December 14, 2019

Was Venus Habitable?

Image: Artist’s representation of Venus with water.

Was Venus Habitable?

This article speculates that at some time in the past, Venus may have been somewhat temperate and could have had liquid water oceans.  Currently, the thick atmosphere is almost entirely carbon dioxide, at a crushing pressure 93 times as at sea level on Earth. The average temperature is 460°C (860° F, hot enough to melt lead) planet-wide and even at night, because this heat is carried around the planet. There is no oxygen and no liquid water, and only the smallest trace of water vapor.  Current Venus landers can only operate on the planet’s surface for a few hours due to the extreme atmospheric conditions.  But it might not have always been that way, the article says:

The hellish planet Venus may have had a perfectly habitable environment for 2 to 3 billion years after the planet formed, suggesting life would have had ample time to emerge there, according to a new study.  In 1978, NASA’s Pioneer Venus spacecraft found evidence that the planet may have once had shallow oceans on its surface. Since then, several missions have investigated the planet’s surface and atmosphere, revealing new details on how it transitioned from an “Earth-like” planet to the hot, hellish place it is today.  It’s believed that Venus may have been a temperate planet hosting liquid water for 2 to 3 billion years before a massive resurfacing event about 700 million years ago triggered a runaway greenhouse effect, which caused the planet’s atmosphere to become incredibly dense and hot.

At NASA’s Goddard Institute researchers ran 5 different simulations based on various levels of ocean coverage.  All of the simulations indicated that Venus may have been able to maintain stable temperatures ranging from 68° to 122° F for a period of 3 billion years.  That would have enough for at least simple life to have formed.

Siberian Traps Basalt

The “resurfacing event”, they speculate, was massive volcanic outgassing of carbon dioxide.  Something similar occurred on Earth at the end of the Permian period – 252 million years ago.  That is known as the Permian Extinction where maybe 90% of life on the planet went extinct.  The cause of the Permian Extinction is suspected to be volcanic activity related to the Siberian Traps, a caldera or series of calderas that erupted on a massive scale releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and causing runaway greenhouse effect. There is some evidence that average global temperatures during the PE was as high as 140° F and ocean temperatures as high as 104° F.

In the September issue of National Geographic there was an article on the thawing of the arctic permafrost.  The article says:

…researchers now suspect that for every one degree Celsius rise in Earth’s average temperature, permafrost may release the equivalent of four to six years’ worth of coal, oil, and natural gas emissions—double to triple what scientists thought a few years ago. Within a few decades, if we don’t curb fossil fuel use, permafrost could be as big a source of greenhouse gases as China, the world’s largest emitter, is today.

The question raised by all these articles is the Earth headed for similar runaway greenhouse effects that could bring a Venusian or Permian type catastrophe?  I am still processing this information and have not come to any firm conclusions about what I believe or the level of alarm I should have.  I have two questions that I would like to discuss today.

  1. To what extent do you think the problem of climate change exists? Is it overblown, about the right amount of alarm, or worse than even now thought?
  2. As people of faith, what should our response be?

I want to hear a range of opinions and the reasons you hold those opinions.  Be civil – commence discussion…

Comments

  1. Climate change exists, it has always existed. One only has to look around the world and see how formerly verdant areas, including the Sahara were able to support a wide variety of life. Human beings and other life adapt to change, after all we survived the last ice age which endured for 10,000 years. The earth is not a static system, it is a living thing, given life by God and in my opinion still evolving. Christians are called to subdue the chaos of creation, and by all means let us do that in ways that don’t destroy the precious life around us. However, what I don’t understand is why carbon which is essential to life has become the “bogeyman”. What about sun cycles, cloud cover, erupting volcanos including undersea. Do we really think that an earth that is 4m years old, and has weathered significantly higher levels of carbon etc is affected by man made emissions over the last 150yrs? Climate scientists do not all agree – no matter how much the statistic is repeated, doesn’t make it so. Models have repeatedly failed, because of course they are predicated on the same sort of thing happening over and over. It doesn’t allow for any form of adaptation, technological advances, etc. It seems to me that the apocalyptic view of the world is now firmly ensconced in “climate religion”. Climate lies outside man’s control.

    • “Climate change lies outside man’s control.”

      Whistling past the graveyard. In the face of overwhelming evidence otherwise. But it will be your children who will pay the price for your myopia.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        At which point, The Death Bet comes into play:
        “I’ll be gone by then, so that’s THEIR Problem.”

        Or The Rapture Bet:
        “I’ll be Gone,
        I’ll be Gone,
        In the Twinkling of an eye…”
        (And It’s All Gonna Burn — It’s Prophesied! It’s Prophesied!)

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      CB, climatologists are not ignorant of volcanic eruptions, sun cycles, etc etc.

      I strongly encourage you (and everyone else) to read through this Twitter thread by the excellent Katherine Hayhoe, Climate Scientist, professor, Christian. She touches on many of your concerns.

      https://twitter.com/KHayhoe/status/1032652293659865090?s=09

    • “Models have repeatedly failed, because of course they are predicated on the same sort of thing happening over and over.”

      How much do you actually know about computer models?

      • And what does it even mean that the model “failed”? If it predicted the average global temperature would rise 2 degF over some period of time and it only rose 1.9, did it “fail”? What if it only rose 1.7? What’s the cutoff? If the meteorologist predicts a 30% chance of rain tomorrow and it doesn’t, is the model “wrong”? People like to reduce things to binaries.

