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Is What We See with our Eyes an Exact Duplicate of What’s Out There?

6 Feb

Optic_nerve_parts

By Mike McGee

We don’t inquire nearly enough what it means that the capacity for science itself exists in conjunction with our bodily makeup…. Our bodies are our primary instruments.” Michelle Kathryn McGee, October 24, 2017.

This very accurate assertion – that our most detailed and accurate science is capacitated through the body – is broad and wide-ranging. Due to a recent experience I’m going to ask questions about how the rest of our body affects what we see with our eyes. Since I am not a scientist, these questions, often beginning with known scientific fact, are an exercise in imagination, for your entertainment. The ultimate question, though: does what we see with our eyes represent what’s out there, or is what we see a modified version of what’s out there?

Continue reading

Russia is Our Natural Ally: Time to “get over” our fear of the “Soviet Union.”

30 Jun

By Mike McGee, June 30, 2017. No way is Russia a serious threat to the United States. It’s absolutely astonishing how economically feeble Russia has become over the last twenty years. They need us a LOT more than we need them. Our continuing sanctions are our way of bullying a smaller kid on the playground. They need to stop. We need to start some positive conversations about Russia.

GDP is a measure of the economic strength of a nation. In 2016, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Russia was about 1.28 trillion U.S. dollars. That’s just a slightly greater GDP than that of Mexico. The population count for each is about the same.

Most Americans, and maybe most journalists also, still tend to think of Russia as the Soviet Union, a towering monolith that can swallow up the US. Time Magazine gave in to this “fear of the Beast” thinking this May in the cover picture shown above. They want us to fear and feel horror about the Russian Beast, even now in 2017. Should we feel the same about Mexico? No, mostly we pity Mexico and its government. Continue reading

Global Warming: Darwinian Evolution in Humans?

12 May

By Mike McGee

Most scientists have a difficult time looking at the possibility of the Darwinian evolution of the physical form and structure of human beings in responses to challenges from the environment. We can easily see how a plant or a lower animal can alter its structure and very being, or become extinct either locally or widespread, under evolutionary pressures exerted over only a very few years.

Global warming is almost certainly a product of the increase in the population of the earth from 2 billion to 7.5 billion souls in the span of less than a century. It is mathematically definite that the increase in body heat and cooking fires and auto engine heat alone will raise the natural planetary temperature to some degree. Add on factories and HVAC and land denuded for agriculture or meat, and other things needed to sustain a larger population, and there is even more natural and inevitable pressure increasing the planetary temperature. Continue reading

Obamacare’s Strange Twist

22 Nov

obamacare-what-is-obamacare_LI

By Mike McGee

The current major glitch in Obamacare, the new and comprehensive health insurance program which is expected to cover everyone with basic health insurance protections, is a great tragedy.

After the end of the government shutdown, President Obama was confronted with the basic flaw in the universal health care program. Millions of citizens were having their health insurance policies cancelled because those policies did not comply with the new law. Replacement policies would cost more or were unavailable.

Ever since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, Obama has repeatedly told people that, if they liked their health plans, they could keep them. Obama made such assurances as recently as this spring. Continue reading

Bush 43’s Biggest Mistake

18 Nov

Historical_Mariginal_Tax_Rates

By Mike McGee

The biggest mistake made by President George W. Bush was that he did not insist that the US congress impose a temporary war tax or surtax as a way of financing the incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan and the international War on Terror (including Homeland Security) after September 11, 2001.

A cursory review of history shows that at least from the time of the US Civil War in 1861, a temporary war tax or surtax was imposed by the president or by congress to pay for each American war. This includes the relatively insignificant Spanish-American War, when tariffs and other taxes were raised substantially, and temporarily, to pay for that little conflict. Continue reading

DNA and the Cycle of Life, Part Three

21 May

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

In Part One of this series we followed the life-cycle of a simple insect, the Luna Moth, through one complete cycle, paying attention to the details of the process. We demonstrated the role of DNA and the genome in the replication of each stage in the life of the moth. In Part Two we demonstrated scientifically that death is not present in Luna Moths who complete their life-cycle and generate another life-cycle. Unending life is the gift of nature to this moth and all the other crawling creatures.

The complexity of the organization of each life-cycle of a moth or any other creature, including man, is staggering, and is managed almost exclusively by the living DNA which is passed forward to the next generation.  This concluding Part Three will make a lot more sense if you take the time to read Parts One and Two before going further.

We quoted from accepted science at the beginning of this series: “Life is specified by genomes. Every organism, including humans, has a genome that contains all of the biological information needed to build and maintain a living example of that organism. The biological information contained in a genome is encoded in its deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/About/primer/genetics_genome.html (2004).

I have been leading you to an acceptable scientific conclusion which is difficult to comprehend. Unending life is not only a demonstrated characteristic of insects; it is also a scientifically demonstrated characteristic of human beings, including you and me. The life-cycle of a human being is really not very different from that of the moth. Sexual reproduction through the transfer of living DNA from one generation to another is the same. Unending life is the gift of nature to man as well as to moth.

The life-force passed on from one human being to another through sexual reproduction thus is scientifically demonstrated to come down to a single point. One microscopic strand of living DNA in a single sperm cell meets with another single microscopic strand of living DNA residing in the nucleus of one human egg cell.

“Whenever the state of a biological system is not determined solely by present conditions but depends on its past history, we can say that the system has memory.” Casadesús, J. and D’Ari, R. (2002). Bioessays, 24: 512–518.

It’s clear that the information inside these microscopic strands of DNA is from the past, since the actual “being” does not exist at the time of conception except as a single cell penetrating another single cell. The past memory stored in each microscopic strand represents a memory capacity billions of times greater than the human brain. This memory may include things other than building instructions, such as somatic and unconscious memories from the long unbroken line of the vital life-force from which your life and my life has emerged.

