Sunday, December 30, 2018

a) Who says understanding Earth’s Evolution is irrelevant?

2018 was the climax of a decade long crescendo in my decades long effort to network with rationalists, scientists and science communicators, in what I fancied was our communal struggle to confront the mischief that corporate funded science contrarians and select politicians were so successfully peddling to an under-informed and mostly disinterested public - and since New Year's Eve is upon us, I feel like collecting some of my favorite essays in an effort to summarize my perspective.  
I'll start with a Dec 2, 2017 introductory post at ConfrontingScienceContrarians  followed by some retrospective. 

... Sadly all too many.  

I often hear people, not just the religious with their paper thin understanding, but educated rational people who superficially accept the notion of evolution, - (but who've spent little time absorbing what Earth's pageant of evolution has been all about) - dismissing the need to learn anything about it.  As if learning how to make money and survive in our modern society is all that matters to understanding our place in the world.

This disregard has led to a general apathy that I can't for the life of me comprehend.  Especially considering what an amazingly beautiful, complex, mysterious and absolutely relevant story it is.

Our general apathy towards evolution and a lack of understanding about our Earth’s Ways and Means terrifies me, and as someone with a life long passion for learning about this Earth that created me and my place in the universe, it baffles me to no end. 

We are all trapped within our own origins and experiences.  The only way for me to convey a hint of my perspective is to share some of the building blocks that went into my own understanding.  

For starters, I’m no scholar, I’m no journalist nor professional writer, I'm a tradesman with a respectable mastery in culinary arts and framing carpentry, along with a good deal of working experience in many other trades and a life time of work behind me.  

Occupations that require meeting specific expectations according to other’s time schedules in a fast paced real world that doesn't care about my preconceptions or ego.  This is important because too many writers seem to have lost their grounding, becoming entranced within their own mindscapes, they've lost sight of real life's constraints and possess little appreciation for our Earth’s physical realities.

Now in my sixties my education began on my grandmother’s lap with old Encyclopedia Britannica articles that were infused with startling discoveries and more questions than answers.  It was a fascinating inspiring introduction to my next half century of being spectator to the revolutionary discoveries and insights science shared with those of us who were interested and wanted to learn.

Those years were followed by a life time of curiosity and a proactive drive to learn.  To absorb as much of the world around me as I could.  The Bible says, seek and ye shall find.  I found science the most trustworthy source for substantive information.  I've been front row spectator to a half century of fantastical discoveries and developing understandings the likes of which humanity has never known.  It's been wonderful and I sit here wondering why my experience and passion seems such a rarity. 

It has given those who care insights to questions that humans have been asking themselves for hundreds of generations.  But what has it helped?  What good is it when most people that surround us couldn’t give a flying fart for this physical Earth and it fantastical biosphere, that we all depend on for everything?

Tragically, people who never pondered that reality, (that all we have today is the direct product of four and a half billion years of evolution, unfolding one magnificent day after another), lack the foundation to understand what we are doing to our planet and life support system these days.  It explains why we have so many profoundly ignorant, self-deluded and disconnected politicians and corporate 'masters of the universe' these days.

When I toss out a concept such as, our "Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine," it's blank faces all around.  Why?   I'm fearing listeners have no fundamental conception for the intricate interconnections between our evolving Earth, oceans and land masses.  Without that awareness, of course they'll never get it. 

After all, our atmosphere is the direct product of an incredible evolutionary process that married geology and biology and took billions of years to unfold.  Without understanding how it got here, there's no way one can comprehend what we have,... and what we are doing to "it",... that is, the only life, and economy, support system we have.

(this is quite incomplete, only a taster of what's available)

January 6, 2016
{1} Our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine

January 9, 2016
{2} Co-evolution of Minerals and Life | Dr Robert Hazen

January 14, 2016
{3} Evolution of Carbon and our biosphere - Professor Hazen focuses on the element Carbon

January 23, 2016
{4} Evolution-Considering Deep Time and a Couple Big Breaks

February 6, 2016
{5a} The Most Beautiful Graph on Earth - A. Hessler

February 7, 2016
{5b} Earth's Earliest Climate - By Angela Hessler

February 14, 2016
{6} Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere - easy version

February 18, 2016
{7} Our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine, visualized

February 19, 2016
{8} Atmospheric Insulation Explained - appreciating our climate engine

December 17, 2105
Reflecting on our failure to appreciate the weather. 

An essay concerning our weather
January 30, 2018 
I always felt that with some serious feedback and input the above could have been reworked well beyond this opening draft.  Improved to a broader educational appeal since the crux of our problem is a lack of 'situational awareness' amongst people.  In this case an appreciation of Deep Time and the pageant of Evolution unfolding one day at a time, and what that tells us about our current day to day and also this wonderful climate optimum our Earth had been enjoying these past ten millennia.  
A serious appreciate for Evolution would make many current choices morally impossible to justify, but no.  Instead people rather pretend that they "know" god from a one dimensional postcard and can do anything they want to this living planet as though there's no tomorrow.
Everything we love is utterly dependent on a healthy biosphere yet the oligarchs with their Republican puppets have been able to brainwash using the most childish transparently dishonest nonsense, coupled with a joy for slander and ruthless bullying to totally stifle "reason" and "physical truths," and notions of fair-play, and a level playing field, and constructive debate.  
When I was a kid in high school in the early 70s we already knew all we needed to know to understand our planet's situation and humanity's increasing impact on essential Earth systems.  Humanity was faced with a clear choice as we moved into mega population growth.  Dial down or destroy the not too distant future*.  It was simple physical reality, no matter how much one could obfuscate with irrelevant uncertainties that influenced rate but not the direction or dangers.
We could have stretched out the inevitable cascading consequences of population stress and global warming over many more decades, even centuries.  Had we wanted to.
It would have required serious honesty in the face of physical facts and hard choices and a sense of community amongst all people.  An acceptance that we need each other to keep ourselves honest.  Population growth needed to be dialed down, resources needed better shepherding and recycled the way Earth systems operated.  
Nurturing would have found a place along side extraction and consumption.
We needed a sense of responsibility to more than our own desires and gluttony, to an appreciation for Earth as a living interwoven, interdependent organism.  We needed to take on responsibility for nurturing Earth's biosphere and natural resources.
Instead we chose Reaganomics, Greed Is Good, Too Much Is Never Enough, endless growth was doable, Me First, and Profits are more important than People.
Guess history shows us, same as it ever was, but different.
Back when I was a kid I liked belonging to the group that thought we could do better, that we could learn from history rather than to repeat it for one last ultimately horrendous time.  
What happened?

*As it has indeed unfolded, if faster than expected.


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