Saturday, October 9, 2010

There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight.

"Where governments and big industry are in cahoots it is to the detriment of the people."

Now there is a great threat for global warming going to destroy mankind all over the globe. I am reminded of the global cooling threat published in the 1970s. Alarm bells rang loud and clear that we were in for the next ice age then! All that happened at that time was that the Northern Hemisphere ground temperatures had fallen by just 0.5 degree centigrade! Between 1964 and 1972 there was a decrease of 1.5% sunshine hitting the USA. It was said to have taken the globe “about a sixth of the way towards the ice age.” In Great Britain the cooling had shortened the growing season by just two weeks. They predicted then that the famine was imminent. Scientists and thinkers suggested covering the arctic ice cap with black soot.
Now the threat is opposite, it is global warming. We are very good at predicting the unpredictable future, as doctors. (BMJ 1991; 303: 1565-68) This world does not fit into our scientific logical thinking following the Laws of Deterministic Predictability. Uncertainty is the only certainty. Science changed in 1925 with Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Although we still call physics as physics, it is not the same at all. Science has to change a lot and there is NO science of human being. The best support for this comes from that beautiful book by Edward Wilson- Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge- where he says:
“Without instruments humans are trapped in a cognitive prison; they are like intelligent fish wondering about the world outside, they invent ingenious speculations and myths about the origin of the containing waters, of the sun, the stars above and the meaning of their (own) existence. But they are wrong, always wrong because the world is too remote from ordinary experience to be merely imagined.”
Another great scientist, former Director of the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Hans Peter Durr, says it much more succinctly thus: “With instruments also mankind is in cognitive prison. Using science we now have sophisticated ignorance; but we are not anywhere close to the truth. The word world has a Germanic root “wer-ald” which means a world seen by human beings. That is not the reality.”
So much for the new future threat of global warming. This planet is such a small speck in the universe that the environment around will have its own controlling mechanisms. How do we otherwise explain the global cooling threat that our scientists posed a couple of decades ago to be turned upside down to the global warming threat so soon? It is worthwhile checking if this has any business interest at all driving it? We get prizes and Nobel very easily if we get on to the global warming bandwagon, sometimes even with wrong data!
A house holder driving a battery driven Prius to the supermarket will be undoing all the good that she has done to reduce global warming by buying beef! Cows mainly and sheep and other cud chewing animals-so called ruminants- are the worst polluters of this world and they contribute much more than all the carbon emitting industries and the motor vehicles on the road. The exhalation, the farts, and the flatulence and belching of these animals along with their excreta contain so much methane that can warm this planet much more. Measure per measure the cow’s fart can be twenty five times more potent in warming the planet compared to carbon emissions! We could ask all the people to eat only Kangaroo meat in place of ruminants’ meat as the former does not emit any methane, thanks to its peculiar digestive physiology. Wonderful world indeed! We have also ignored the evaporating water vapour from the seas warming the globe!
Even our therapeutic efforts seem to be based on similar sophisticated ignorance with all our instruments. I am reminded of what Goethe wrote in Faust, centuries ago:
“I have, alas! Philosophy,
Medicine, Jurisprudence too,
And to my cost Theology,
With ardent labour, studied through.
And here I stand, with all my lore,
Poor fool, no wiser than before.”

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
Winston Churchill.

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