Each of these single microscopic strands of DNA, when joined, has in its memory all that is necessary to produce and maintain, without further direction, a complete and complex zygote, fetus and child; and an adult human being composed of about 50 trillion individual cells. Each of these cells is structurally and geometrically ordered in exactly the right manner for the human being to function much the same way as each other of the seven billion people on the planet.

With regard to the enormity of this task of memory and management, I can only give a comical example. Give an aeronautical engineer all the instruction books necessary to produce a Boeing 747 Dreamliner. Let him read them, take them away, and then put him in an empty aircraft construction building. Ask him to build from memory an entire working Boeing 747 aircraft, there inside the building, with no help from the outside, except he can ask for rough unprocessed raw materials to be brought in.

Let’s exaggerate and say there are ten million mechanical parts in a 747. Well, there are about 50 trillion cells in an adult human body, and they all have to coordinate together every microsecond of every day. This is the memory capacity of one microscopic strand of DNA.

I find it useful to describe this process of the unending continuation of life as “immortality,” even though it does have a theoretical beginning and end, which is contrary to the meaning of the word. We don’t know when or where this life-force began, and we can’t possibly know when or where the life-force will end. All we have is observation of the present behavior of the life-force and historical examples from the recent few thousand years.

The place where the unending continuation of life occurs in humans is in the passage of living sperm across an open space during reproduction, to join together with the living egg. The traverse across the open space is the singular similarity applicable to insects and humans and all creatures who reproduce sexually.

During sexual intercourse human sperm is left out in the open at the end of the vagina, at the head of the cervix of the female. The sperm must then find their way, unaided and alone, over a lengthy and dark open area, through the narrow cervix of the female and far into her uterus. Each of these individual sperm is a living being, containing all the DNA which defines a human being. Each has also been provided with DNA memory to know which direction to travel after being unceremoniously deposited in an unknown squishy dark place in a splat. How incredible is that?

Each sperm, independently of all the other 200 million or more sperm released each time, has a mind of its own sufficient to sort out the completely dark and unfamiliar space (the interior of the vagina); and on the spot develops a geometry which gets it going along the right path to where it needs to be. In addition each sperm has an active means of locomotion, a tail, which is entirely up to the task of moving the sperm in the exact direction it knows to go. Do we need any further scientific proof of life in this transfer across an open space?

The Luna Moth sperm doesn’t have to be so versatile. It’s deposited in one spot and sits there until the eggs come in contact with it. All it has to do is recognize the eggs and jump onto them. But then the human being has always been much more complex than an insect: even though the insect itself is staggeringly complex.

Don’t forget that science has shown that each of the trillions of cells of the human body has exactly the same strand of DNA in its nucleus. When I say exactly the same, I mean that each strand of DNA in every cell of an individual human body is identical in every way. Each strand carries the same memories as each other, and has its parts arranged identically. So for our purposes, there is only one configuration of DNA which can be carried by these sperm. The genome in each of these lively and eager travelers is the same. And it is full of life.

The goal of each sperm is to swim across the open space inside the female body until it reaches the egg. There is no question that the egg is a living part of the female at the time one sperm penetrates and causes that egg to begin to divide and become another human being. This is the meaning of the statement that the human being remains alive for generation after generation without the interruption of death.

This is also the meaning of the statement that those seeking life after death have been looking for life in all the wrong places. Life continues and persists in a human being at the life-cycle stage of reproduction, not at the stage of death.

People die before producing offspring and of old age. All but one of the millions of sperm dies without becoming a part of the life-cycle. All of this death is irrelevant in the human life-cycle. Life is in the genome, and the living genome carries on, generation after generation. This is scientific fact.

DNA is living human tissue. Each strand of DNA by definition has within itself all the elements of human life. When sexual reproduction occurs, a single strand of living human tissue joins with a single strand of living human tissue from another human being. There is never a time during human sexual reproduction when the living tissues of the parent contributions to the new human being cease to be living tissue. There is no new life, only a continuation of the existing living tissue in a slightly different format.

These living attributes may include either dominant or recessive traits, and when the attributes are stitched together at conception there is a new and different living strand of DNA. Yet this new strand can contain only what is present in one of the two halves, with dominant and recessive traits jockeying for position. Through the process of recombination, progeny derive a combination of these two specific sets of genes, which is yet really not so different from the parental genes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/About/primer/genetics_genome.html (2004).

The new combination is without question a continuation of the living tissue of the two donors. Certain traits within the genome may have a half-life, or be entirely eliminated during the joining of the two halves of the genome. Yet the living human tissue of the strand of DNA remains alive and fully functioning throughout all these changes. If the DNA strand was not alive, it could not retain the memory of how to build the new person.

This scientifically self-evident continuation of life is passed from one human generation to the next through the narrow portal of sexual reproduction. The next question is: what is the nature of the life which is forwarded on through hundreds of such portals for several thousand years?

DNA carries the past history of each human organism in its lineage and brings that history through the portal into the present activity of every person. Thus the current “state,” or circumstance of being, of each and every human is determined by its past history, carried by DNA, along with a few recombination changes. Thus the “system” known as a human being has a “memory” which is encoded in the DNA of each cell of the body. It may be said that everything we are is a memory.

For the DNA, which carries the memories of the life of the past physical being into the present, it may be said that the human urge toward reproduction is not voluntary. Nor is the human urge to nurture their young until old enough to reproduce. These urges are prescribed by the DNA in much the same way as the passage of the sperm across the open space is prescribed by the DNA.

In the end there is no death for those who successfully navigate the entirety of the human life-cycle. The DNA, which contains all that you are, perpetuates life unending for millennia. You are likely three thousand years old or more, and are definitely a lot more complicated than a Luna Moth.

DNA and the Cycle of Life, Part Two

18 May

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

In Part One of this series we followed the life-cycle of a simple insect, the Luna Moth, through one complete cycle, paying attention to the details of the process. We demonstrated the role of DNA and the genome in the replication of each stage in the life of the moth. This Part Two will make a lot more sense if you take the time to read Part One before going further.

