Friday, January 28, 2005

Responsibility for the eons

I see an article in Science ( ( that challenges the prevailing concensus on Dinosaur extinction...not a meteorite to blame, but rather global warming! Challenging the prevailing doomsday-from-outer-space scenario points out two things to me:

1. The recorded history of the planet [climate or otherwise] has no meaningful relationship to the records [climate or otherwise] of humans...human records represent so little, that they are incapable of being used to reach longer term using 1 minute of a 2-year-olds life to try and determine whether that child will be admitted to Harvard (or even that they would want to go to such a place!). In other words, it requires quite a bit of data to draw conclusions about things that can only be imagined.

2. Having the freedom to think something doesn;t mean that the thinker is free of responsibility for the consequences of their thoughts...hypothesizing what it would be like to kill your neighbor, and then telling them what you thought about, does not mean you won't be held under a restraining order, for instance. In other words, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words CAN hurt you.

So here's a thought...

Say global warming is real.

Further, say the combution of fossil fuels is responsible for global warming.

Do, then, the people whose words and images in the 1970s created an unreasonable fear of nuclear catastrophe--a China Syndrome in every town--now bear some responsibility for the rise in CO2 levels since then?

Arguably, as the % of electrical demand supplied by nuclear energy in the US lags below 19%, it's replacement by fossil fuels (particularly coal) has contributed to the assumed impact on global warming. Where are they who stopped nuclear energy? Where is Greenpeace, Jane Fonda and the multitudes of others? And when will they step forward to admit--with the mercy that reflection provides--that they made a mistake or two?

Then again, maybe Global Warming is the mistake.

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