Perhaps the most damaging deficiency in FE efforts, after self-serving orientation, was that the participants and their supporters were scientifically illiterate and easily led astray by the latest spectacle. Scientific literacy can help prevent most such distractions. While writing this essay, I was not only bombarded with news of the latest FE and alternative energy aspirants' antics, but I had to continually field queries regarding whether Peak Oil and Global Warming were conspiratorial elite hoaxes (or figments of the hyperactive imaginations of environmentalists and other activists), for two examples that readily come to mind. Digesting this essay's material should have those questions answered as mere side-effects. Far from being a hoax or imaginary, Peak Oil was and , and it is all downhill from there, and conventional oil will be almost entirely depleted in my lifetime. , although both were heavily promoted in the USA in 2014. In every paleoclimate study that I have seen, so-called greenhouse gases have always been considered the primary determinant of Earth's surface temperature (after the Sun), and carbon dioxide is chief among them. The radiation-trapping properties of carbon dioxide are not controversial in the slightest among scientists, and after the Sun's influence (which is exceedingly stable), declining carbon dioxide levels are considered to be the conditions that have dominated Earth for the past 35 million years. Humanity's increasing the atmosphere's carbon dioxide content is influencing the cause of Icehouse Earth, and , and are merely proximate causes. Increasing carbon dioxide can turn the global climate from an to a Greenhouse Earth, and the last time that happened, Earth had its . But have purposefully confused the issues, and a scientifically illiterate public and have played along, partly because believing the disinformation seems to relieve us all of any responsibility for our actions. Although scientific literacy can help people become immune to the disinformation and confusion arising from many corners, and reading this essay's first half can help people develop their own defense from such distractions, my goals for this essay's first half are far greater than that.
The derision was loud from Wrangham’s colleagues…until evidence of was found at in South Africa by using new tools and techniques. The chortling is subsiding somewhat and scientists are now looking for the faint evidence, and long-disputed evidence of 1.5-1.7 mya controlled fires is being reconsidered, although his hypothesis is still widely considered as being only "mildly compelling" at best. New tools may push back the control of fire to a time that matches Wrangham’s audacious hypothesis. Wrangham cited the Expensive-Tissue Hypothesis as partially supporting the Cooking Hypothesis, but , the energy to power the human brain may not have solely derived from cooked food’s energy benefits. Wrangham has cited numerous lines of evidence, one of which is a that has to find honeybee hives and smoke them out; the humans get the honey and the honeyguide gets the larvae and wax. According to recent molecular evidence, the evolutionary split of the honeyguide from its ancestors happened up to three mya, which supports the early-control-of-fire hypothesis. There is great controversy regarding these subjects, from recent findings that to scientists making arguments that to the social impacts of campfires. This section of this essay will probably be one of the first to be revised in future versions, as new evidence is adduced and new hypotheses are proposed.
When investigating how ice ages begin and end, and feedbacks are considered. A positive feedback will accentuate a dynamic and a negative feedback will mute it. In the 1970s, and the author of today’s , , , which posits that Earth has provided feedbacks that maintain environmental . Under that hypothesis, environmental variables such as atmospheric and levels, levels, and Earth’s surface temperature have been kept relatively constant by a combination of geophysical, geochemical, and life processes, which have maintained Earth’s inhabitability. The homeostatic dynamics were mainly negative feedbacks. If positive feedbacks dominate, then “runaway” conditions happen. In astrophysics, are responsible for a wide range of phenomena. A runaway greenhouse effect may be responsible for . Climate scientists today are concerned that burning the hydrocarbons that fuel the industrial age . Mass extinctions are the result of Earth's becoming largely uninhabitable by the organisms existing during the extinction event. The ecosystems then collapse Mass extinction specialist recently proposed his as a direct challenge to the Gaia hypothesis.
Canfield’s original hypothesis, which seems largely valid today, is that the deep oceans were not oxygenated until the Ediacaran Period, which followed the Cryogenian; the process did not begin until about 580 mya and first completed about 560 mya. The wildest swing in Earth’s entire geological record begins about 575 mya and ends about 550 mya, and is called the Shuram excursion. Explaining the Shuram excursion is one of the most controversial areas of geology today, with numerous proposed hypotheses. When the controversies are finally resolved, if they resolved, the Shuram and excursions, even though they go in opposite directions, I suspect will likely be both related to the dynamics of ice ages and the rise of oxygen levels. Ediacaran fauna, the first large, complex organisms to ever appear on Earth, also first appeared about 575 mya, when the Shuram excursion began. I strongly doubt that Earth’s first appearance of large complex life at the exact geological timescale moment of the wildest carbon-isotope swing in Earth’s history will prove to be a coincidence. The numerous competing hypotheses regarding the Shuram excursion include:
In the early 19th century, a dispute was personified by , a British lawyer and geologist, and , a French paleontologist. Their respective positions came to be known as and . Just as , so did uniformitarianism prevail in scientific circles. Under the comforting uniformitarian worldview, there was no such thing as a global catastrophe. Changes had only been gradual, and only the present geophysical, geochemical, and biological process had ever existed. The British Charles Darwin explicitly made Lyell’s uniformitarianism part of his evolutionary theory and he proposed that extinction was only a gradual process. Cuvier was , which contradicted the still-dominant Biblical teachings, even in the . Although Cuvier did not subscribe to the , his catastrophic extinction hypothesis was informed by his fossil studies. But Lyell and Darwin prevailed. Suggesting that there might have been catastrophic mass extinctions in Earth’s past was an invitation to be branded a pseudoscientific crackpot. That state of affairs largely prevailed in orthodoxy until the 1980s, after the was posited for the dinosaurs’ demise. An effort led by a scientist publishing outside of his field of expertise (a ) removed from its primacy. Only since the 1980s have English-speaking scientists studied mass extinctions without facing ridicule from their peers, which has never been an auspicious career situation. Since then, many and mass extinction events have been studied, but the investigations are still in their early stages, partly due to a dogma that prevailed for more than a century and a half, and Lyell’s uniformitarianism is influential. The ranking of major mass extinctions is even in dispute, , and a was recently .
Scientists are unanimous that the Western Hemisphere’s indigenous peoples primarily came from East Asia, but there has been a cottage industry for centuries proposing other ideas. When Thomas Jefferson sent the expedition to North America’s west coast in 1804 to , they were alerted to find the lost tribes of Israel. But genetic, anatomical, archeological, and other evidence has long since settled the issue of where American Indians came from, and by far the leading hypothesis is that humans migrated to North and South America beginning about 15 kya, and there may have been a migration along the Pacific coastline, which continued the . As the , a corridor between them formed and humans walked to North America about 11 kya. Those arrivals founded the . The sudden disappearance of virtually all the megafauna of North and South America followed those humans, particularly those that came by land and spread. That situation is where the original “” label was used.
The two-Gospel hypothesis provides an effective response regarding these literary and historical similarities with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke through a balanced approach utilizing both internal and external resources to address the long standing debate regarding the synoptic problem....
With industrialization, peoples could export their environmental devastation onto other unfortunates. An early trick of industries was making the smokestacks taller so that the pollution was “airmailed” to their neighbors. Japan regenerated its forests by importing timber from raped forests abroad, mostly from the Asian mainland and North America. Burning fossil fuels has also raised the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide content, which has warmed Earth. It that the radiation-absorbing properties of greenhouse gases were measured, and it before scientists began to suspect that the fossil fuel era might be warming Earth’s atmosphere. A century later, there is still a faux debate regarding the atmospheric-warming effects of burning fossil fuels, and I will briefly address the issue.