Monday, November 26, 2007

WHY WE ARE ALONE



Could Mankind be the only technologically advanced society in the Cosmos?

D. Bruce Merrifield, writing in Integrated Patterns of Civilization, seems to think so. Apparently it is due to surges in greenhouse gases, which coincide with periods of global warming, that we may occupy a unique place in the Cosmos... alone.

Merrifield's report, published in American Thinker (November 2007), claims that it is only during the last 5,000 years weather conditions have allowed an advanced civilisation to emerge on planet Earth. Samples taken from ice cores in the Antarctic Ice Cap and the Sargasso Sea record that a unique set of circumstances led towards our present civilisation.

Global warming has been periodically recurring for many hundreds of thousands of years Mankind has evolved by periodic 100,000-year great ice age-ending warming periods, each coincident with enormous surges of carbon dioxide and methane from the oceans. These surges, lasting about 15,000 to 25,000 years, are far greater than those currently generated from fossil fuels. Remarkably, in the last 5,000 years, a number of shorter periods of warming have taken place, lasting 200 to 300-years. And in the brief history of Mankind, each of the shorter warming periods has coincided with the rise and decline of major civilisations.

Amazingly, between these sequential warming periods, advances made in one civilisation have not been lost to the next. This one factor alone has allowed Mankind to gain an evolutionary foothold. We are currently about 20,000 years into the most recent of the 100,000-year cycles, and this one peaked about 10,000 years ago. It has since been cooling. However, these warming cycles are coincident with the earth's elliptical orbit around the Sun. Solar radiation bombarded the planet and as it did so it increased and decreased in strength. The Earth has cooled from its most recent peak up to about 8500 B.C. when a previous civilisation was ‘snuffed out’.

In Fact, the rise of the civilisations has been coincident with these warming – or birthing - periods. Times that were conducive to the increased availability of food. Naturally civilisations grew. The cooling process was reversed when a new great surge of methane rose into the atmosphere at about 5000 B.C. Is it any coincidence that this was the period that coincided with the beginning of civilisation in the Nile, Euphrates, and Tigris River Valleys?

Fortunately, the rise and fall of civilisations, which were sufficiently close together, ensured that any cultural advances made in each civilisation did not die out. Such a fortuitous sequence has never occurred before in any of the previous 100,000-year warming periods. The result has been that the extraordinary advance of civilisation to its present state and may be unique in the process of Earth's evolution - and the Cosmos itself. Remarkably all the great incremental advances in the human condition were made during these sequential periods About 90 percent of all scientific knowledge has been generated during the last ‘30’ years.

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