  2. Klasie Kraalogies says

    1. Climate change exists.Of course, as a geologist, I know it has always existed. The question is if anthropogenic climate change exists. And the answer is a definite yes. While we have been warming since the last glacial maximum, warming has accelerated with the massive rise of hydrocarbons. Essentially, we have disrupted the slow warming by adding extraordinary amounts of carbon to the cycle- carbon laid down in the Permian, Carboniferous etc. This accelerated the greenhouse effect and therefore resulted in accelerated warming, potentially pushing us into unknown territory.

    As to the second part of the question- the alarm is real. Some reporting of the problem is overblown- not every new natural problem is directly correlated to the accelerated warming trend. But the effects of warming are seriously problematic.

    2.I’m not of faith, but the “Garden Mandate” is a good model of responsible behaviour within our environment. In addition, care for our fellow humans necessitates concern over the impacts of our actions, immediate as well as long turn. Therefore taking responsibility for our actions and the consequences thereof is a must. This should not be an issue of political division It should be taken seriously and handled responsibly. Handing it responsibly though means we need data and information and studies. It means trust the science and implement remedial actions with care for our fellow humans. This also means addressing their concerns, not pooh-poohing them.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Correction: The warming follow the last glacial maximum ended well before the current rise began (Tzedakis et al, 2012 – see https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo1358)

      This is makes the current warming even more unusual, and strengthens the case for anthropogenic climate change – a lot.

      • Mike the Geologist says

        Thanks for the well thought out comment, Klasie. “As to the second part of the question- the alarm is real. Some reporting of the problem is overblown- not every new natural problem is directly correlated to the accelerated warming trend. But the effects of warming are seriously problematic.”

        That is my provisional opinion at the moment, too.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Same here.

          Somethig nobody has touched on is that this alert (which seems to be real) comes after a lot of Activists Crying “WOLF! WOLF!” for 30-40 years. Remember The Population Bomb (c.1970), Global Cooling/Ice Age (mid-to-late 1970s), and The Ozone Hole? All of which would Kill Us All unless We Took Action RIGHT NOW????? As Strauss & Howe put it in 13th Gen, “Item number 3,786 to all the Urgent Threats That Will Kill Us All Unless We Do Something NOW!”

          And after 30-40 years of running around in circles over all the media crying “WOLF! WOLF! WOLF!” du jour, what do you think is going to happen when a wolf REALLY shows up?

          And like Anti-Vaxxers, the Kyle’s Mom Activists jumped on the bandwagon at an early stage, before the reliable data came in, cherry-picking the worst-cases to Advance Our Agenda. Agendas that would cause immediate hardship for the Lowborn without any apparent benefits (“So me and mine have all got to lay down and die so you can have your Perfect Planet?”) And in doing so, they discredited their own cause.

          Now it’s an uphill fight to be believed.
          (Note that I am not touching on the political spillover from this, but it’s evident all around us.)

          • The thing is, the ozone hole/CFC issue is actually a *success story* – action was taken, bipartisan and international, and the problem was averted. Of course, the comparative cost to fix that problem was several orders of magnitude less than what climate change would require…

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              However, the new ozone-friendly refrigerants were much more expensive — and brand-name patented, without generics — than the earlier ones (which WERE generics, owned by no corporation). That caused quite a Conspiracy Theory about how these corporations staged the whole thing to ban the cheaper generics and force the use of their copyrighted specifics. Kind of like the 300% price increase in epipens scandal.

              One of the weirder (but not unexpected) sidelines to this whole dope show was the tabloid psychic visions and channeled alien entities suddenly (and suspiciously) talking about Ozone Hole as the reason so many ancient and/or alien civilizations went extince.

  3. “is the Earth headed for similar runaway greenhouse effects that could bring a Venusian or Permian type catastrophe?”

    From what I’ve read, it won’t take a Permian-level warming to totally screw over civilization as we know it. 3-4°C should do the trick. And we’re well on the way to that even by the most conservative estimates. :-/

    • isn’t there supposed to be a Permian-level disaster once the perma-frost melts and all that CO2 rises and floods the atmosphere? It will sure get toasty after that event.

      • At the very least, we’re looking at Pliocence level temps (3-4°C above our baseline). But if the oceans really go acidic, yes we’re looking at a rerun of the End-Permian. And that may as well be a literal fulfillment of the bowls and trumpet judgments in Revelation…

  4. Adam Tauno Williams says

    1.) Climate change exists. The trend lines are all bad, and all the proposed preventions farcical even if they move beyond proposed to implemented, which is unlikely. The effects will be serious and unpredictable.

    2.) Christianity/Faith brings nothing to the table to facilitate discussion, let alone addressing, climate change or other systemic challenges. It appears to serve more as a distraction regarding systemic challenges than any kind of aid, beckoning people back to notions of personal responsibility and accountability, rather than focusing on the nature of the problem.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Not only is “Chrsitianity/Faith” bringing nothing to the table, it’s making things worse. The two Christianese responses:

      1) LIES and FAKE NEWS — because Genesis 9:11!
      (Go ahead and laugh; some years ago there was an item about how State of Florida employees are forbidden to touch the subject; the memo said Climate Change was Fake News and quoted Genesis 9:11 as proof. Way to go.)

