Sunday, October 14, 2007

Little Ole Man

Reading a criticism of Al Gore by denier Dr. William Gray, I was struck by this sentence:
"The human impact on the atmosphere is simply too small to have a major effect on global temperatures," Dr Gray said.

I've heard this line of argument before with people that question things like global warming. The earth and atmosphere are so vast, little ole man can hardly impact such a monstrosity. That viewpoint extends to issues like forest management, fisheries, urban sprawl, etc. The tension seems to fall between the idea of a fragile planet and a hearty rock that can be exploited, with minimal impact.

I subscribe to the notion that man has reached the point of critical mass, wherein its presence is so overwhelming that it many ways, its thirst is bigger than the capacity of the planet to absorb. A simple image, demonstrates that it isn't alarmist to believe that we can influence the natural balance:

People like Dr. Gray understate the impact of man, with no acknowledgement of consequence. The days of man, the benign player are over, no matter what the subject, you can see that as a collective, we yield great power to alter. Why are we so ignorant to assume that the earth is able to operate in a unilateral way, outside of our activities? I think people like Dr. Gray give the earth too much credit. In my mind the more we learn, the smaller and more susceptible the earth appears each day.


900ft Jesus said...

photos are so effective!

Have you ever done the fruit fly experiment in high school? The idea is to show what happens if you allow populations to go unchecked in a closed environment. First, they do very well, feeding and breeding until they are so crowded they pollute their own environment and don't have enough food to go around. Hard to forget that experiement.

I know the planet is not such a simple system, but it is a closed one, and our population is increasing at an increasing rate.

Steve V said...


That's a good example :)

Robert McClelland said...

I bet this rube also doesn't believe that microscopic organisms can affect something as large as a human body. He probably just believes God is mad at him every time he gets a cold.

Steve V said...


When he gets a "fever" ;)

John M Reynolds said...

900, the picture suggest that the rate of population growth is actually decreasing.

Steve V, I am glad you "subscribe to the notion that man has reached the point of critical mass..." That would mean you have some kind of proof, or is it just a belief?

Steve V said...

"That would mean you have some kind of proof, or is it just a belief?"

Can you provide some proof that we haven't, or is this just your belief. Go outside, look around, its pretty self-evident.

John M Reynolds said...

If it is so self evident, then why won't you name a few of your observations? How do you expect me to prove a negative?

Steve V said...


To be blunt, I find you "deniers" to be a colossal bore, not to mention irrelevant. We could engage in a back and forth, but it doesn't matter, because people like yourself have shown that factual arguments are irrelevant, you CLING regardless. Why bother? Take care.

John M Reynolds said...

I go outside every day. I have seen no proof of critical mass with respect to human population. I would love to be enlightened. Why will you not answer my question by providing even a single shred of proof to back your claim? Why must you resort to logical fallacies like ad hominem attacks? If I did not want to know, I would not have asked. Why not try making a factual argument instead of detracting from the debate?

Why did you not call 900 on his claim that the planet is a closed system? Huge amounts of energy flows to and from earth and matter is slowly accumulating as we capture space dust. This is not the definition of a closed system.

Let me know when you want to have a real discussion using facts. That would be much more fun than your insults.