Friday, April 23, 2010

Gaia is Trying to Kill Us


When Pat Robertson said voodoo and a nation "selling its soul to the devil" caused January's Haiti earthquake, most people cringed, shook their head, and wondered why the guy had to say something that stupid.

When Iranian clerics say promiscuity is what's causing earthquakes worldwide, even I, a relatively conservative person, have to laugh when a young American woman uses Facebook to organize a bevy of women ready to dress provocatively to provoke a "Boobquake."

The liberals, of course, have a field day with this kind of nonsense, pointing to these, somewhat rightly, as examples of how religion is spreading nonsense around the world.

But when a liberal commentator -- and not just a few of them, read some here and many examples here -- believes that earthquakes, the Icelandic volcanic eruption and other natural disasters this year represent "Earth striking back," can't we, as rational people, also file them in the Loony Boat?

I certainly will.

What author Alan Wiseman writes at CNN.com is ludicrous. He brings up some shocking, absolutely shocking, scientific evidence that earthquakes and volcanoes occur along tectonic plate boundaries. This is, he says, evidence that melting icecaps and more carbon in the atmosphere is going to lead to MORE earthquakes and volcanoes.
It's looking like this may be a long decade. And if we don't pull carbon out of the way we energize our lives soon, a small clump of our not-too-distant surviving descendants may find themselves, as Gaia scientist James Lovelock has direly predicted, like the first Icelanders: gathered on some near-barren hunk of rock near one of the still-habitable poles, trying yet anew to eke out a plan for human civilization.
Doesn't Wiseman realize he sounds as stupid -- and rightly so -- as Robertson and those wacky Iranian clerics?

Brendann O'Neil, writing at reason.com, thinks so:
Hundreds of years ago, before the birth of the science of volcanology in the 19th century, mankind looked upon volcanic eruptions as warnings or punishments from the gods. The gods were literally blowing their tops, spewing forth fire and rocks and ash to express their disgust or disappointment with we mere mortals and our habit of messing things up.

Now, remarkably, this backward outlook, this idea that volcanoes are somehow semi-sentient forces giving fiery lectures to mankind, is making a comeback thanks to the eruption of Eyjafjallaj√∂kull in Iceland. The fact that ash from the volcano is spreading across Europe, leading to the grounding of flights and the closure of airports, is being interpreted—even celebrated—as evidence of Nature’s awesome power and “fury” in contrast to weak, pathetic mankind.
So we got voodoo-fearers and promiscuity-fearers on the right, contrasting with "Earth is sentient and trying to kill us all" on the left. Folks wonder why I sag in the middle.

Can human activity increase the frequency of earthquakes? No.

Is recent earthquake activity unusual? No.

But because Wisemann's blatherings and other lib storytelling toes the global warming line, those on the left are as willing to blind their eyes to scientific fact as they accuse those on the right of being blind when climate science is trotted out in front of them. Pot, meet Mister Kettle. Y'all are both a little sooty.

The left screams at the unscientific, religious fiddle-faddle on the right, and yet give Wisemann and others of his ilk on the left a pass because, well, at least they're preaching the right kind of message. Anything that makes global warming something to fear and makes industrial society look stupid and wasteful and unbenificient. Makes me want to ship the far left and the far right to Iceland and toss them all into the volcano.

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