      2) Clutch your End Time Prophecy Charts and look up with expectation, for this Fulfills End Time Prophecy and The Rapture is Nigh (any minute now…) And you get to watch from Heaven while It All Burns.

      On the political spillover, this all seems to have reached Critical Mass all at once in all the furor around the person of Donald Trump. (I don’t think Trump has much to do with it per se, he just ended up with everything focusing on him, and his behavior seems to be rubbing off on Christians.)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Here’s a Classic IMonk essay from the early days that’s analogous to the subject:
        “A Marriage Made in Hell”; though the subject was Rapture Ready types going synergistic with X-Treme Jihadi Islam to burn the world, you should see similar attitudes and dynamics at work, “Cheering as the world slides into the Pit”:

        https://internetmonk.com/archive/58534

        Why is it that American Christians seem so hell-bent on being on the WRONG side of Everything? Stuff like this makes us look like some kind of Death Cult, if not a Cthulhu Cult.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Even more thoughts on the subject:

          PESSIMISM is everywhere around us these days — “No Hope, It’s Inevitable, No Hope, It’s All Over But the Screaming” — and Christians have jumped on the bandwagon Praising God all the way. Only difference has become they’ll be singing a hymn instead of an Appropriate Ironic Quip as they leap into the grave.

          Just in the heyday of Hal Lindsay it was Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War, that’s all.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > PESSIMISM is everywhere around us these days

            In the defense of the Pessimistic – it is pretty hard not to be. It isn’t just this issue, but many issues, the round-and-round pointlessness of most of the conversations; despair is right there for the taking.

  5. Burro (Mule) says

    Does the Christian doctrine of Providence have anything to say to this issue? ‘The Earth is LORD’s and the fullness thereof’ and all of that. The Earth is not the property of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

    Klaasie says that this should not be an issue of political division, but it already is. The migrant streams pouring out of Africa and Asia into the greener parts of the planet are swelling, as is resistance to them. Putting trust in man as he is currently constituted is a fool’s errand.

    There appears to be a growing appreciation of the interconnectedness of all things in younger people. If this can be nourished and cultured, and if it is not just a ‘woke fad’ for bored first-world city kids, it may be our great-grandchildren”s salvation.

    I’m gonna saddle up and ride off the plantation of acceptable thinking here. Last Saturday’s brunch contained a blurb about some ultra-progressive Christians praying or confessing to plants. I didn’t comment then because the context wasn’t there, but this is the context. I think they were on the right path. There are all kinds of stories in Orthodoxy about saints getting information from animals; bears, pigeons and what not. Mostly they’re treated as charming stories but they may also hold a key to the way forward.

    It would be interesting if the next few hundred years was like a kind of Global Lent, leading to a Solar, at least, Pascha.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > confessing to plants …I think they were on the right path.

      Yeah, the flurry of fury and mockery around that I feel widely – WIDELY – missed the point. Almost every religiously sourced comment I saw seemed entirely uninterested in engaging the point; which aligns with my experience IRL of the last decade.

      • I’m more curious as to if plants are the forgiving type, or maybe some are and some aren’t.

        Seriously though, we need to ask God for forgiveness, not plants, for being poor stewards of his creation.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          Nobody will see this reply but here goes.

          Supposedly Mama Ayahuasca is forgiving and healing, if she can be a bit abrupt and stern with the forward. The important question is whether she owns the risen Christ as her master or whether she’s still trying to operate on her own.

          If I had the guts and lack of sense I had when I was younger I’d ask her myself but something tells me that could be dangerous.

      • Given how badly we’ve misused nature over the past several centuries, a little symbolic apology to some plants is about the LEAST we could do…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Last Saturday’s brunch contained a blurb about some ultra-progressive Christians praying or confessing to plants. I didn’t comment then because the context wasn’t there, but this is the context. I think they were on the right path.

      Still sounds all Woo-Woo as hell to me, but then I live in California, Weird Religion Capital of the country.

  6. At this point, the only reason anyone denies climate change is for political / ideological reasons, not scientific reasons.

    On the other hand, I think part of the problem is that modeling the future climate (and future human behavior) is hard, so all the science dealing with it has to be presented with nuance and with confidence intervals and a variety of possible scenarios. And that can make it hard for people to wrap their heads around and hard to assess how bad the threat is – it could be anything from just massive social upheaval and displacement, to another 90% mass extinction.

    It’s the same problem with hurricane reporting where the maps show a probability cone and people look at it and think the cone represents the hurricane growing to fill that entire area, because that’s easier to wrap your head around than the idea of a 95% confidence interval. Dealing with statistics that represent a huge range of outcomes is just not easy for people. (And it doesn’t help when someone draws on the map with a Sharpie to try to alter the science!)

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Dealing with statistics…

      You’re onto something.

      And there is a phenomenon that the more often people hear an argument they do not understand the more confident they become that the argument is false/dishonest. Thus people can become inoculated to the truth – by the honest presentation of data. (I’ve lived this experience, its very frustrating to observe).

      In the end, it may be better to pursue virtuous public policy through smokey-back-room-deals than by open “transparent” debate and leadership. 🙁 It is a very disheartening realization.

      • –> “…inoculated to the truth – the honest presentation of data.”

