Saturday, April 14, 2012

This century's IDEOLOGICAL DIVIDE : the 'denier scientists' versus the 'commensalist scientists'

Michael Marshall
I'd hate to be among all those young academic social scientists who have invested all their professional lives in studying yesteryear's battle between capitalism and socialism.

Granted, there is still lots of life left in that subject - if you are a historian or a archaeologist , studying ancient artifacts.

But the social scientists are definitely not  that - they like to be as contemporary as tomorrow's headlines.

 And socialism versus capitalism it is so yesterday.

Denier scientists versus Alarmist scientists ( aka  Commensalist scientists) is what heats up the blogosphere today -- and it is their battle that provides the life-sustaining bile that feeds the "Oldstream Media" and its columnists.

Denier scientists like to imagine themselves in white lab coats, floating about 'up there' , like quasi archangels in some sort of theological Space, above and outside our physical Universe.

(But angels without archangel-like white wings - because they deny God  - as well denying any other impediment that might cramp their style.)

Spread out below them and beyond them , like some vast petri dish, is Life - filled with 'dots'  as HARRY LIME so lovelessly described all of us, in THE THIRD MAN.

'Harry Limes in a lab coat', coolly, logically, rationally, objectively, disinterestedly, the Denier scientists take measurements and make corrective adjustments --- but somehow these events never grievously damage the petri dish and its contents.

Archangels at the Right Hand of a God that in their minds at least,  Does Not Exist .

Masters of the Universe,Sky Gods, Sun Gods, Phaeton-Men .

Fundamentally, they believe that Man could survive and indeed soar to new heights, on a planet devoid of competition from all other life - even on a planet devoid of all the materials created by life.

"Man's Mind (and Minerals) Is Enough" is the banner they march under.

But like Phaeton himself, they are trying to ride a machine they can not control and it is alternatively burning up or freezing up parts of our world.

The commensalists are down-to-earth scientists, literally and figuratively earthlings.

What on earth have they been doing, mucking about down in the dirt ?

Well, just for starters, they have discovered that most of the minerals that we can get at , in or just below the Earth's surface, were created via biological activity.

Yep, I will repeat that - most compounds and minerals came from life and either won't exist or would exist in tiny amounts without Life on Earth.

We humans have created a few unique minerals and a lot more unique compounds , but in relatively small amounts - we simply haven't been here long enough , or in large enough numbers, to do much.

We get very little in the way of totally new amounts of elements from outer space - at least over human-oriented time periods.

Nor do volcanoes really bring up new matter.

Instead almost all of the important elements are recycled back and forth endlessly - up into the sky and back into the land and water.

 Some goes on down, way down, down into the ocean bottom and then into the Earth's sub surface interior and eventually back up via volcanoes.

They do not recycle as pure elements but as bits of various compounds - and solar radiation and geological processes unite with biological activity to ceaselessly break up those compounds to make new ones, and so on and on forever.

Think of these recycling efforts as vast wheels.

But Commensality Science begs us not to think of them as vast independent wheels as the Deniers would claim.

Instead they say think of them as a couple dozen big wheels that all constantly bumping up against each other, throwing each other off kilter - usually mildly, within tolerable limits for continuing life, but sometimes - and unexpectedly - in dramatic horrific fashion.

Denier scientists are pusher scientists - they know humanity is addicted on certainty  (and they are the most addicted of all of us - that is why they became denier scientists ) and they peddle quasi-certitudes.

They are  NOT  lying when they say they think we shouldn't do anything  about our environmental crisis until we are 100% sure of the facts, all of the facts.

Because the truly scary thing about these scientists is not that they are liars (I don't believe they are) but theat they truly believe that Reality is knowable to the point of 100% certainty.

In light of 100 years of sound basic science that says it is not, that is Bad Science, Bad Faith Science.

I agree they have a problem, but I just don't think remaining as practicing (practicing on us) scientists is the best solution to that problem...

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