Where in the life-cycle of the Luna Moth is death? It’s going to be hard to wrap your head around the answer to this question. The common answer is that the adult moth dies. The scientific explanation defies the normal logic of life and death, beginning and end. Here we’re going to analyze the meaning of the simple story of the moth; then move on to more complex matters you need to know about.

Each cell of the moth contains DNA in its nucleus. For each moth the DNA, the genome, is identical in each cell of that particular moth. This genome contains a full set of chromosomes, which are all the building instructions and inheritable traits of an organism. This genome is alive and a part of the tissue of the moth. Indeed, it carries in its living tissue the very definition of the moth, and the full living memory of how to conduct each of the stages in the life-cycle of the moth. (Reference: My earlier blog “DNA and Memory.”)

If the double helix DNA strand ceases to live for even a moment it will fall silent, and will not retain the memory of how to build any part of the moth’s structure. So when you squeeze a caterpillar until the green goop splatters, or squash moth eggs under your foot, the DNA in the structure is actually dead, and cannot any longer participate in the life-cycle.

Yet the life-cycle of the Luna Moth goes on, creature after creature and year after year. Most of us look at life and death as the beginning and the end. The egg hatches, and after several stages produces an adult moth, which dies. Yet when we scientifically examine in detail the various stages of the moth’s life, we can come to only one conclusion. There is a part of the moth that does not ever die: its living genome.

When philosophers look at life after death they tend to exclusively look at the death of the adult organism, and opine whether there is any physical or spiritual continuity after the death of the adult. They’ve been looking for life in all the wrong places.

A scientist must consider visible and provable facts as the standard for determining the correctness of observations of any physical process. Up to now scientists have been in denial about the continuity of life, ignoring what is right under their noses. The stages in the life of the Luna Moth are factual, clear, and observable, and no scientist can disagree that these stages are exactly as I have described them. Even better, these stages are simple in the moth, and therefore easy to analyze if you are looking at them without any preconceived notions.

The earlier posed question was: where in the life-cycle of the Luna Moth is death? The proper scientific answer is: nowhere. The life-cycle of this moth is continuous, and life never ends as we go from generation to generation. Death is only a by-product; irrelevant, one might say, from the point of view of the genome. The genome never dies.

Of course some moths do not mate before they die, and caterpillars and eggs and pupae are squashed and otherwise die. For all these who do not complete the life-cycle, death is the end and they have no further existence. There are thus many who die without continuity; yet many more do complete the life-cycle and carry on the unending cycle of life for generations to come.

So we see the eggs, the larvae, the pupae, and finally the adult moth. So the adult moth engages in “adult behavior” of a sexual nature. During mating the living DNA in the sperm from the male is ejected from its phallus across an open space into the body of the female, where it enters her genital chamber. For the moth the open space may be only a millimeter or so, yet the sperm, laden with living DNA, is definitely outside the physical structure of either moth.

Thus the only time in the life cycle of the moth when the living DNA crosses an open space outside the body is during mating. The sperm then sits in this open space, inside the female genital chamber, until the eggs, containing the living DNA of the female, are laid by the female.

“The eggs do not become fertile at the time of copulation. The eggs get fertilized as they pass through a mix of male sperm, seminal fluids and ‘glue’, stored in the female’s body. This immersion/fertilization takes place as the female expels/deposits the eggs.” http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/Actiaslunarearing.htm .  (This site contains a wealth of detailed information about the Luna Moth.)

Each sperm is a single cell, yet it is alive in every scientific sense of the word. The DNA genome it carries contains memory or information identical to that of every other genome in the body of the male moth. Each egg is a single cell which is equally alive. It contains within itself memory or information identical to that of every other genome in the body of the female moth.

Thus it is clear that the life of a Luna Moth is unending (unless interrupted by outside factors such as a dear reader squeezing a caterpillar until green goop flies everywhere). The place where the unending continuation of life occurs is in the passage of living sperm across an open space during reproduction, to join together with the living eggs.

It may even be said that the death of the adult moth following mating is irrelevant to the carrying on of the unending (not quite eternal yet close) life of the insect species known as the Luna Moth, actias luna. The cycle of life is complete and ongoing, without the intrusion of death, when one examines the reproductive act rather than focusing on the fate of the adult moth.

This showy yet commonplace six-legged insect has been gifted by nature with unending life. One could almost call it immortality, yet such an appellation would be an exaggeration. It is most likely that the life which is present in each phase of every Luna Moth is hundreds or thousands of years old, and will continue unabated through another hundreds or thousands of years into the future. It’s rather remarkable that Nature would give such an unlikely creature such a long unending life-span. Yet there you have it.

There is no death for these insects, the ones who make it through their entire life-cycle. The living DNA which is passed on during reproduction contains all the memories and instructions to guide the insect through its next rather identical series of changes from egg to adult moth. The cycle of life for these creatures is continuous and unending, according to accurate scientific observation.

There are hundreds of thousands of different insects and other crawling and buzzing creatures whose life-cycle is marked by sexual reproduction and unending life. The defining moment for each is the movement of a living DNA genome across an open space to meet with another living DNA genome. There is always an open space to be traversed. Life persists and continues unabated across the open spaces.

There is no death for any of these lowly creatures, except when they get stepped on or lose their habitat or are unable to breed.

In the next essay we will take you to places you probably didn’t think you could go. Stay tuned!

DNA and the Cycle of Life, Part One

15 May

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

“Life is specified by genomes. Every organism, including humans, has a genome that contains all of the biological information needed to build and maintain a living example of that organism. The biological information contained in a genome is encoded in its deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/About/primer/genetics_genome.html (2004).