        The funny thing is, I don’t need data and statistics to tell me something’s amok, I can stare at the evidence I’ve experienced the past three years! Mowing my Seattle lawn in November while wearing shorts because it’s so warm and the lawn has flourished well into fall.

      • “the more often people hear an argument they do not understand the more confident they become that the argument is false/dishonest”

        If not understanding something makes it false, then Calc II was false. No wonder I flunked it four times. 😛

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > then Calc II was false

          Seriously – I suspect many people reject such things for exactly said reason.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      The political problem is the same one it was in Plato’s time, in Machiavelli’s time, and in the time of Nicholas I – who gets the goodies and what does he have to do to get them.

      The problem is, as always, that people will adopt ‘scientific’ positions based on their gut feelings, and defend them with the vigor born of visceral allegiance rather than that of a coolly adopted logical stance.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        Sure. I know for me, K changed my mind based on evidence. I was a skeptic for quite a while. But things changed when, over a decade ago, I emailed one of the climatologists about the volcanic contribution to atmospheric CO2, and he wrote back graciously stating the facts. Thus, over a period, the evidence swayed me.

        A lot of people are afraid of say accepting the evidence for anthropogenic climate change, or any of a number of other things, because of fear and ignorance – ignorance in the sense of this is a bloody high world with akin much going on that they don’t quite understand and that is scary as hell. This is real. The tactic of belittling them etc is wrong. This is not war. This is not an election to fight. It is the reality in which we all live. It was the same with the AIDS crisis. People either spread the most ridiculous rumours, or they ostracized all the sufferers, or they tried to ignore it altogether. Sure, there were, and are, a few malicious souls – but the for the majority, if orance and fear, most often intertwined, played the dominant role.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          “K changed my mind” should read “I changed my mind “…

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          The tactic of belittling them etc is wrong. This is not war. This is not an election to fight.


          Unfortunately, THAT is the mentality we have locked into.

  7. I don’t know, but I feel that like with many other scary things it’s being ‘weaponised’ by people who are looking for a pretext to exercise power over others through fear. (Not so long ago, it was running out of oil that was the scare story, not burning too much of it).

    The fact that so many ‘ecologists’ reject nuclear energy (which is low-to-zero carbon-emitting) has made me pretty much throw my hands up in despair. By which I mean that functionally whether I believe in warming or not has zero effect on my ability to change anything about it.

    I have noticed that in discussions with ‘ecologists’ I am often already doing most (and sometimes more than them) of what they are preaching. What my grandparents would have simply called thrift seems to be a revolutionary idea in this day and age.

    I also observe that there are people who seem to have a perverse thrill at the idea of a breakdown in civilization. They seem to perceive it as a nostalgic return to the ‘simple life’ (though it’s fake nostalgia because they’ve never actually experienced grinding, non-chosen and inescapable poverty). I don’t see much difference between these people who appear to be egging on the ‘collapse’ and the weird fundamentalists who think a war in Israel will hasten Christ’s return.

    Just having read (rather late) Surprised by Hope, I do believe that it is mankind’s responsibility to tend the garden and work to prepare this world for the coming Kingdom. But I am not mankind, and at this point in time, I feel that saying “we should stop global warming” is about as effective as saying “we should all just be nice to each other”.

    The one thing I’ve read about that it seems to me might change something is a global carbon tax. Making doing the ‘wrong thing’ cost more seems to work for many other behaviors. But even the people who *do* believe in global warming *and* want to do something about it can’t agree on that. So…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I don’t know, but I feel that like with many other scary things it’s being ‘weaponised’ by people who are looking for a pretext to exercise power over others through fear. (Not so long ago, it was running out of oil that was the scare story, not burning too much of it).

      And before Peak Oil, it was The Ozone Hole.
      And before The Ozone Hole, it was Global Cooling/The Coming Ice Age.
      And before Global Cooling, it was The Population Bomb.

      All taken up and adhered to by SJW Activists as Fundamentalist Dogma, and from there to the MSM. (Especially in a time when the more Tabloid, the higher Ratings.)

      As I said above, after 30-40 years of Activists and Media running around in circles crying “WOLF! WOLF! WOLF!” du jour, what is going to happen?

      • What you call “The Ozone Hole” was real and by international measures it has been addressed The Montreal Protocol and the Clean Air Act resulted in the United States ending its production of CFC’s and other ozone-eating pollutants. Since these pollutants have been minimized and the current content in the stratosphere is degrading overtime, the ozone-layer has begun to replenish itself. The takeaway? The US led the effort and something got done.

        Population is still a problem, now more than ever.

    • “I also observe that there are people who seem to have a perverse thrill at the idea of a breakdown in civilization.”

      Such folks exist, true. Almost all climate scientists do NOT fall into this category. In fact, many of them are suffering from depression and anxiety from facing the bad news and data day in and day out.

      “even the people who *do* believe in global warming *and* want to do something about it can’t agree on (a global carbon tax).”

      It’s a paradox. If we continue as we are, we’ll cause a climactic collapse. If we change enough to make a difference, we’ll cause an economic collapse. Choose and perish ..

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I also observe that there are people who seem to have a perverse thrill at the idea of a breakdown in civilization. They seem to perceive it as a nostalgic return to the ‘simple life’ (though it’s fake nostalgia because they’ve never actually experienced grinding, non-chosen and inescapable poverty).

