Evolution or Global Warming: You Can Pick Only One

So I’m curled in the fetal position late last night, munching M&Ms and potato chips while I still can, and trying not to cry about the House bill.  Flipping through channels, I ran across a rerun of a fascinating PBS-Nova documentary entitled “Becoming Human.”  Apparently, this is a three part series, of which I caught the first part.  Yes, I’m that geeky that I not only watch but enjoy watching PBS documentaries; I don’t, however, wear it as a badge of intellectual honor as do liberals who watch *only* PBS (hmph!).

In Chapter 6 (of 6) of Part 1 (you can skip to it by selecting the last frame at the bottom of the vid), there was a truly fascinating discussion of the archeological evidence of massive climate change in Africa a few million (billion? whatever) years ago.  Apparently, Africa (where much archeological evidence of humanoid existence is found) was once a tropical rain forest.  Then it was a desert.  Then it was a tropical rain forest.  Then it was a desert.  This swung back and forth for a million (or so) years, and is the reason, the documentary posits, that humanoids began developing larger brains.  They had to adapt to the rapid climate change that created starkly different environments and ecosystems.  Cool beans.

Climate change is not a human product, and cannot be “fixed” by humans. We all vaguely know that this continent (North America) was once largely covered by an ice cap thingy.  And we know this because of the archeological record and other scientific stuff.  Layers of various lifeforms smooshed into the pages of a archeological record that scientists can read and study and hypothesize about.  It’s really quite fascinating stuff.  We can see in these layers of fossils and dirt and plant stuffs what the climate was like, how often it changed, and what managed to live through it and what died out.  It’s all right there.  Lakes and deserts and ice caps all occuring in the same exact spot over the course of millions of years.  Truly fascinating.

It seems, though, that this one section of Africa that swung, according to Nova in a mere thousand years, from lake to desert to lake and back to desert (and on) was where our human brains began to develop into problem solving, adaptational wonders.  Big ole brains mean that we, or our earlier ancestors, can solve problems of how to survive in both a tropical environment and in a desert environment.  Adaptation to the climate changes means that these bigger-brained critters flourished and kept adapting (goes the argument) into us, as we are now.  Apparently, however, all that sort of stalled out (I sort of see Nancy Pelosi and BO as those little-brained critters who couldn’t adapt and probably jumped up and down, pounding their chests with their hairy little fists, and tried futilely to stop the naturally-occurring cycles of climate change.  Those pea-brained humanoids became extinct post hasty.  And if Pelosi and BO aren’t the pea-brained hominids who shook their furry fists at the sky and said “NO!  STOP!” (well, there’s no evidence that there was vocal communication, much less that they spoke English, heh, but you get my point) right before their species died out, then what are they, and their liberal loon cohorts around the world (U. N., anyone?) up to? ). 

Now, instead of adapting to our changing climate, the natural processes of the earth that create land out of ocean and desert of lakes and ice out of dry land, we seek to adapt the climate to our needs, or more precisely, our will.  Presumably, those humanoids with burgeoning brain pans were using their stone tools to chip away at stuff and not to create industry and use oil, gas, coal, or anything else to assist in, much less create, climate change.  It just happened.  You know, like it’s happening now.  Without the help of humans (or pre-humans).  How, then, can we be solely or even mostly responsible for the climate change that is occurring now?  That has been occurring since the Industrial Revolution and billions of years before it?

To my understanding, you can’t have evolution without stark environmental changes, and you can’t have environmental changes without climate change (well, prior to air conditioning and central heating).  We know for a fact that the earth is in a constant state of flux, that tectonic plate movement and a host of other factors literally change the face of the earth, creating islands, sinking land masses and coastal regions, creating desert where once there was fertile land (even lakes or rain forests).  If the climate, indeed the earth itself, is constantly changing, then evolution makes sense.  If climate change is related only–or even mostly–to humankind’s activities, as Gore, BO, and the U. N. among other nutjobs would have us believe, then you don’t have significant climate change pre-Industrial Revolution, and if you don’t have significant climate change, you can’t have evolution.  Right? Or is the new version of evolution that anthropologists and the entire archeological record are wrong?  That entire species actually die out . . . from failure to adapt to a static environment?