I intend to demonstrate, using only scientifically valid information, that we remain continuously alive over many generations, even hundreds or thousands of years. Mystics and theologians have throughout history claimed to know the truth about Man as a being who lives beyond the boundaries of our lifetimes.  They argue based on philosophy and faith, and make no claims of scientific validity.

Give me a chance to show you the science. You’ll be surprised and convinced as this accepted mainstream scientific analysis unfolds. The answer is not what you think.

Since this is a complicated subject, let me start off with a little birds-and-the-bees story. It will seem long because there are a lot of pictures, yet there’s not too much reading to do. If you need a better understanding of DNA, please look at my older blog entries entitled “DNA and Memory.” If you want the complex science of DNA, look at the link highlighted above.

When I was young, among other things I collected insects, especially butterflies and moths. My favorite insect was the Luna Moth. The story of the Luna Moth will demonstrate how DNA is the active player in the passage of generations. It has been well established by science that the instructions for the development of each stage of life for each organic being are encoded in the memory of DNA. The double-helix strand of living tissue is contained inside each cell of the Luna Moth and every other being, including humans. We need to start with a clearly explainable insect model before moving on to the human experience, which is more complex.

I’m going to describe the complete life-cycle of the Luna Moth, starting with the showiest part of the process. The adult Luna Moth is large and strikingly beautiful, with lime-green yellow-trimmed wings spanning up to four and a half inches (11.4 cm) across, with long trailing green hindwings. Here’s a picture of the beautiful adult moth. You can see why I liked them and still like them.

WP1.luna-moth

So we see the adult moth. Now let’s go through to the next stage in the life-cycle of this elegant creature. Stay with me. Each of these wonderful, yet common, Luna Moths is around only for a very short time. The adults cannot eat, since they have no mouths or other digestive structures. They emerge as adults solely to mate. For this purpose they have only about one week. They tend to hide in the day and move about at night. There is something eerie and ghostlike about their movements. They flit from the gloom into the light, and back into the gloom once more; not unlike humans in their travails.

The male shown above has feathery antennae which sniff out pheromones from female moths. The two come together and mate, as is shown in the X-rated picture below. During mating the living DNA in the sperm from the male is ejected from its phallus into the body of the female.

WP2.Luna Moth Mating

As we shall see, the only time in the life cycle of the moth – or a human being for that matter – when the living DNA crosses an open space outside the body is during mating. For the moth the open space may be only a millimeter or so, yet the sperm in its journey is definitely outside the physical structure of either moth. The sperm quickly enters the genital chamber of the female moth and embeds its living DNA in the living egg sac of the female, which contains her own contribution of DNA for the next generation.

Once they mate, the male moth has no further raison d’etre. He flies off like a leaf falling from a tree in autumn and is never heard from again. The female moth flies around until she finds the right spot and lays her eggs. Then she shrivels within a few days like a tulip in a vase. Due to the lack of a mouth to eat, it may be said with scientific certainty that the beautiful creature that flies through the air is only a transitional stage, no matter how we may love it.

Thus all that remains after the transition of the living DNA across the open space between the two moths are the extremely small eggs shown below. Each is self-contained and a little larger than the head of a pin. Each of these self-contained living eggs contains the entire living DNA from the two mating adult moths. No further instructions are needed to continue the life-cycle of the Luna Moth. Life continues, full and complete, uninterrupted.

WP3.Luna Moth Eggs

The eggs hatch without further ado in about ten days. A wormy little caterpillar crawls out of the egg case and leaves the shell behind:

WP4.HatchingEgg

Its goal is to find food. Unlike the adult moth, the caterpillar has a voracious appetite. Since the eggs are laid by the female only on the leaves of suitable food plants, the little caterpillar can go right to work on the edge of the nearest leaf. The only instructions it needs in order to do its job are completely and unerringly remembered by its DNA. Over a period of about 25 days it eats and grows and sheds its skin five times (not four times or six times), until it becomes a rather majestic mature caterpillar:

WP5.Caterpillar

At some point, the mature caterpillar finds itself overcome by a desire to leave its body and become an entirely different being. Internal changes are already underway to facilitate this transformation. The instructions in the memory of its DNA are very precise as to both the timing and the behavior, and always generate the same outcome.

The caterpillar begins to spin a web of silk to enclose itself. The outward appearance of the caterpillar is sloughed off as if it never existed. What is left is a hard brown pupa, which once again contains all the DNA memory of the caterpillar, albeit in an altered physical form:

WP6.Luna Moth Pupa

After about two weeks a summer pupa, following its own inner instructions from its DNA, breaks open and an adult Luna Moth emerges, full and whole and without blemish, ready to spread its wings and fly away. The brown case of the pupa is discarded. The life-cycle for this one individual insect is now complete:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s easy to see this transition as a commonplace event, since it’s an everyday activity of moths, and there’s no drama in the ordinary. Yet the very precision of both the timing and the physical structures involved in the changes are nothing short of extraordinary.

And these precise changes in the cycle of life are repeated perhaps millions of times over each year by individual moths. And for hundreds or thousands of years these precise and exact changes have been repeated, perhaps modified slightly over time by Darwinian evolution.

Here’s the question: Where in this cycle is death? Is there ever a time when there is absolutely no life present? The living DNA is passed from generation to generation with sufficient vitality to produce exactly the same life-stages in each cycle of the existence of the Luna Moth.

In the next essay we will explore these far from commonplace questions.

Global Warming, Part Two

29 Apr

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

Given the current population, there is really no way to go back to a simpler lifestyle or a local economy. The only way to feed the world we have now is to cultivate giant corporate farms and food processing facilities. The only way for the population to stay on the move is for giant factories to build more cars, trucks, and other vehicles with internal combustion engines.

To provide the normal facilities of life for the current global population, oil and gas and steel and aluminum and copper and bananas and other daily commodities require large facilities. Building factories and warehouses and generation plants and highways and airplanes must be done on a massive scale.