      Remember the Survivalists of the Late Cold War? (Compared to current “preppers”, they were Lunatic Fringe.) There are also the Mother Gaians who reject all technology (for everyone else) and dream of a low-tech agrarian Paradise were all us Happy Little Peasants march out to work in the fields every morning Singing with Joy. Little House on the Prairie nostalgia from the Big Bad Present like the original “Blood and Soil” of 1920s Germany.

      I don’t see much difference between these people who appear to be egging on the ‘collapse’ and the weird fundamentalists who think a war in Israel will hasten Christ’s return.

      You don’t see much difference because there is no difference. Like Atlas Shrugged and Left Behind, it’s the same story with different externals pitched to different audiences.

      Just like the Rapture Ready types, the Over-Woke (who are in power all over my state) would burn the world as long as they can Virtue Signal their Righteousness to the ashes.

      They’re BOTH Fundamentalists.
      There is NO difference between the Over-Saved and the Over-Woke except the object of worship to follow starry-eyed. NO difference between Holier Than Thou and More Woke Than Thou.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      What my grandparents would have simply called thrift seems to be a revolutionary idea in this day and age.

      What you say is TRUE. At least here in the First of the First World.

      My parents were Depression babies, and I inherited a lot of the attitude.

      According to a long-ago link in Professor Fea’s blog (“J Fea” on the bloglist), during the early 1960s there was a huge media blitz for “No Deposit, No Return”, “Use Once, Throw Away”, “Single Use”, etc paid for by American industry (primarily the up-and-coming Plastics industry) to guarantee an expanded and continued market for their product.

      That was around 60 years ago; I remember as a kid the “No Deposit, No Return” jingles on TV commercials. Now that three Strauss-Howe generations have gone down since then, “Use Once, Throw Away” (especially in packaging) has become what’s NORMAL, i.e. “The Way We’ve Always Done Things”. And in so doing, it is now a Constitutional Right that cannot be Infringed in Any Way Whatsoever.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I don’t know, but I feel that like with many other scary things it’s being ‘weaponised’ by people who are looking for a pretext to exercise power over others through fear.

      Welcome to what it’s like to live on the Left Coast. White Guilt and Fear Manipulation are a fine art in the Politics of the Most Woke out here.

      It’s a reason why almost everyone outside the cities (Far West cultural b/g instead of Left Coast) went solid for TRUMP. Critical Mass Backlash, and The Donald was just standing in the right place at the right time. (Never discount the role of dumb luck when it comes to history.)

      The fact that so many ‘ecologists’ reject nuclear energy (which is low-to-zero carbon-emitting) has made me pretty much throw my hands up in despair. By which I mean that functionally whether I believe in warming or not has zero effect on my ability to change anything about it.

      Partially, another aftereffect of the Cold War.

      KGB kept stirring the pot with disinformation (and possibly channeling covert money and support to Activists) to monkeywrench such things in general, and actually scored some Hearts-and-Minds victories in Academia & Media influencers after the sea change of the Sixties. (There’s even some stuff coming out that a lot of the UFO Conspiracy PROOFS and rumors such as MJ-12 may have been KGB dezinformatzia ops. Don’t see what they hoped to accomplish other than building general distrust, but any Intel Agency has its share of hare-brained schemes and Dilbert moments.)

      And there’s something about the Activist mindset, a form of “It’s All About MEEEEE”. If they DO solve the problem, what does the Activist have to feel Woke about? It’s like that Petra song “Witch Hunt”. Or the secondary-character “Professional Revolutionary” in the movie Zapata; once Zapata and others overthrew Diaz, he immediately switched from fomenting Revolution against Diaz to fomenting Revolution against him.

  8. As a scientist, I am prone to question claims that are made and support using the scientific method to test and refine our current body of knowledge, including man-driven climate change. It says a lot however that the only skepticism we ever hear is non-scientific in nature. The argumentation I hear goes along the lines of “well this is how I see it…according to what I learned about physics from an online news article (or back when I was in high school/college)…given how big Earth is, there’s no way…what about Sun cycles…” This is not science, this is self-deception and reductionism. Nature is *far* more complex than we imagine, where quantum phenomena shred any notion of common sense and should humble us.

    Thousands of climate scientists that got PhDs are not idiots, clearly they know how vast Earth is, and about Sun cycles, etc., while devoting their entire *career* to studying this specific behavior. Whatever the exact percentage is of climate scientists is that recognize man-driven climate change does not matter (I usually hear ~97%), the point is it’s clearly the majority. Until we come across significant peer-reviewed research that says otherwise, it is objectively foolish to remain in denial (although on the flip side that doesn’t mean we should fully embrace it as an inerrant theory either). But even if there’s only a 60% chance of rain tomorrow, you can bet I’m still packing my umbrella.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > (I usually hear ~97%

      Yep. 97% consensus on ANYTHING is mind blowing.

      80% consensus on ANYTHING is astonishing.

      The “not everyone agrees” is nothing but a rhetorical trope.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        80% consensus is the lever where Groupthink usually locks in HARD.

        We saw this in 2016 with Evangelicals for Donald Trump.

        • still trying to process the evangelical support for such a person . . . am having trouble with this

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            I left the church after 9/11.