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13 thoughts on “Evolution or Global Warming: You Can Pick Only One

  1. Excellent, thought-provoking post. I would agree that climate change is nothing new. I think what is disturbing many is the potential RATE of climate change – man's activities MAY be accelerating a natural process and we may not be able to adapt/evolve quickly enough. I am very interested in climate change, and I am frequently persuaded by both sides of the argument, but have come to the conclusion that no matter who turns out to be right we as a world need to use the earth's precious resources more carefully and live in a less consumerist society – the side effect would be to reduce CO2 production in any case.

  2. Hi Cambridge Lady and Welcome! I loved your comment over at LL's page. 🙂

    As to global warming, er climate change (turns out the earth is actually on a cooling trend now, go figure), the most “startling” numbers I've heard are that it will fifty years, if we continue as we are now, before the “warming” changes by a tenth of a degree. I think we can adapt. It's not like we're naked and foraging in lakes and streams, you know? CO2 has also been shown to be harmless. These trends, the cyclic changes of the earth's climate, take millions of years. The “freak” climate changes discussed in the documentary took one thousand years. Again, we're more advanced now than our ancestors were, and I think we'll manage to notice if the coastlines shrink by an inch a decade (or whatever the current rate is). I don't think we have a thing to do with climate change, and I think that the powers that be know it. This is about control, that's all.

    I do, however, have to agree that we should be treating our planet well and finding alternate energy sources. Oil and coal aren't in endless supply, after all, and we are using them far more quickly than they form naturally. So I'm with the environmentalists on these points. I'm not with them on the alarmist fear-mongering.

  3. I agree with Cameron, and not just because of her picture. Al Gore comes along and acts like Earth history never happened, and that we need to re-define “the weather” or something. Fascinating idea, that climate change lead to the development of our big brains. There's an anthropologist named Jared Diamond, a guy who'se sort of “out there” a little on the fringe, and probably a big lefty, but he had this one idea that stuck with me from his book “The Third Chimpanzee”, where he talks about “evolutionary energy”. He says that the reason we can't sprout wings from our back and fly around, or shoot high-power fingernails into our enemies, or run 99 miles an hour is because natural selection will take the shortest path to the results required. The results are “survival”, and in our case, opposable thumbs, big wrinkly brains and 'culture' (verses “instinct”). So it agrees with the theory you are talking about. The more stresses humans have to deal with to survive, the more we follow the shortest path to survival. Big brains is a slippery slope which accelerates our intelligence with every challenge. So, basiclal…the dems are making us stupid 🙂

    By the way, I used to watch all those science shows when I was a kid – it was usually the only interesting thing on TV, other than kung-fu movies (which only aired on Saturday). Now kung-fu movies are on all the time, and I have less time for science shows. Ho hum..

  4. i wish i'd known that show was on. i love those kinds of things. really interesting. it the same sort of thing my dad has been saying for years and years. i think there are some people who think that evolution has stopped. like this is the pinnacle of the earth and humans and this is as far as anything will ever go and any other changes are because of something we've done wrong.

  5. From what I know, the earth has always had various periods of cooling, and various periods of warming. I believe its cyclical, and is a normal event for the earth. Plus, I just saw that a scientist disproved Gore's hockey stick theory. I am all for taking care of the earth and looking for alternative sources of energy, but I don't think that we have an impact on the global warming(climate change) of the earth. Evolution may not have stopped. Evolution may be continuous.

  6. I don't believe that we're accelerating the demise of the planet. I do believe we should clean up after ourselves and engage in conservation and recycling. I've no doubt that Al Gore is getting filthy rich from a manufactured climate crisis.

  7. Thanks so much, Cameron, and welcome! 🙂

    Heh, super comment Candelabra. I want to be able to sprout wings and shoot fingernails at my enemies! But yeah, your kook's theory makes sense to me, too. And yeah, lib brains do seem to have stopped developing quite some time ago. :p

    Kerry, it was an awesome documentary, and I'm looking forward to the next two parts. I think you can watch them on the PBS site I linked, but they should be on a PBS station near you. 🙂 And yes, I think it's absurd to imagine that we've reached to pinnacle of human evolution, but that does seem to be what libs think. I'm really fed up with their hubris and elitism, to be honest.

