Science


Global Warming and Energy Reserves Counterpoint?

The science is clear, “climate change is happening, and it is linked directly to human activities that emit greenhouse gases”. A number of technological options exist to avert dangerous climatic change by dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions both now and into the future. Business Solutions, International Action, State Action, and Local Action describe how business and government leaders at all levels have recognized both the challenge and the vast opportunity climate change presents. These leaders are responding with a broad spectrum of innovative solutions: Dell moves up the timeline, and South Africa has a way to make oil from coal.

Scientific evidence paints a clear picture, and it will have many serious and potentially damaging effects in the decades ahead. Scientists have confirmed that the earth is warming, and “those greenhouse gas emissions from cars, power plants and other manmade sources—rather than natural variations in climate—are the primary cause”.

“Evidence of CO2 and other greenhouse gases can be seen from the following observable impacts”:

  1. Polar ice is melting
  2. Glaciers around the globe are in retreat
  3. Storms are increasing in intensity
  4. Ecosystems around the world already are reacting\
  5. Plant and animal species struggle to adapt to shifting climate
  6. New climate-related threats emerge

A report states 2004 U.S. greenhouse emissions of CO2 equivalent million metric tons are:

  1. Electric generation-2338 (32%)
  2. Transportation-1995 (28%)
  3. Industry-1377 (20%)
  4. Agriculture-491 (7%)
  5. Commercial-460 (7%)
  6. Residential-391 (6%)

The same report states achieving the necessary total reductions will require a combination of strategies:

  1. Producing cars with higher gas mileage
  2. Displace coal power with other means (wind, water, light)
  3. Build with nuclear power
  4. Decrease car travel per year
  5. Capture and store carbon emissions
  6. Improve energy efficiency buildings and appliances
  7. Increase ethanol output

However, it is estimated in the report that increased CO2, with the increased energy requirements of the world’s developed nations, by 2030 are:

  1. U.S. 60%
  2. China 120%
  3. India 100%
  4. Europe 20%

All other developing nations are expected to surpass those of the developed nations. This means that the increasing energy requirements are occurring at a faster rate than the total reductions that are deemed necessary.

It has been estimated that there is enough energy reserves accessible, using current mining technology, to provide the following for the entire planet:

  1. Oil-57 years
  2. Coal-67 years
  3. Natural gas-167 years

It has been reported in “An Inconvenient Truth” that if we do nothing concerning Global Warming, in about 10 years the planet may reach a “tipping point” and begin a slide toward destruction of our civilization, and most of the species on the planet. After that point is reached, it would be too late for any action: a dire prediction.

The estimated energy reserves leaves only about 150 years until the planet runs out of electric generation, transportation, and industry as we now know it, for our heating and air conditioning, travel, and work conveniences we now take for grant it: a dire prediction, but a limit to activities that emit greenhouse gases.

Scientists, engineers, professors, politicians, and a few magazines are now questioning what is being stated in the media about global warming or cooling, and the energy reserve predictions. Refer to the listed article and a start to the people giving facts:

  

  1.  Global Warming the Cold Hard Facts?-Timothy Bell
  2. Design News-Charles J. Murray
  3. Newsweek-Robert J Samuelson
  4. Yuri A. Israel- Vice President (IPCC)
  5. Michael Crichton- the scientist, writer and filmmaker
  6. Richard Lindzin- an atmospheric physicist and a professor of meteorology at MIT
  7. Thomas Kuhn- book author of “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”
  8. Bob Carter- a paleoclimate geologist from James Cook University in Australia
  9. Borris Winterhalter-marine researcher at Geological Survey of Finland
  10. Wibjorn Karlen-Emeritus Professor, Stockholm University
  11. James Inhofe-Senator
  12. See “Global Weather Predictions Counterpoint” article
  13. See “Global Weather Facts Counterpoint” article

Of interest are the candidate’s views on technological issues: Energy, Climate change, Space program, skilled worker shortage, and technology.

The Case for Evolution Counterpoint?

Darwin is often credited with the theory of evolution, the idea that complex organisms have developed gradually over geologic time from simpler ones. What continued to elude Darwin, and the other naturalists of the time, was how transformation occurred. Darwin’s great contribution to science was that he solved this mystery of how and why evolution occurred. The answer, which he called natural selection, finally occurred to him in 1839. The essence of the idea is that those individuals born with characteristics that make them best suited for their environment are the ones most likely to survive, and most likely to successfully produce offspring. By 1859, Darwin was an eminent scientist, when he published his book, The Origin of Species.

 

Darwin’s theory of evolution is based on five key observations and inferences drawn from them:

1)      Species have great fertility. They make more offspring than can grow to adulthood.

2)      Populations remain roughly the same size, with modest fluctuations.

3)      Food resources are limited, but are relatively constant most of the time.

From these three observations it may be inferred that in such an environment there will be a struggle for survival among individuals.

4)      In sexually reproducing species, generally no two individuals are identical. Variation is rampant.

5)      Much of this variation is heritable.

Probably all organic beings, which have ever lived on this earth, have descended from some one primordial life form (Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species).

In 1925, Tennessee adopted a law that made it a crime for any public-school teacher to “teach any theory that denies the story of divine creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.”

The First Amendment prohibits the state from establishing religion. Arkansas attempted to meet these tests when it enacted a 1981 law that did not require any direct teaching of the Bible, but only that “public schools . . . give balanced treatment to creation-science and to evolution-science.” In 1982, Louisiana tried a similar “Creationism Act,” that reached to the Supreme Court. This Supreme Court decision ended the life of teaching creationism in the public schools.

The first legal challenge to requiring the teaching of intelligent design with evolution involved the tiny Dover Area School District, in Pennsylvania, and the case was decided in December 2005. It involved two primary questions. First, is intelligent design a science (or is it just creationism under another name)? And second, does requiring the teaching of intelligent design in science classes amount to a governmental endorsement of religion or serve a religious purpose?

The Pennsylvania Judge’s strong opinion concludes with the acceptance of a non-binding precedence of a large body of adult’s acceptance of antievolution teaching activity in the United States. The Judge surmised “there will undoubtedly be a wave of opinion that will feature yet another strategy to promote creationism by questioning evolution.”

I was a student of the 50’s and 60’s that saw first hand the changes that were being introduced in schoolbooks and curriculum. My class viewed the pond water, the one cell amoeba, dissected the frogs, and discussed Darwin’s evolution. Most adopted the viewpoints without question-after all it was science. The scientific community had refuted the flawed arguments for creationism, it had failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it had not generated any peer-reviewed publications, and it had not been the subject of testing or research.

Of course, the theory of evolution cannot answer all questions about how life emerged or how the human brain developed, nor is evolution even relevant to the question of where the original matter of the universe came from. I am reminded of this story about a scientist talking to God. The scientist says to God, “You know God I think I could create just as good a human as you can.” “You think so,” said God, “alright, why don’t you try.” So the scientist bent down on the ground and started scraping together some dirt. Then God said, “Wait a minute that’s my dirt! go get your own.”

A fellow sophomore high school student who had enthusiastically accepted the evolution theory turned to me after several minutes of discussion in class, “What do you think, don’t you agree with the evolution theory?”  I paused and thought for a second, as I felt the peer pressure from the others listening near by. “I can agree with the basic idea of evolution of living things-plants, creatures-, but I can’t see the evolution of two of all things-male and female.” Everyone looked at me as if to say something, then just left biology for the next class. Nearly 50 years later, after all the changes, studies, and advancements in knowledge, that thought still lingers in my mind, and no one has yet answered.