The only way to wrap and package things with minimum weight to distribute to the massive population around the world and from stores to consumers is to use plastic containers, wraps and bags. Giant oil ships and container ships can’t be built or managed locally. And so on.

It’s rather much the same for social issues. With more people crowded together there will be more crime and more need for government which reaches to the local levels. Reducing crime to the levels of the 1920’s and 1930’s is pure fantasy, when you consider that the world population was only two billion back then and people didn’t have to bump into each other nearly as much as they do now.

I know there are a lot of people out there who sincerely and honestly want to eliminate mega-factories and overbuilding and billionaires, and deeply desire to make the world a simpler and greener place. This is a dream which is extremely conservative in nature, and it’s natural for people to want to go back to the way things used to be before we were inundated with the massive structures of modern society which are needed to provide for the whole of the seven billion inhabitants of earth.

The “New Earth” we live in is simply unable to provide for those dreams of simplicity. We are now a crowded planet, and we must have structures designed to provide for the crowd. Turning away from the reality of the crowd is a retreat from reality. It is an attempt, like that of the Amish communities, to claim a world which no longer exists, except in extremely restricted areas which must be maintained with an almost religious fervor against the outside crowd.

The real way forward is to join the crowd which makes up the “New Earth.” Accept the inevitable and seek ways of living with that which we cannot change. It’s likely there are a lot of solutions out there which are just waiting for discovery, ways to live with the new conditions which actually exist on our planet.

Let me advance one speculative idea, as a way of demonstrating the possibility of solutions which are actually in line with the problems. I don’t claim to have answers, yet I am good at speculating.

Most climate scientists say that we could have a world-wide rise in sea level of as much as three feet (1m) over the next fifty years. This means that any areas where there are cities or other houses or buildings which will be underwater in the event of a three-foot rise in sea level must be identified right now.

Officials must declare a complete moratorium on new buildings or settlements in the affected areas. There is no need to worry too much about existing structures, since in fifty years most of them will be near the end of their life cycles. Then new building and settlements could be encouraged on nearby areas which are on land located above the fifty-year estimated three-foot new high water mark. These would be extensions of the current cities, only on higher ground.

For example, the recent activities of Typhoon Ondoy in Manila and of Hurricane Sandy in New York City have shown that these cities among others are vulnerable to even small increases in the mean water level brought about by global warming. So in New York I speculate about stopping new construction in the five boroughs. Extend New York City by way of new construction on the higher ground on the other side of the Hudson River. People could commute for the next fifty years from the old city to the new city and back by means of overhead trams into Manhattan and the other present boroughs.

Actually, I rather like the idea of using overhead trams to replace the subway system in New York City, or any other city. It was not until Hurricane Sandy that we began to see the huge vulnerability of the underground systems of the Big Apple. As sea levels rise, the vulnerability will only increase.

Going airborne with trams suspended from tall towers may sound science fiction right now, yet it could be best way to get around in any city by the sea anywhere on the “New Earth,” or even on any city anywhere. Subways are really twentieth-century technology, much too difficult to dig and always needing huge air exchange systems to make it possible for the massive number of riders to be able to breathe.

Meanwhile, you probably have ideas of your own which are better than mine, so let your imagination run free and look for ways for all of us to live together in peace on the “New Earth.”

Both my daughter Michelle Kathryn McGee, www.healinggeneration.com, and Bengt Skarstam‏ of Malmo, Sweden, www.reshape.se, take issue with my analysis by pointing out that correlation is not the same as evidence. To them I say that I am a commentator, not a scientist. There is a correlation between population and global warming. I’ve offered some scant evidence, yet probably not enough. The absolute need to feed, clothe and house the new five billion souls on the planet is evidence, as are the facts I’ve stated up to now. I firmly believe in all the positions I’m taking on my blog, yet I may not have all the details. I welcome any new information, and I give my thanks to my daughter and to Bengt Skarstam for weighing in with significant points.

Finally, poetic language can often convey the emotions associated with new conditions such as the absolute qualities of the emerging destiny of the “New Earth.” I offer you this quote from the 2008 historical thriller novel Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith:

“The railroad tracks opened out into a clearing – sprawled before them was a vast assembly plant, tall chimneys, interconnected warehouselike buildings suddenly appearing in the middle of a wilderness. It was as though a god had sat on the Ural Mountains, smashed his fist down on the landscape before him, sending trees flying, and demanded that this newly created space be filled with chimneys and steel presses. This was the first glimpse of their new home.”

I invited Dr. Bengt Skarstam of Malmo, Sweden, to make formal comments as a part of my discussion of the “New Earth.” He has a PhD in Solid State Physics, a long corporate career, and is now Senior Adviser and Facilitator, Reshape AB, www.reshape.se . He’s also the father of two children; is married to Ann-Marie, a mother of one child; “and is a fan of life, understanding, Formula 1, and interactions between people.”

Thank you for the very profound perspective you have articulated on global warming, Dr. Skarstam, and for your unique celebration of the earth we actually have, as opposed to the usual wishful thinking of wanting a different world than the one we now have. Here’s what he has to say:

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“I agree with your description of the consequences of a warmer globe and my point is that we need not so much focus on the ‘human element’ since I am convinced that a more pluralistic approach will guarantee a better solution to the fluctuation in the states of our globe. According to system theory we might do things worse since we have focus only on the human factor so we might solve the wrong problem….? Compare reducing pollution from cars instead of finding new ways of designing engines (fuel cells?).

“If we spent the money we are now spending on wind and solar power, on finding more efficient energy storage ‘media’ (better batteries or some new source of storage) we would be better off. Currently wind and solar power need continuous back up sources of traditional electrical generation OR a highly developed battery storage capacity, to support a continuous flow of power even when the sun is down or the wind is not blowing.

