalizations?  Why not try rational good faith inquiry?

Don't you get it? . . . it's not about Earth's survival, it's about our society's survival!

Why don’t you folks stop demonizing hard working serious scientists?
Why not be a little skeptical of your own motives and talking points?


 For what it's worth, the following post to WUWT: "Trenberth: null and void" written by Anthony Watts - has been censored, deleted, ignored... Yup willful ignorance of the full spectrum of information at hand seems to be their mission.  How tragic for all of our children.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

posted at WUWT 11/5/11 Rcky Mtn Time 1:58pm:

I was reading though these posts and wondering:
Do you folks actually believe Trenberth is a drooling idiot?

It's like when you get to climate science you have an on - off switch -
When it comes from someone like Trenberth, or Santer, or Hansen you switch OFF and that's that.

Trenberth has never implied the Scientific Method no long applies, come on, can we get serious?

Have you folks considered the thought:
"The AGW is the null hypothesis because it is the only one that is consistent with our understanding of physics and Earth observations over the past century. 
If it were NOT happening, we have to find an explanation."

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