[Coral-List] Global Warming Theory

Eugene Shinn eshinn at marine.usf.edu
Sun Mar 8 13:34:48 EDT 2009

Wow! I suspected there may be fireworks but did not expect so much 
deep philosophical soul-searching analysis. That's good!
      Over the weekend I read an essay by a friend of long standing, 
Bob Foster, a geologist and one of the leading AGW contrarians  in 
Australia. He has just edited an upcoming issue of the UK journal 
(Energy & Environment 2009, vol. 20 no 1 & 2 ) He said " After 5 
months of misery, it is now "in press" at last. He said, "I chose 
natural drivers of weather and climate, albeit broadly interpreted, 
as its subject - being a deliberate challenge to the assertion of the 
Great and the Good that our weather and climate are primarily 
      Bob wrote an extensive essay/introduction to the vol.  and sent 
me a preprint.  On the 4th page of his introduction, after describing 
the contributions of the various authors, he says. "Now is the time 
for a digression. I was at Adelaide University during the last decade 
of the half-century struggle between the then-dominant paradigm of 
Hutton/Lyell Uniformitarianism, and Wegener's theory of Continental 
Drift. If we students had admitted we preferred continents that 
drift, we may well have been failed. (Ironically, the overthrow of 
Flood Geology - all sediments were either pre-diluvian or 
anti-diluvian- by uniformitarianism, had itself been a giant step 
forward.) Scientists are herd-animals; they revere consensus, and are 
protective of the status quo. Here quoting noted geologist (and 
contributor to this volume) Cliff Ollier: R. T. Chemberlin said 
geologists might well ask if theirs could still be regarded as a 
science when it is "possible for a theory like this to run 
wild"...And: Sir Harold Jeffres disposed of continental drift 
as...."an explanation which explains nothing which we wish to have 
      Sadly, antipathy to new ideas is endemic in science. When John 
Maddox introduced peer-review to NATURE, he found he had to exempt 
Fred Hoyle and Louis Leaky; because reviews of their papers were so 
trenchantly negative. Two of the authors I sought out for this issue 
suffered some (not all) negative reviews - to the point where higher 
authority has felt unable to grant them "Refereed" status. But, both 
papers survive-and both are interesting and thought-provoking"

      Later in the introduction Foster brings up echos of Russia's 
Lysenko affair. One of his authors quoted James Hansen (climate 
scientist at NOAA) at a hearing organized by Senator Tim Wirth. In it 
Hansen said about companies that emitt CO2, "In my opinion, these 
CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature. If 
their campaigns continue and "succeed" in confusing the public, I 
anticipate testifying against relevant CEOs in future public trials."
      The final words  about Lysenkos power in Russia were ominous. 
"The director of the Institute of Genetics at the USSR Academy of 
Science, Nikolai Vavilov, was a Mendelian theoretician of 
high-standing. But in 1940, Vaivilov was arrested; and after 11 
months of interrogation, he and two colleagues were tried and 
sentenced to death. His sentence --only--was commuted; but he died in 
prison. "
    The readers may remember  Lysenkos theory that ste Russian science 
for many years. It said that evolution is rapid and changes are 
acquired over a generation. Thus, the environment/political system 
could mould  humankind.  It fit the politics and government policies 
of the day. Pretty Scary! Is anything like that happening today?
      So, even though the story I contributed about psychological help 
for climate deniers was intended as humorous I could not help but 
wonder. People have done some really serious and crazy things in the 
past...not to mention silly wars. Are we going into a period of 
craziness again? I look forward to reading the entire vol of "Energy& 
Environment" when it becomes available. Possibly some coral-list 
readers will want to read it as well. Meanwhile, lets hope this 
unusually cold winter is nearly over. Gene

No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
Marine Science Center (room 204)
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158---------------------------------- 

More information about the Coral-List mailing list