“This need for constant backup is the great weakness inherent in the now popular ‘new energy sources.’ The wind and solar supporters are engaging in short term “popular action,” and solving the wrong problem. If we as individuals took a ‘stakeholder’ and long term perspective on what we are doing, we could be very much better off!

“I ask a question to people who say that they cannot take a long term perspective: do you have children? Your children and grandchildren are a long term project which will last for the rest of your life!!!!

“The greenhouse effect is a natural good thing. It’s not a ‘side effect.’ It’s a basic expression of the vastness of the new human life on our planet. Before the greenhouse effect we were non-existing. The fluctuations were measured in the time scale of hundreds to thousands of generations, and over these time scales we had no consistent way of describing such phenomena. Since science has evolved, technology is refined and our mindsets are thereby changed.

“Changing mindsets: what would happen if every car manufacturer had to take the used car back and dismantle the car and be heavily taxed for the difference between cars produced and used cars received: do you think that a car would be designed as it is today?

“My final point is about personal responsibility: this is the most crucial concept that individuals, politicians, business leaders and parents can start applying (consider the stakeholders involved and the time span of your actions), and acting from this perspective can change the world

“My definition of personal responsibility: ‘An individual’s open, wise and ethical engagement with the world for the sustainable good of all.’ – from Hopkins and Skarstam (2012).

“I have also attached some lines from the novel CANNERY ROW by John Steinbeck, a conversation between ‘Doc’ and ‘Richard Frost’ which points to the severity of our challenges:”

“It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc. “The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

“Who wants to be good if he has to be hungry too?” said Richard Frost.

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So, in order to fully comprehend the “New Earth” we must look on the natural increase in population to seven billion souls as being a good thing for humanity. Further, we must look on the increase in greenhouse gases and global warming, whether due to mankind or to other natural phenomena, as an acceptable thing. Accept that the increase in global population is a natural phenomenon, and that this population increase is exactly the same as any other natural process.

This is part two in a four-part series.

Charles Darwin and Geological Time, Part Three

19 Feb

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

In 1905 the British Physician Lord Ernest Rutherford introduced radiometric dating as the new and “entirely scientific” method of determining geological time periods. It was as if after that year all that had been speculated upon became as real and tangible as a kitchen table; and is still accepted as real and tangible today by geologists, paleontologists, and other scientists. I will demonstrate that this new method of dating the rocks of the earth is just as mythological as what came before.

Below is a chart which summarizes the geological time periods (dates are in millions of years) “confirmed” by radiometric dating to be true and accurate, and tangible:

irks_geologic_time_table

Radiometric dating corroborated almost exactly the nineteenth century visual dating process; and over time added the Proterozoic, Archean and Hadean periods shown in the above chart. The firm dates of the Hadean period were mainly developed indirectly by using radiometric dating on moon rocks and meteorite fragments, then modeling these results as if the dates were earth dates. Nevertheless, the present scientific canon is that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, including the modeled dates for the Hadean period.

One cannot help but ask how all these measurements flowed so exactly into the unimpeachable form of a universally accepted yardstick for describing the age of the earth. My answer is that the supposed science was a means of generating a new creation myth for the earth, to replace the creation myths developed by earlier more primitive societies and their primitive storytelling. So now, instead of primitive storytelling, we have modern storytelling which purports to be based on hard data. This hard data, though, is so flimsy and easy to pull apart that it is evident that what seems to be impersonal science is in fact a myth no different than that of primitive societies.

This time-line dating of periods of earth history was made into a more compelling myth by the discovery of dinosaur bones and the imprints of such fossil creatures as Trilobites. There has always been a lot of public drama associated with the reconstruction of the life-like looks of dinosaurs based on the often incomplete sets of bones unearthed. Each dinosaur was given a personality and assigned a historical period from the developmental time-line of the earth by the “scientific” paleontologists of the time of discovery.

Since dinosaurs were so large and so totally different from what we knew of life on the earth in the nineteenth century, the scientists had to assume that these dinosaurs and other fossil life-forms existed long before our present day, even though there was no physical evidence one way or the other about how old the fossilized bone fragments were. Therefore these creatures were assigned to the Mesozoic period (see the chart above). Thus, after grave scientific consultations, it suddenly became a certainty that dinosaurs had walked the earth from about 200 million years ago to about 66 million years ago.

These dinosaurs were assumed to have taken a long evolutionary time to develop their particular features. It was further assumed that once they evolved into a particular form they stayed in the same form for millions or even tens of millions of years; they were so massive they must have walked the earth unchanging for a very long time, and the scientists of the nineteenth century, as well as the scientists of today, assumed an extensive period for the domination of the whole earth by these herculean dinosaurs. My goodness, that’s a lot of assumptions!

The truth is that worldwide the total number of individual specimens of dinosaur remains which have been unearthed until today are probably only in the tens of thousands, including all the specimens where only a few teeth were found. In the nineteenth century there were probably only a few hundred specimens worldwide, except for one trove in Colorado where a thousand or more specimens were found. This hardly amounts to evidence that huge stomping creatures roamed the whole earth for more than 150 million years.

What is more likely, and which is no more or less provable today than it was in the year 1900, is that at some time in the past, maybe a million or more, or less, years ago, long enough for the fossilizing process to have time to work, a few animals grew to an extremely large size, then died off. Charles Darwin himself describes evolutionary change as taking place over short time periods of tens or hundreds of years. Human evolution has only come to a head over the last 14,000 years or so. It is not untrue to suggest that dinosaurs could have come and gone over a period of only a few thousand years, and that dinosaurs thrived only in limited numbers before they evolved to become too unwieldy for the earth to support them.

In their imaginative speculations these nineteenth century scientists using flawed methods and large doses of creative imagination created dinosaur myths which are not capable of proof or even verification in any form whatsoever, then or now. They were really no different than the scientists five hundred years before them, or the priests of any time. We were required to have “faith” in their scientific pronouncements, and “believe” the conclusions they arrived at, without any tangible evidence whatsoever.

