This chapter will provide a somewhat detailed review of the Cryogenian Ice Age and its aftermath, including some of the hypotheses regarding it, evidence for it, and its outcomes, as the eon of complex life arose after it. The ran from about 850 mya to 635 mya. This review will sketch the complex interactions of life and geophysical processes, and the increasingly multidisciplinary methods being used to investigate such events, which are yielding new and important insights.
When investigating how ice ages begin and end, and feedbacks are considered. A positive feedback will accentuate a dynamic and a negative feedback will mute it. In the 1970s, and the author of today’s , , , which posits that Earth has provided feedbacks that maintain environmental . Under that hypothesis, environmental variables such as atmospheric and levels, levels, and Earth’s surface temperature have been kept relatively constant by a combination of geophysical, geochemical, and life processes, which have maintained Earth’s inhabitability. The homeostatic dynamics were mainly negative feedbacks. If positive feedbacks dominate, then “runaway” conditions happen. In astrophysics, are responsible for a wide range of phenomena. A runaway greenhouse effect may be responsible for . Climate scientists today are concerned that burning the hydrocarbons that fuel the industrial age . Mass extinctions are the result of Earth's becoming largely uninhabitable by the organisms existing during the extinction event. The ecosystems then collapse Mass extinction specialist recently proposed his as a direct challenge to the Gaia hypothesis.
Even though this really looked like a spectacular confirmation ofthe semi-conservative scheme, Meselson and Stahl (1958) were quitecautious in stating their conclusions. Avoiding theoreticalinterpretation, all the experiment showed was that base nitrogendistributes evenly during replication. While this is inconsistent withthe dispersive mechanism, it did not rule out the conservativemechanism. For it was possible that the material of intermediatedensity that the ultracentrifuge's optical devices picked up did notconsist of hybrid heavy/light DNA molecules at all, but of some kind ofcomplex of heavy and light DNA. For example, Meselson and Stahlspeculated that end-to-end covalent associations of old and newlysynthesized DNA that was produced by the conservative mechanism wouldalso have intermediate density and therefore produce the same band intheir experiment. For this reason, the experiment does not reallyqualify as a severe test of the semi-conservative hypothesis in thesense of the error-statistical approach. For a severe test must ruleout, with a high probability, the passing of a hypothesis even if it isfalse (see ). If the intermediate bands observed byMeselson and Stahl were end-to-end covalent complexes produced by theconservative mechanism, then the experiment would pass thesemi-conservative hypothesis even though it was false. There is nothingin the experiment that would rule this out with high probability,therefore it was not a severe test.
The last two sections have treated experiments primarily as ways oftesting theoretical hypotheses and causal claims, which is wheretraditional philosophy of science saw their principal role. However,there exists a considerable body of scholarship in the history andphilosophy of biology that shows that this does not exhaust the role ofexperiments in biology. Experimentation, to echo Ian Hacking's famousslogan, “has a life of its own” (Hacking 1983). Much that goes on in abiological laboratory does not have the goal of testing a preconceivedtheory. For example, many experiments play an exploratoryrole, that is, they assist scientists in discovering new phenomenaabout which they may not yet have any theoretical account or not evenany clear ideas. Exploratory experimentation has been investigated inthe history and philosophy of physics (Steinle 1997) as well as biology(Burian 1997, 2007; Elliott 2007; O'Malley 2007; Waters 2007). Thesestudies show that the development of any discipline in experimentalbiology cannot be understood by focusing on theories and attempts toconfirm or refute these theories. Experimental practice is simply notorganized around theories, particularly not in biology. If this is so,we must ask in what other terms this practice can be explained orreconstructed. Recent scholarship has focused in particular on twokinds of entities: model organisms and experimentalsystems.
What would modern biology be without its model organisms? To givejust a few examples: Classical genetics was developed mainly byexperimenting with fruit flies of the species Drosophilamelanogaster. The same organism has recently also been at thecenter of much exciting work in developmental biology, together withthe nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and the zebrafishDanio rerio. Molecular biologists were initially mostlyworking with the bacterium Escherichia coli and bacteriophage(viruses that infect bacteria). Neuroscientists owe much to the squidwith its giant axons. For immunology, the mouse Mus musculushas proven invaluable. Plant molecular biology's favorite isArabidopsis thaliana. Cell biology has found in baker's yeastSaccharomyes cerevisiae an organism that is as easy to breedas E. coli, but its cells are more similar to animal and humancells. This list could go on, but not forever. Compared to fieldbiology, the number of species that are being studied in theexperimental life sciences is quite small; so small, in fact, that formost of these model organisms complete genomic DNA sequences areavailable today.
