Cave Paintings and Elementary Science

This is a travel story of sorts, of travel through time, to an extent. Be patient.

Directly to the west of Marseille, the second largest city in France are a series of beautiful, narrow coves, like fjords, situated in a sort of desert. They are called “calanques” in French. They are accessible only by sea or through a long walk on hot rocky ground. Although they constitute a separate world, the calanques are close to Marseille, as the crow flies. They used to be a major fishing resource for the city. You can be sure they were never forgotten during the 2600 years of the city’s existence. Also, the city was founded by Greeks and thus, it always had a literate population, one that kept records.

Marseille and its environs are where SCUBA was invented, the first practical solution to the problem of men breathing underwater. Accordingly, the calanques were always and thoroughly explored after 1950. In 1985, one of the co-inventors of SCUBA discovered a deep cave in one of the calanques. He couldn’t resist temptation and swam into it until he reached a large emerging room. I mean a cave where he could stand and breathe regular air. His name was Cosquer.

Cosquer visited there several times without saying a word about his discovery. Soon, he observed dozens of beautiful paintings belonging to two distinct periods on the upper walls of his cave. The art of the first period was mostly hand imprints or stencils. The art of the second, distinct period, comprised 170-plus beautiful animals including many horses, ibex and others mammals, also fish, seals and other sea creatures. Archaeologists think the painting of the first period were done about in about 25 000 BC, those of the latter period date back to about 18 000 BC, they believe.

Today, the entrance to the cave is about 125 feet below sea level. We know that paleolithic men did not have SCUBA. They simply walked into the cave for their own reasons, with their own purposes in mind. Thus, the sea level was at least 125 feet lower then than it is today. The people of Marseille never saw the cave. They would have written about it. There would be records. They would not have forgotten it. They simply did not know of its existence during the past 2600 years.

Sometimes in the past 20 000 years, the sea rose 125 feet or more. That’s an amplitude several times greater than any of the direst predictions of the official United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the next century. The IPCC squarely blames a future ocean rise (one that has not been observed at all, yet) on abnormal emission of several gases, especially CO2 . These abnormal emissions in turn, the IPCC affirms are traceable to human activities such as driving cars and producing many useful things by burning fossil fuels.

It seems to me that basic good science requires that causal analysis begin with a baseline. In this case, it would mean something like this: In the absence of any burning of fossil fuels, the ocean rose 125 feet sometimes during the past 20,000 years. Let’s see if we can find evidence of the ocean rising above and beyond this order of magnitude since humanity began burning fossil fuels in large quantities, about 150 years ago.

The conclusion will likely be that nothing out of the ordinary happened. Hence, fossil fuel emissions are probably irrelevant to this particular issue. (This leaves open the possibility that such emissions are odious for some other reason. I mean that CO2 is plant food. Too much CO2 may promote weed growth in our fields and gardens. )

The ocean is not currently rising and if it is, the existence of the Cosquer cave suggests that it’s rising to a tiny degree. Let’s keep things in perspective. Let’s discard openly and loudly every part of the building of a complex hypothesis that does not work. Those who don’t take these obvious cleansing measures simply have a lot of explaining to do. They should not be allowed to wrap themselves in the mantle of science while violating Science 101 principles.

One of the conceits of the Warmist movement is that you don’t have a right to an opinion unless you possess a doctorate in Atmospheric science. By this dictate, anybody who has to keep a job, raise children, or pay a mortgage is out of the discussion. This is the typical posturing of intellectual totalitarianism. Note what’s missing in the story above: It says nothing about what did cause the ocean to rise between 18 000 B. C. and today. It’s enough to know that whatever it was, it was not the massive burning of fossil fuels. The story is complete as is. Don’t quit your job and apply to graduate school!


3 thoughts on “Cave Paintings and Elementary Science

  1. Congratulations! Your anecdote has definitively disproved global warming! Who needs all those temperature measurements and stuff? I assume you’ve submitted this for publication. This ground-breaking work coupled with your Greenland-Vikings-used-to-eat-beef landmark research makes you a lock for a Nobel. And let’s face it, it’s about time that someone with no expertise won a Nobel instead of those stuffy, posturing intellectual totalitarians.

    Now that you’ve disposed of climate science where will you focus your attention? I suggest aeronautic engineering. Why should our planes be designed only by people who’ve studied engineering?

  2. Terry: My errand is simple. It’s to remind readers who have a life to live to not be intimidated by the hi-fallutin, including by legitimate hi-fallutin research. Beyond the science, there is something very wrong about the attempted totalitarian application of both the legitimate science and the pseudo- science taking place around the theme of climate change. The grotesque assertion that: ” 93% of scientists agree….” is a case in point. The pure hatred that drips from your comment is another case in point. It’s easy to read between the lines that you would burn me at the stake if you could. Why the religion? Why is it difficult to ignore me? Real question.

    Your memory is short, someone with no expertise and no accomplishment already won a Nobel recently. His middle name is “Hussein.”

    Just to give credit, because I don’t want to be blamed by your misinformation: The author of the research showing that the Norse inhabitants of Greenland raised cattle and ate beef around 1,000 is the environmental activist Jared Diamond. The cattle story simply illustrates that Greenland was much warmer then than that it is now, without benefit of fossil fuels.

  3. Jacques, your refutation of climate science as a result of a ‘simple errand’ yet again shows the power of serendipity and unintended consequences. Who could’ve guessed that the efforts of thousands of highfalutin scientists could be falsified by a retired sociologist armed with an anecdote. In these times of strained finances I think it’s crucial that you turn your efforts to other arenas dominated by highfalutin scientists. Instead of wasting all that money and time on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and all those pointy-headed ‘physicists’ with their fancy-schmansy ‘PhD degrees’ they could’ve gone to you for insights into the Higgs-boson. Instead of pissing away money on molecular biology, a field rife with intellectual totalitarians, I’m sure you could cure cancer with nothing more than a bottle of wine, a napkin, and a felt-tip pen. You’re a veritable national resource!

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