Now let’s return to the year 1905. In that year radiometric dating was invented by Lord Ernest Rutherford as a method by which one might determine the age of the earth. The principle by which it operates is that there is an assumption that a radioactive element decays according to a specific half-life over time. Therefore if you have a rock sample which includes a decayed element, then you can calculate backward over millions or billions of years of half-lives to find when the original radioactive substance must have been present in the rock.

In the century since then the techniques have been greatly improved and expanded. Dating can now be performed on samples as small as a nanogram, using a mass spectrometer. The mass spectrometer began to be used in radiometric dating in the 1950s. The mass spectrometer measures the mass and level of ionization of a rock sample, to determine the rate of impacts and the relative concentrations of different atoms in the beams.

The uranium-lead radiometric dating scheme has been refined to the point that the error margin in dates of rocks can be as low as less than two million years in two-and-a-half billion years. One of its great advantages is that any sample provides two clocks, one based on uranium-235’s decay to lead-207 with a half-life of about 700 million years, and one based on uranium-238’s decay to lead-206 with a half-life of about 4.5 billion years, providing a built-in crosscheck that allows accurate determination of the age of the sample even if some of the lead has been lost.

One problem is that zircon is often used as the mineral to be radiometrically dated in the uranium-lead method. The assumption is that a zircon crystal originally crystallized from a flow of magma billions of years ago, and then remained in a closed system (no loss or gain of uranium or lead) from the time of crystallization to the present. This is an awfully big assumption that a piece of rock would stay in the same place, undisturbed, for four billion years, or even for just ten million years.

Further, the assumption that rocks found on the surface of the earth have stayed in the same place, unchanged for four billion years, creates other absurdities. In order to actually know the age of the earth, we have to know what happed over time all the way to the center of the earth. The contents of the levels of the earth, going down about 12,500 miles to the center, are, after all, a part of the created earth. Examining rocks on the surface, or mantle, of the earth, which according to experts in geological time have stayed in the same place for four billion years, can tell us nothing whatsoever about what has happened all the way to the center of the earth. The creation of the earth includes the creation of the interior, all the way to the center. What do we know about the center of the earth? Nothing much.

Further, a survey of all of the geological sciences leads to the conclusion that the surface of the earth has risen and fallen over time, and that water and wind and earthquakes and eruptions have changed the face of the earth over time. So how is it that these geological time specialists can get away with saying that whatever rock they are measuring was in exactly the same location, totally undisturbed, for a period of, say, two billion years.

In fact, it is nothing more than a modern-day myth that radiometric dating can provide a date of any kind from the distant past.

The truth is that radiometric dating is an entirely mathematical and theoretical method for creating a compelling yet flawed narrative of our past: just another creation myth. For a very excellent description of the theories and mathematical computations necessary to arrive at a radiometric date, see http://www.tulane.edu/~sanelson/eens211/radiometric_dating.htm . Keep in mind though, that a mathematical formula is not the same as an observation of a phenomena based on evidence.

Actually, religious stories of creation are more interesting and come from a greater place of feeling, plus they don’t pretend to be anything more than a myth. Using the impersonal scientific stories of the creation of the earth, which are as carefully calculated as any equilateral triangle, is an attempt by the new priesthood of science to make a personal impact on people. This is taking science too far. It is setting up a dogma which we are required to believe, and which is taught in every school as religiously as Catholic dogma used to be taught. It is time to dismantle the mass delusion represented by the “scientific” creation myth; just as it was necessary for Charles Darwin to dismantle the creationist myth which prevailed up until his time.

To summarize, radiometric dating is no more valid than the visual observations of the nineteenth century “scientists.” It relies almost entirely on two absurd premises. First, that a piece of rock will stay intact and in the same place over millions or billions of years of time, even though the surface and deep structure of the earth are always changing. Second, the process assumes that the half-life decay of a radioactive substance is always the same over millions or billions of years of time, and the presence of a decay product demonstrates the earlier presence of the original radioactive product.

There is actually no way whatsoever to confirm that radioactive decay is consistent over millions or billions of years. All anyone can ever verify experimentally is that over the time period of an actual experiment, which may be seconds, minutes, or days at most, the radioactive particle decayed by a certain incredibly minute amount. After the experiment, a half-life of half a billion years or so is mathematically calculated by extrapolating from the almost infinitesimal change that took place during the time period of the experiment. No one can ever say for sure that the decay of radioactive particles over millions of years conforms to the mathematical modeling.

For example, Dr. Murray Gell-Mann, 1969 Nobel Laureate in Physics, makes it clear that the laws of physics are not deterministic, but are only probabilities over time. The moment in time of radioactive disintegration in a half-life computation is only probabilistic. There is no way to predict the exact moment of disintegration, only a curve of probabilities. Additionally, the direction of decay is completely unpredictable. “If so much is unknowable in advance about one atomic nucleus, imagine how much is fundamentally unpredictable about the entire universe….” he says.

No less an authority than the Geological Society of America (see their geological time-line at http://www.geosociety.org/science/timescale/ ) accepts right now as established science almost exactly the same time periods which were established in 1841 based on trivial observations of the surface rocks of England. Almost every university in the world teaches these geological time scales as established fact. The radiometric dating method has in fact increased and expanded the same mythical narratives as the visual observations of the nineteenth century.

People will perform amazing feats of mental gymnastics to get what they want. And learned persons then and now will give the people what they want: a dollop of hard science packaged with an unsupported yet unchallenged view of the past, which through inflation has now morphed into seeing billions of years into history. We’re now told, and we want to believe, that the planet Earth is 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years old.

This current age estimate is based on evidence from radiometric age dating as well as mathematical extrapolations from examining moon rocks and meteorites. The very precision of the numbers is presented as proof of their veracity. The same precision provides evidence of an artificial construct. After all, it’s really hard to say how much time it takes to make a good cup of coffee or tea; and the time may vary from day to day. Deterministic precision is highly suspect.

