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?