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 room emerging above the water level. I mean a cave where he could stand and breathe regular air. The explorer’s name was Cosquer.

Cosquer visited several times without saying a word about his discovery. Soon, he observed dozens of beautiful wall 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. Archeologists 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 or so, since the foundation of their city.

Sometime 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.

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 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 minuscule 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 (re-branded “Climate Change” something or other) 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 years ago and today. It’s enough to know that whatever it was, it was not the massive burning of fossil fuels. And, if factors other than burning fossil fuels explain large rises in sea level, they should first be applied to a tiny rises in sea rises before other explanations are tried. That’s just good practice.

The Cousquer cave story is now complete as is. Yes, that simple.

10 thoughts on “Cave Paintings and Elementary Science

  1. While I completely agree with your stance on climate change, your cave evidence is not as “waterproof “ as you think. It’s possible that there used to be a land entrance that has since collapsed.

    • Surely. I trust that looking for a land entrance was one of the firs things the archeologists in charge did. French archeologists have much experience with seemingly inaccessible cave paintings.

  2. 125 feet would uncover the entrance, but the glacial peak was about 20k years ago when began the actual sea level rise of well over 300 feet. You could walk from France to England. Africans walked the rim of southeast Asia and south across what is now an immense archipeligo to Austraia fifty thousand years ago.

    • Then there’s that whole thing about how Asians walked from Siberia to Alaska.

  3. Obviously Atlanteans were burning fossil fuels over 10,000 years ago!! And Lemurians as well! It’s the only explanation that makes sense.

  4. I’m a Geologist and these caves add an interesting note to this well known topic. Namely, the sea level rise following the end of the most recent glacial period. The planet has been completely free of ice and a virtual ball of ice…all without the assistance of humans.

  5. The amount of water on earth is virtually the same over time. The water didn’t rise 120 feet. The ground sank. Happens all the time, all over the world.

    • Earth’s water quantity (the hydrosphere) has remained constant, but the Ice Age(s) took up some of it from the oceans and deposited it on land as ice. This lowered sea level considerably — roughly 300 feet the last time it happened — for as long as the Ice Age lasted.

      The land indeed subsided under the weight of the continental ice sheets, but the amount of crustal depression from the ice was much less than the sea level dropped. (Rock is indeed elastic, but it’s a lot less so than ice.)

      Good summary here:

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