If you have just woken up after a 100-year sleep, you are likely to be unnerved, perhaps even perplexed, by the cacophony of voices on the subject of global warming:
- “The world is getting hotter – see the ‘unassailable’ scientific evidence!”
- “No, the world is not getting hotter – here is evidence that your science is dodgy”
- “In fact the world may be getting cooler – you just need to look at the weather patterns holistically, and over many centuries”
- “I don’t need science to tell me what I am eyeballing week in week out – the increasing storms, floods, and other natural disasters all combine to tell me something: that the world is having febrile convulsions. And as you know, every fever is due to high temperature; do you still want to argue about global warming?”
- “You’re all wrong! My book of faith tells me that the end of the world (as we know it) is nigh, and these are the signs. Better ‘believe’, to save yourselves!”
- Etc, etc.
You would be forgiven for wanting to go right back to sleep, because the one thing that underlies all the noise and shoving and poking is that although we all know something is happening, we haven’t got a clue as to exactly what. (Here is where I expect those who swear by “the science” to come on the attack, to condemn my “heretical utterances” and try to ‘neutralise’ me for my own good!)
It is however fair, indeed logical, to say that all the opposing voices could be wrong – and right, at the same time! From a purely scientific point of view, it is clear that our empirical knowledge of weather systems is based on our detailed observations of the natural environment over millennia. But our observations of Nature are woefully incomplete and inadequate, as we do not know quite a lot of relatively basic things, such as the fundamental purpose of the cockroach in the grand scheme of the ecosystem, to mention just one innocuous point. (I don’t know the answer to that one, but neither does anyone else).
If our knowledge of Nature is to evolve to the point of helping us understand what is happening to our weather systems, we need to be asking the really big questions, some of which are:
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- Is Nature limited to what we can evaluate with our current instruments and capabilities?
- Are there other influences on Nature that we can and do sense, even if we do not understand and cannot explain them?
- What really is “natural efficiency” or the “enforcement of balance” in Nature? Could this have any impact on weather patterns?
- Do inventors and manufacturers have any obligation to learn how Nature manages itself and apply the lessons learned to the design and fabrication of goods and processes? Can the principles of cybernetics be applied to Nature on a grand scale?
To retreat into religion or mysticism is unlikely to be satisfactory here, as the human mind, when it is unconstrained, is only satisfied with and by logical consistency. We would therefore do well to remain purely objective and scientific, unfettered by the schemes and agendas of various vested interests. The following “what if” questions and statements can help the individual begin to grapple with the core issues of global warming:
“You can’t be great on the side.”
- What if the bigger part of global warming is by radiations coming from outside the earth (i.e. ‘space’), such that the core of the earth is being heated up and the effects/consequences are manifesting on the surface?
- What if the ‘discomfort’ and disquiet that human beings feel about global warming is due more to a deep-seated perception of a lack of equilibrium in the relationship between humans and the natural world and indeed between humans, rather than any particular acts or habits?
- What if there are more processes at play in the global warming question than previously realised or accepted, e.g.
- Man’s “carbon footprint” affects the environment – to an extent
- Man’s “feelings of guilt” when faced with evidence of wastage of natural resources or at best poor management of the natural environment
Before scientists and non-scientists alike condemn (which they like to do with almost religious fervour and consistency) these challenging points of view, for “lack of evidence”, it should be remembered that science (and human thinking generally) has always more easily found what it was looking for!
Perhaps the most effective “noise cancellation” method in ‘climate-ville’ is to wear headphones marked “logical consistency” over one ear, and “courageous scrutiny of all the evidence” on the other!
What do you think?
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