Radiometric dating is the geological New Testament, leaping into being fully formed at the beginning of the twentieth century. Scientists are still using this original method, with only a few minor adjustments, even to the present day. http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/geotime/radiometric.html . With unseemly haste we have all embraced this New Testament as the infallible, unchallengeable source of all stories about the past. We have the correct canonical means to measure past time, so there is no need to look further for a methodology. Any further looking could in fact potentially create the awkward situation of discrediting the current methods of geological time measurement. So we stick with what we know, blinders fully in place.

The twentieth century method of radiometric dating actually didn’t change the imaginative speculations of the nineteenth century. As if by magic, radiometric dating offered a new and utterly infallible way of projecting the imagination backward in time.

This so-called scientific method of dating the age of the earth was and is just as imaginary as the geological timelines developed in the nineteenth century. The “scientifically determined” age of the earth in the twentieth century is almost exactly the same as the speculatively determined age of the earth in the nineteenth century. In a like manner the Biblical New Testament did not wipe away one word of the Old Testament.

Radiometric dating accomplished its purpose: to get all of us to believe there is a physical basis for the creation narratives concerning the age of the earth and the personalities of the great dinosaurs. People want to believe we can see millions, billions of years into the past. They did then, and they still do now. Except now people are convinced that there is a physical basis for their belief.

Even after what I’ve already said, there is still a need to drill down further if I am to convince anyone that geological time is a “creation myth.” Please forgive me if this seems repetitive.

The science of radiometric dating tells us that radioactive materials decay according to a specific timetable. This half-life of such materials means that in x number of years, only half of the radiation will remain in a specified material. In another identical x number of years, only half of the remaining radiation will remain, and so on. (This material is taken from the US Geological Service site cited above.) Using the half-life scale, the parent isotope Uranium-238 will degrade into the daughter isotope Lead-206 in 4.5 billion years. The formula for computing the age of a particular piece of rock is as follows:

Geological Time Formula034

This formula is the Eucharist of the New Testament of geological science. We are asked to believe that these words and numbers on a paper are the same as, or even identical with, the actual passage of billions of years of geological time. In the Eucharist, the substance of bread and wine changes into, and is identical with, the body and the blood of Jesus. No one pretends that this faith-based religious myth of the Eucharist is based on fact. Scientists are, however, through the rigors of education, indoctrinated in the belief that numbers spread on paper in a certain order are identical with the actual, factual, passage of time.

Can we really know that the rate of decay of an isotope is the same throughout all the supposed past time period, or even if there is such a time period? Even if we know the rate of decay of an isotope over a period of a very short time, or even several years, this doesn’t really tell us anything at all about the previous billion years. Nor does it tell us if there is a previous billion years. We really don’t know anything about how long our planet or our universe has existed. We cannot know the past beyond the written historical record, or perhaps for fifty or sixty thousand years past with Carbon-14 dating (which contains very few assumptions). The deep past simply does not exist.

Radiometric dating is a little like asking an accountant to audit a fund consisting of 4.5 billion dollars. The auditor, though, is only allowed to examine five cents of this fund, which is all that’s left at the time of the audit. From this examination the auditor is expected to certify that all of the money was used for the intended purposes of the fund.

Can we say Bernie Madoff? Yet this is the sort of accounting our geological scientists do on a daily basis, and have done since the beginning of the twentieth century.

Once again we are faced with the prevailing myth: The entire history of the planet can be found by examining only the most superficial surface portions of the bulk of the planet, by using a pencil and paper formula. The utter triviality of even our present geological observations as to the history of the earth is stunning.

People want to believe we can see millions, billions of years into the past. Our scientists give people what they want, so they are believed. Thus the myth is perpetuated. And so it goes. The theories of geological time are no more worthy of scientific credence than is Creationism.

Please permit me to quote again from Dr. Murray Gell-Mann’s book, The Quark and the Jaguar. This brilliant Nobel Laureate in Physics took the time to contemplate the nature of superstition and myth in the scientific world:

People are scared by the unpredictability and especially the uncontrollability of what we see around us…. [Much of the] unpredictability comes from the restricted range and capacity of our senses and instruments: we can pick up only a minuscule amount of the information about the universe that is available in principle…. The resulting scarcity of rhyme and reason frightens us and so we impose on the world around us, even on random facts and chance phenomena, artificial order based on false principles of causation. In that way, we comfort ourselves with an illusion of predictability and even of mastery. We fantasize that we can manipulate the world around us by appealing to the imaginary forces we have invented…. People want or need to believe…. Their main characteristic is the dissociation of belief from evidence…. They are alleviating their fear of randomness by identifying regularities that are not there.

In conclusion, please understand that I am not attacking or attempting to embarrass any researcher who has worked in the field of geological dating. The flawed method of looking back in time by examining rocks has been a standard of science for a hundred fifty years. I only ask that these researchers look at the evidence and the proof and re-evaluate what it is they are doing with their time and intellect, and move on to other more realistic and creative endeavors.

I started with Charles Darwin, so, at the risk of repeating myself, I will end with the wise words of this groundbreaking nineteenth century scientist, who was a cautious observer of reality and spoke of what is, not what might be, in his masterwork, The Origin of Species:

But we continually overrate the perfection of the geological record…. We continually forget how large the world is, compared with the area over which our geological formations have been carefully examined…. It seems to me to be about as rash to dogmatize on the [ancient] succession of organic forms throughout the world, as it would be for a naturalist to land for five minutes on a barren point in Australia, and then to discuss the number and range of its productions…. We should not forget that only a small portion of the world is known with accuracy….. I look on the geological record as a history of the world imperfectly kept…. Of this history we possess the last volume alone, relating only to two or three countries. Of this volume, only here and there a short chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a few lines.