Meanwhile, is crashing. As I have performed my studies since 1990, including numerous scientific topics, one issue became clear: biologists and climate scientists are in a panic regarding what is happening. Biologists know that they are living through the , which is caused by humans and is happening before their eyes. Climate scientists are watching humans alter the atmosphere to the extent that may be caused within a geologic timescale’s blink of an eye. It took more than two billion years for , and the , which took many millions of years to transpire. But humanity may end up altering the atmosphere so much in a mere few hundred years to actually turn Earth from an into a Greenhouse Earth, create and events, or myriad other potential outcomes. Industrial humanity is engaging in a chemistry and physics experiment with our home planet, and hardly anybody seems to notice or care. That frightens climate scientists, and biologists know that those potential geophysical events can make the current extinction event even more pronounced, and humans may achieve a mass extinction that exceeds even the , and do it quicker than every previous extinction event other than that . For one of many ominous trends, the oceans are being acidified by the increasingly acidic rain, which is . Peter Ward’s is not so farfetched, as he churns out grim books with his emeritus years not far off, but humans are the current agents of destruction, not Mother Earth and her other species. On , humanity is peering into the abyss.
In very real terms, economic production relies on work performed, and the is what economic work is rooted in. Moving an automobile or airplane requires work. Moving water requires work, as does running a household appliance or computer. Electricity can power a machine or a light. Energy consumption work to be performed, and that is why . Neoclassical economists, with their supply and demand curves and other social/monetary constructs generally disregard that relationship, as they abandoned the real world for social theories, which is why . Those all-too-rare economists challenging neoclassical economics from a scientific perspective focus on energy above all else, and the labor and technological capital ( capital, not the accounting claim on it that capitalists have) that use that energy to turn material resources into useful products and services. They focus on the real economy and actual human benefit, in what I call the anthropocentric economy.
The racist ideology that Hitler’s regime promoted was only a of what other imperial aspirants already had, and and he modeled his genocidal plans for Eastern Europe after what the . Hitler’s ideological crime was using racist ideology to make chosen people inferior. All such ideologies appealed to people’s egos as they elevated their and, with their superiority then self-evident, they could commit their awesome crimes with clear consciences, free of .
Many assumptions of neoclassical economics have been convincingly falsified by the physical, biological, and social sciences. Some of those assumptions are that people are independently minded rational actors who do not look to what others do (i.e., humans are not herd animals), that the economy can be divorced from the ecosystem that supports it, that money can substitute for , and that economic production can be described without referencing physical work. Neoclassical economics ignores the fact that entropy saps the efficiency of any system, economic or otherwise. Unlike a genuine science, almost no branches of today’s economics, particularly neoclassical economics, base their theories on hypotheses that can be tested and . Today’s mainstream economics resembles a faith more than a science.
One major problem with making a positive impact on a global level, ultra-elite machinations aside, is that almost nobody focuses on what is important, which I hope to help remedy with this essay. Almost everybody hacks at branches if they hack at all. Conspiracists tend to obsess on elite machinations, which is an exercise of dubious benefit to begin with, but they often become paranoid and also confuse retail elites or other interests with the GCs. Bill Gates and David Rockefeller are probably not members of the GCs’ organization. Also, I learned that ultra-elites can only play their games with the responsibility that almost all people have abdicated as they play the victim. The GCs are only a symptom of our malaise, not a cause. They cannot be beaten at their game, and it is counterproductive and can even be suicidal to try. Making them obsolete is probably the best that we can do. While conspiracists often fixate on ultra-elite machinations, intellectuals, academics, and scientists tend to deny that such activities even exist or are meaningful. It took me many years to understand their resistance to even acknowledging ultra-elite existence, and I think it partly relates to the mainstream scientific worldview that . They have an ideological aversion to the notion that anybody manipulates events on a global scale, and believe that what seems conspiratorial is only anarchic elites competing with each other, which is like Darwin’s view of evolution. They believe that conspiracists see a pattern where none exists, or that the situation can be explained without invoking conscious intent, like materialistic hypotheses of how the universe operates. Radical leftists have to the of such elites; such an idea scares them. Neither obsession nor denial helps people attain productive understandings of the issue. Conspiracists and structuralists are united in thinking like victims, and that, as I see it, . Until they relinquish thinking like a victim, they will not constructively engage the critical issues that humanity faces, and energy ranks above all else. Victims are reactive instead of proactive, and only and resulting action has a prayer of working, in my opinion.
The corporate order that rebranded or that probably resided some levels below the GCs in Earth’s power structure. The connections between them will have almost no publicly available documentation, and what might become public will always have its authenticity debated, and again, I will leave those issues behind for now and focus on more publicly known issues of history and science.