            I don’t understand what people don’t understand about Evangelicalism’s lavish support of Trump.
            He says what they’ve been saying for a decade; they being Evangelicals and not old guys who live on college campuses imagining they are leading a movement.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Except more In-Your-Face and More So.

              In a way, he comes across as a secularized cartoon of the Culture Warrior, fitting all the metrics Christian Culture Warriors have defined as Godly and Anointed for The Cause, just More So. (Including all the metrics of preacher scandals financial and sexual.) So if those are the metrics of God’s Anointing, he must be More Anointed. At least that’s Eagle & my working hypothesis.

              And He Gets Things Done — actually delivering on some of their pet projects. Like stacking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade, put Prayer Back in Schools etc. The old guard GOP bosses could have kept their Evangelical Christian Base voting straight GOP for a hundred years by stringing them along with that promise (which the Dems always keep from being fulfilled); now Trump actually went ahead and delivered. Factor that in.

              • Adam Tauno Williams says

                > Including all the metrics of preacher scandals financial and sexual

                This; he definitely strokes the Alpha-Male arch-type, which is huge in Evangelicalism (regardless of all that “live at peace with everyone” / “turn the other cheek” ‘crap’).

                > The old guard GOP bosses could have kept their Evangelical Christian
                > Base voting straight GOP for a hundred years by stringing them along
                > with that promise

                +1,000

                Like many things, it may only become harder once you succeed. Let’s hope that applies here.

          • I will never live long enough to understand this.

    • –> “Until we come across significant peer-reviewed research that says otherwise, it is objectively foolish to remain in denial…”

      As I suggested in a comment above, not only do we have scientists telling us these things, WE HAVE OUR OWN PHYSICAL EVIDENCE!! Who here has NOT experienced a noticeable warming trend in their past several years of life on earth? I see it in my own yard, I see it in nearby Alaska, I read about it in California, etc etc. Whether you want to believe data and scientists or not, you kinda have to put some blinders on to deny the evidence all around. To steal Josh McDowell’s line, it’s evidence that demands a verdict.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        But you still have the “not caused by humans” defense.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Or every time there’s a huge blizzard the chorus of “Global Warming, Huh?” comes out.

          Or every time a weather disaster prediction goes completely wrong. “They can’t even predict that storm, and they expect us to believe they can predict the climate 100 years from now?”

          And like everything this day, it’s been Politicized as hard as anything in the old USSR. Never mind evidence, Grand Unified Conspiracy rules are now in effect (“LIES. FAKE NEWS. THE CLINTONS! THE CLINTONS! THE CLINTONS!”) and there are always Alternative Facts to be The REAL TRVTH!

          On all sides, The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs and Won’t Be Taken In.

          Better order another round of armaments for the lifeboat now.

      • To be fair though, our own personal experiences are limited and can be misleading. It may be warming for you personally where you live, but it may be cooling for others in other pockets of the world, so we can’t really use that alone as justification of global warming. Also, perhaps it’s been warming over the last couple decades for all of us overall, but without context (e.g. temperature cycles, historical averages, etc) there’s no real way to interpret what that means in the overall scheme. This makes me think of that meme with the titanic sinking, where one side of the ship is rising up as the other side tilts down and begins sinking down. Some would argue “look, we’re rising, not sinking!”, oblivious as to the reality of the situation. The reality is often more complex than how it appears on the surface…

        • I know personal experiences can be limited in scope and thus be false, but when you read about record highs–and frighteningly so–in Europe and Asia for the past couple years, the evidence isn’t isolated or limited.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          To be fair though, our own personal experiences are limited and can be misleading.

          But they are still often the most important.

          During the Late Cold War, I read a scholarly work about decision-making and they mentioned how Information Overload can work against making clear decisions. (Since the context at the time was go/no-go decisions regarding Nuclear War, you can see why they gave this a lot of importance.)

          When the human brain and psyche get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information needed to make the decision (and then some, a lot of it confusing and contradictory), the response is to start chopping out the information until it gets down to a manageable size. With no care or understanding as to whether that info cut out turns out to be important or not. Just get it down to size where I can understand it. And the last to be cut is our own personal experience, which often serves as the filter for what to cut.

          Overload too much and the decision-maker will throw it all out and go with his “Gut Feelings” from personal experience.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Another corollary of Information Overload reaction is when you jettison the all-too-often contradictory complexity for your own sanity and chop it down to a size you can handle, you’re prone to overshoot into going whole-hog for overly-simple solutions. Like…

            “DRAIN THAT SWAMP! DRAIN THAT SWAMP! DRAIN! THAT! SWAMP!!!”
            “LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP! LOCK! HER! UP!!!”
            “BUILD THAT WALL! BUILD THAT WALL! BUILD! THAT! WALL!!!”

            Just to make the thrashing stop.

  9. So did the people who inhabited Venus , billions of years ago, rush the climate change factors that made Venus what it is today or was it just nature at work? Will earth someday end up like Venus or the other dead planets. I would say yes. I read somewhere if we planted a billion trees it would help the CO2 problem. Is that true? Is the ten to twenty year timeline I keep hearing a real timeline? This is important to me as I am 63 years old.

    • –> “This is important to me as I am 63 years old.”

      To be honest, I’m more concerned about my 18-year old than myself.

    • “s the ten to twenty year timeline I keep hearing a real timeline?”

