Crank of the Week – May 30, 2011 – The Economist
That old stodgy, conservative English newspaper, The Economist, has been veering into the weeds recently with its stand on global warming and the environment. With the May 28 – June 3 issue it has left the road entirely and plunged into the eco-activist, climate change alarmist swamp. The cover of the US edition is emblazoned with the words “Welcome to the Anthropocene,” the same title used on this blog a year and a half ago. Too bad they didn't read the Resilient Earth article, it might have prevented them making such a hash of their own report. Moreover, dredging up discredited tripe from more than a decade ago and plastering it on your cover like it's news is the height of lazy journalism—that or climate alarmist propaganda.
This blog has repeatedly warned of the Anthropocene scam being promoted by a number of fringe ecologists. Most recently, this bogus geological time period was cited in the trial of Humanity v. Earth, adjudicated by a gaggle of wayward Nobel Laureates in collusion with the UN and various NGOs. Never mind that the Anthropocene is not a real scientific term or an actual geological epoch, it is a good excuse to once again drag the climate change boogieman out from under the bed and frighten the children. As the newspaper's leader stated:
What geologists choose to call a period of history normally matters little to the rest of mankind; tussles at the International Commission on Stratigraphy over the boundaries of the Ordovician era do not normally capture headlines. The Anthropocene is different. It is one of those moments where a scientific realisation, like Copernicus grasping that the Earth goes round the sun, could fundamentally change people’s view of things far beyond science. It means more than rewriting some textbooks. It means thinking afresh about the relationship between people and their world and acting accordingly.
We're sorry, but the clowns behind this little piece of pseudo-scientific balderdash are not anywhere near level of Copernicus. They are however grasping, grasping at anything bombastic or shocking to try and promote what over specialized, self-serving intellectual parasites think is important. The Economist leader and article are filled with vague half-truths and innuendo with no backing evidence and few named sources (none in the leader). Here are some examples:
- Scientists are increasingly using a new name for this new period. Rather than placing us still in the Holocene, a peculiarly stable era that began only around 10,000 years ago, the geologists say we are already living in the Anthropocene: the age of man. – The Holocene is not a “peculiarly stable” era, it is simply the latest of a long sequence of relatively warm interglacial periods that have occurred every 80-100,000 years or so since the beginning of the Pleistocene Ice Age. This may be news to The Economist but not to real scientists and it should have been hard to miss since the pattern has existed for over three million years.
- Almost 90% of the world’s plant activity, by some estimates, is to be found in ecosystems where humans play a significant role. – Oh how to parse this howler. Since humanity had indeed spread to every continent and every environment on Earth the statement seems a bit trite; almost like saying “99.9% of the world's plant activity happens on Earth.” It could just as easily be reversed to say 90% of the world's human activity is to be found in ecosystems where plants play a significant role.
- The world’s ecosystems are dominated by an increasingly homogenous and limited suite of cosmopolitan crops, livestock and creatures that get on well in environments dominated by humans. Creatures less useful or adaptable get short shrift: the extinction rate is running far higher than during normal geological periods. – As we have always said, if you want to save something from extinction put it on the menu. As for those less adaptable going extinct, that's the way natural selection works, you scientific illiterates.
- The sheer amount of biomass now walking around the planet in the form of humans and livestock handily outweighs that of all other large animals. – Large animals, perhaps, but add up all of the planet's insects. Or perhaps you should just look up krill. If you read Dawkins' The Selfish Gene you would realize we are just fulfilling nature's mandate.
- Increasing the planet’s resilience will probably involve a few dramatic changes and a lot of fiddling. An example of the former could be geoengineering. – Earth is resilient enough, thank you, and will still be doing fine when we are all dead and gone. As for geoengineering, we guess they missed the report stating that removing CO2 from the air won't work.
- The challenge of the Anthropocene is to use human ingenuity to set things up so that the planet can accomplish its 21st-century task. – What bloody task? Planets don't have tasks, they are collections of accreted matter whirling through space. Why do ecological dingbats, after running down humanity, insist on anthropomorphizing inanimate objects? Nature itself is simply a collection of interacting physical processes—it neither feels nor cares, neither suffers nor rejoices, at anything we do.
There is certainly nothing new here, Nobel Prize-winner Paul Crutzen has been pushing this Anthropocene nonsense for over a decade (see “A Brave New Epoch”). In fact, the longer article begins by quoting Crutzen. He's been trying to blame humans for climate change starting as early as 15,000 years ago. The fact of the matter is this whole Anthropocene imbroglio is simply a part of the larger biodiversity crisis scam.
trying to put things into perspective.
If you are truly interested in the whole Anthropocene flimflam see the original “Welcome To The Anthropocene” article by Dr. Hoffman, written back in January of 2010. It examines the recent upswing in anthropocenism. As for the laggards at The Economist, perhaps they will eventually catch up with the truth. In the mean time, for aiding the spread of decade old crank science and blatant eco-scaremongering, this Crank of the Week goes to The Economist, it is sad to see it sink so low.