    Hey Teresa, agreed. Why would evolution simply stop? The climate and topography of the earth continues to change, and we make adaptations all the time (developing immunities to various diseases, etc).

    Chick, no way in hell are we accelerating it. If we were, we'd still be in a warming, not a cooling, trend. We haven't yet passed the magic cap and tax bill that will stop climate change in its tracks. Hmph!

  8. I'm kind of sitting on the fence right now – there are so many scientists producing research with such opposing conclusions. On both sides of the argument you might reasonably wonder if there is a hidden agenda.

    My philosophy is …. if the optimists (no warming) are assumed to be correct, we carry on as usual, and then are later proved to be wrong then the consequences for mankind are enormous and I do think many peoples of this world would not be able to adapt quickly enough.

    If the pessimists are assumed to be right, we modify our behaviour, and then are later proved to be wrong ….. well we needn't have worried about warming (great!), we have conserved invaluable resources such as oil, reduced pollution, lived in more sustainable, earth-friendly fashion …. which can't be so bad surely?

    I would say that people need to be offered a “carrot” to encourage them to reduce consumption etc rather than a big “stick”.

  9. Heyas Cambridge Lady 🙂 I see the logic in what you are saying, but there is a great deal of evidence that there is no sound scientific evidence that supports the U. N.'s conclusions about global warming, er climate change. These are based not in scientific fact (the U. N. does not do any actual scientific research itself), but rather scientists are on record as saying that their jobs and (in two cases) their lives were threatened if they didn't go along with the scheme (and to my mind, it is a scheme). As time is going by, more and more scientists are saying that while the climate is indeed changing, the human impact on climate change is minimal at best.

    What we do do, of course, is consume resources at a faster rate than they can regenerate, and this is a problem. But that is not about “climate change”. Climate change is simply an alarmist tool being used to manipulate various aspects of human life.

    The real motive, I believe, is not to “save the planet” or even to conserve resources, it's to redistribute wealth (from first to third world nations, none of whom will slow down their own consumption of resources and production of CO2, of course) and centralize power (economic and political, so also social and cultural–they're all linked). The proposals include massive taxes on business, which will be passed on to consumers, among other rather alarming changes to the global (and important to me, of course, American) economy.

    I'm totally fine with you and anyone else advocating massive economic and governmental changes as a response to climate change. As far as I'm concerned, you have every right to believe what you believe. 🙂 I, however, am not ever going to buy into this farce. The more time that goes by, the more information that comes out, the more the climate changes all without our doing a damn thing, the more clear it becomes (to me, anyway :)) that it's purely about power and money.

  10. By the way, Cambridge Lady, I don't want you thinking that I'm running around wishing the world would end. I recycle, I use energy conserving lightbulbs, don't leave lights on that I don't need, etc. I absolutely think we need to make efforts to protect the environment. What I object to is the drastic changes that are being proposed by the U. S., Europe, and the U. N.

    Doing our part to protect the environment is one thing and something that most people do anyway. However, a mere modification of behavior, as you say, is not on offer. We are being told we need to hand over our sovereignty and our wealth, and with it, our ability to compete effectively in technological and scientific/medical advances. Spreading the wealth around is anathema to me, and doubly so in the name of something that I don't believe we have any control over whatsoever.

  11. Well I'm certainly in no position to preach about green issues as I love to travel …. only this summer flew to Australia on holiday …… and I know my carbon-footprint is probably horrendous. I've chatted to a lot of eco-bloggers (I really do love how the blogging world encourages so much discussion and debate) and some believe you should go the whole haul or not at all …. others believe that every little bit helps.

    I've not read all the research – yet (I'm starting an Environmental Science BSc in February so will be doing a lot of reading!) – so I genuinely don't know what to believe. I was a strong believer in climate change until the most recent research findings came in, now I am more neutral and ready to question.

    I also recognise that we cannot expect countries like China and India to forgo all the benefits and luxuries of development that we in the West have enjoyed for decades. I do understand why many in the US (and Europe) feel that they are being asked to give up wealth and lifestyle to subsidise the rest of the world. We are entering a very challenging era regardless of how the climate change predictions play out.

    And I don't think you're running around wishing the world would end, Fuzzy Slippers – love the online alias BTW :o)

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