      The real problem with setting round numbers for predictions like this is that it’s really hard to judge when “tipping point” mechanisms (like Antarctic/Greenland glacial melt, permafrost methane, etc) will kick in and to what extent. The fact that the official conservative projections (IPCC etc) of temperature and sea level rise keep getting revised *upward* is very concerning to me.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        I find it funny that people have now been saying “we have 10 years!” for … is it more than a year now?

  10. I guess Mars is next. Nice and cold. Not too far away. A few ‘accommodations’ and some of us might survive until we can evolve to that environment . . . or not.

    Saw a movie once about a project to create for oxygen in the Martian atmosphere. Turned out to be a horror movie.
    No more horrible than what our children will soon be facing on THIS planet as it is dying.

    Greta Thunberg, did you come back from that dreadful future to warn us of what would happen to our children? Did you come back to beg us to stop the process before it’s too late? Prophetic child, you are mournful and upset. You pierced through the hubris and the greed of the great trump who tweets contempt at you, because your voice got through to him and he fears your voice, hence the venom from him towards you. Your voice is powerful. Do not let them silence you, dear child.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Her speech was masterful.

      And in the angry roar of the response the lack of any response to “fairytales of eternal economic growth” is revealing as to how unreasoned that response is.

      • First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then they admit you were right…

        Well, they skipped right from “ignore” to “attack”, so she must be doing *something* right…

    • Burro (Mule) says

      What did you all expect? I mean, really, what the hell did you all expect?

      “Oh no! Little girl is crying and angry! Must become a monk immediately!’

      I’m vegan 45% of the year, but it’s hard. Keeping the Church fasts is h-a-r-d. I have no ‘fasting muscle’ like the old-timey Orthodox for whom all of this was second nature. Whatever you want to say about the current situation, it appears as though there is going to be less and less of everything in the future. Do you expect people who have ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE in self-denial to embrace economic contraction with glee?

      Naw. They’re going to do what selfish people have always done in such situations; look for ways to make others shoulder the lion’s share of the pain. Wealth tax, anyone?

      • “Do you expect people who have ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE in self-denial to embrace economic contraction with glee?”

        Do you expect young people who are staring future disaster and privation in the face to stay silent as we continue to run the planet into the ground? We’ve been ignoring thewarnings for decades. I think they’d reply, “How long can we afford to let the footdraggers and deniers set the pace?”

        • Burro (Mule) says

          I don’t expect them to be silent. God knows I wouldn’t be. I do expect them to be uneffective.

          That’s probably worse, isn’t it?

          • For what it’s worth, I don’t think it will change things either. More’s the pity.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > I do expect them to be uneffective.

            The institutions of the previous generation arrayed against them – yeah, no chance. 🙁
            It is the Last Alliance against Sauron – minus the existence of elves.
            The courageous running courageously into a buzz saw.

            • Burro (Mule) says

              And Saruman at their back brandishing the One Ring

            • Burro (Mule) says

              Actually, the Tolkien reference is doubly poignant for me.

              First of all, because in speaking online with a group of very erudite Catholic conservatives, I made the remark that our (traditionalists) position was a lot like that of Rohan in the LotR, caught between Islam and secular modernism (the business/military/golf complex). It was a shame that our enemies couldn’t devour each other. The Catholics remarked that Islam was definitely Mordor, but that secular modernism was Saruman with the Ring. The Catholics also remarked that Tolkien added in his narrative that the winner would emerge free of doubts and loaded for bear.

              In addition, on the Archdruid’s late lamented blog, he had a post where he likened our condition to that of the Shire if Frodo had lost heart, buried the Ring in a hole, and retired to live a full happy life with Sam and his cousins. Forty years later, with Minas Tirith and Rohan in the hands of Mordor, orcs ranging at will through Breeland, Rivendell and the Havens besieged, the Ring is dug up by a young Bolger or Boffin, who has to make his way to Mount Doom.

              It was his best post, and those of you who know the Archdruid’s writing know that that is very high praise indeed. As a public service I posted his two Tolkien-themed posts on my own blog. I hope the Archdruid will excuse me.

              • I know the man has to make a living, but taking his entire old blog offline and making it available only via book form kinda frosts my shorts.

    • Listening to and watching her, I thought of Joan of Arc.

    • I have read that the 16 year Greta having bouts of depression at the age of 8 and also suffered from eating disorders.
      It is also reported she suffers from autism as well. To me I believe that is where the thousand yard stare comes from, a lack of emotional response. Why is this 16 year given a bigger voice than those who really know the issue from a science, political, social and economic education. Mike the Geologist and Klasie K. seem to be very knowledgeable in their field and I hold their views on this subject to at least to be based on facts not emotions. I know they are not climate experts but they are science based in their opinions. I listened to a small amount of the young persons testimony to Congress panel and was unimpressed with her command of facts, just a variation of many oft heard expressions. I wish Greta T. well in her personal life but am concerned about why she is the “face” now of the climate change issue. To be blunt, I find her presentations unsettling due to her personality and demeanor. I am afraid soon I will hear Norman Bates talk about elder care assisted living.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        Dan – just no. Just no. Just stop it.

      • “Why is this 16 year given a bigger voice than those who really know the issue from a science, political, social and economic education.”

        Because the powers that be have consistently *ignored* those who know the issue scientifically. When she testified before Congress last week, she handed them the IPCC reports and said, “Don’t listen to me, listen to them.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/video/climate/100000006726110/greta-thunberg-congress.html

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          Indeed.

          But watching how this unfolds – the perversity of seeing grown men bullying a 16 year old girl with Asperger’s… well, once again they have demonstrated what kind of men they are.

          • This issue ignored, really,? maybe in China and India but hardly here were the beat goes on, Is not a major well former major political party pushing the green new deal? So the young lady was needed to get the issue into the news. I think not. Her parents and I assume with her permission put herself out into the public arena. Yes , she delivered a science based report that was already in the public arena and I am sure the Congress people were aware of. So the valid question would be , why is a 16 year person who is now the front person for a major issue not subject to some questions about the why of her selection to be the spokesperson? Is her age and Asperger’s a shield from questioning and is that the intent , to tug at heart strings and the natural urge is to support anyone who is struggling with issues. What qualifications does she have that warrant her to be chosen to deliver the science to the panel? Who was bullying the 16 year old? And if they did , then they should know that is just playing into the narrative? As per the above she is untouchable for any critical examination of her motives, actions and credentials .

            • –> “What qualifications does she have that warrant her to be chosen…”

              What qualifications did Joan of Arc have at the age of 18 to lead a French army against the troops of England and win?

              What qualifications did David have in taking on the Philistine champion and win?

              All it takes to qualify is a willingness to stand up and do something when you feel led to stand up and do something.

              • Rick Ro. Well, The Roman Catholic Church made Joan of Arc a Saint, they must think she was qualified. Joan believed she had visons and voices from God to save the French heir. Joan qualifications were validated by the victory at Orleans where she put herself at risk.

                King David, was chosen by God to be King. His qualification was his faith and trust in God by going into battle without any armor but faith. The least physical and unassuming youngster was chosen by God from an early age and the rest is as they say history.

                Is that all its takes? In real life to stand up to something and do something takes a lot ? How about education, life experience, dedication , work effort, example of living, bravery and the list goes on. The protestors in Hong Kong as a group are putting forth an effort of speaking truth to real ruthless power and have put themselves in harm’s way. As usual this is part of a bigger agenda and that is how the world of power operates.

                I guess the young lady has taken quite a leap into worthy company. I guess that is the power of the mass media, right up there with King David.

                If her age and experience has nothing to do with it , what does?

            • I would not say she is untouchable. You obviously are being critical and dismissive of her. So is Trump and I am confident his minions will attack her. IMO her age has nothing to do with this.

              • When the critics are criticized, they cry foul. They claim she is untouchable because they believe they should be, and that their criticism should go unquestioned.

            • She’s been leading protests in Europe for over a year. She only seemed to pop up out of nowhere to us because most Americans can’t be bothered to notice world news.

      • What I’ve learned living among Danes, Norwegians and Swedes in Europe is that they they are forthright speakers who don’t candy coat.the truth. Sometimes it hurts.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        It is also reported she suffers from autism as well. To me I believe that is where the thousand yard stare comes from, a lack of emotional response.

        Half the guys I know in Fandom are somewhere on the lower half of the autism spectrum. I show a couple Aspergers symptoms myself (though I’ve lost the Hyperfocus). Comes with the territory of being smart and creative.

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    There is also another factor which I don’t think anyone else has noticed:

    The difference in Zeitgeist over the past 60-70 years.

    If something like this had surfaced in the 1950s, the response would have been WAY different from today. Fresh off surviving the Great Depression, winning World War 2, and riding a high of prosperity, we then had a serious “Can Do” optimism. You would not have seen today’s Idealist Preening, Coup Counting, and marinating in Oh-so-Delicious ANGST!! ANGST!!!! ANGST!!!!!!

    Instead you would have seen Manhattan Projects to find and implement a solution. Granted, many of these would have been DUMB ideas (this was the era of Project Plowshare), but they would have been doing SOMETHING. They would have been planning and trying SOMETHING other than “I AM RIGHT! SEE? SEE? SEE?” Counting Coup on The Other.

    And this was also pre-Hal Lindsay, so sitting around with folded hands piously going “Twinkle Twinkle coming Christ/ Beam ME Up to Paradise!” while things got Worse and Worse and Worse (“It’s Prophesied! It’s Prophesied!”) — another way of Virtue Signalling/Counting Coup — would have been a MINORITY response among American Christendom.

  12. trumpism is very heavy on racism

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Some part of that (don’t know how much) is blind backlash against the Woke Activists and being on the receiving end of weaponized Race Cards.

      Like that Count Dankula short on YouTube, “How to Win Any Argument”: After making a big show of preening and preparing in silence, CD looks at the camera and says one word — “Racist!”

  13. Great article on Venus even if it is mostly in the realm of conjecture.
    Fade to the planet Mercury.
    Now there’s an enigma wrapped in mystery!
    They’ve reason to believe from the data gleaned by NASA’s Messenger probe, that Mercury has a huge iron core relative to its size, and what’s more, said core might be solid and not molten.
    They also know that Mercury has more than just traces of water ice.
    How can that be with a body orbiting so close to the G2 furnace which is the sun of our system?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Further constraint:: You must explain this using natural processes. You cannot use Young Earth Creationism, “Then a Miracle Happened”, or any other God of the Gaps explanation.