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FOR GRETA CLIMATE CHANGE, GOLF BALLS, AND THE TURIN SHROUD. FOR GRETA Last things first. We can deal with the other two in greater detail. The Turin Shroud of course has nothing to do with climate change. Or golf balls. It is though, an interesting example of how history and science deal with things. In…
CLIMATE CHANGE, GOLF BALLS, AND THE TURIN SHROUD.
Last things first. We can deal with the other two in greater detail. The Turin Shroud of course has nothing to do with climate change. Or golf balls. It is though, an interesting example of how history and science deal with things. In that it manages to share at least something with the other two. That is, history and science revised.
The Vatican does not regard the Turin Shroud as a relic. Even that little fact does not stop the believers believing, and the unbelievers referring to hard science. Carbon dating puts it as a 13th-14th century creation, and generally the science agrees that it is a…well…. a venerable reproduction. It could also be a total con job, given that the times were such that there were thousands of religious ‘relics’ created by incredible artists and flogged off for significant funds.
In 1978 Professor Giovanni Tamburelli independently obtained a full 3D image of the shroud that showed conclusively that the image is definitely that of a man, scourged, crucified and wrapped. After that, many people managed to forget the age of the linen, and avow that it is The Christ. No doubt about it. They say that the carbon dating MUST be wrong and that because the image is proved to be a man then it must be Christ.
There is another question that few folk seem to be asking. Mans’ inhumanity to man has no bounds and the creation of a valuable ‘relic’ would seem to be worth a bit of monstrous behaviour. If the cloth is, as dated, from the 13th-14th century, then who is that poor bastard who was faithfully scourged, crucified and wrapped in linen? Seems to be a better thing to bend a knee to the image of ‘Jesus’ than do some proper sleuthing and (perhaps) even identify him and give the poor sod a decent burial. Because things are not always as they seem, the actual face and body of Jesus Christ is not known. It is a supposition, simply because the gospels say that Judas had to point him out in the Garden of Gethsemane due to the fact that he looked pretty much like any other bloke knocking around at the time. No one actually KNOWS what JC looked like. He certainly was not fair-skinned with long wavy hair, and blue eyes. He would have stood out had he been so unlike the majority of men of the time. It is an image in the minds of the ardent and not so ardent faithful.
Everyone knows what a golf ball looks like. It is that little white thing with dimples, designed specifically to fly through the air for long distances. The dimples make it travel in the most aerodynamic way and land (hopefully) in, or close to a little hole marked by a flag. Thousands of scientific hours have gone in to the creation of golf balls. Interestingly the golf ball dates to the 14th century too. But not as we know it. Here too, science has done its bit. Mess with just a dimple or two and the distance and trajectory of the ball is changed, sometimes quite significantly. Not easily spotted. Cheats and Chancers have been at it for years! If you don’t know what you are looking for even Donald Trump will beat you.
Whether it is the Turin Shroud, golf balls, or climate change, science will beat faith any day of the week. Climate change though, is more than an earthbound mystery. It is cosmic as well as terrestrial.
Fifty years ago I wrote a sci-fi book called The Shift. It became so outlandish and complex that it went into the storage trunk and has not seen the light of day since. (Yes Cinderella, you can now go to the Golf Ball!) The earth is a teeny tiny infinitesimal bit like our hypothetical golf ball. It ‘wobbles’ as it spins on its axis. It is pockmarked and scarred by millennia. (No dear, not Melania! You just think what you want!)
Every molecule in, on, and around the earth, every animate and inanimate thing changes it. Earth is in a constant state of flux. In the great scheme of things, whatever that may be, we humans are little more than bacteria. What was once a vast sea covering the inland of Australia is now dessert. Did the earth ‘shift’ a little and turn a great teeming ocean into an arid landscape? Science may tell us. We know that the earth has ‘wobbled’ in the last few hundred years. NASA has made strides in that direction.
That does not create an argument for the nihilists who find thinking all a bit too hard for their poor brains. The little face of honour in Greta Thunberg is not to be disparaged. She is trying to deal with US, to turn us back into creatures of thought, instead of rabid faith. It may be subjective, but she may well achieve the greatness of David Suzuki, and David Attenborough. Within the confines of earths’ atmosphere there is much to be done. Here, science is not enough. There are things to be said. Terrible, courageous things to be confronted and disseminated.
If the dark and disturbing is not for you, then for your own comfort you must stop reading now. Right away. For this is what we face, and what is happening now in your peripheral vision.
In the whole of human history until 1830 the human population was below 1 billion. 1830 was a landmark, but today unheralded. Between 1830 and 1930 we reached 2 billion. In two years human beings will number more than 8 billion. If we were sheep in a paddock we would die from starvation, grazing ourselves to death. Stop reading! This is scary stuff.
In the whole of human history we ‘estimate’ that up to 1 billion people have died in war. ALL of human history. We may eclipse that within a few years.
While we starve, imprison, murder and subjugate billions, we eradicate disease, increase our lifespans and plunder everything in our path. We domesticate cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, and all manner of creature pushing their populations to enormous numbers. Far more than they might do so alone. In the meantime we deny life to those creatures we will not or cannot domesticate. Just as the earth ‘wobbles’ on its axis, so too do we contribute to certain disaster. The “cull” has already begun among the peoples of the earth who ‘do not matter’. We cannot feed them, we cannot clothe or house them. While organisations attempt to do what little is possible, the tide is running over.
Water, our most precious commodity is the one thing that there is no more of, nor any less of than there has ever been. More precious than oil or gold, or rare earths. So why do we imagine that there is so little? While the Pacific Islands flood with the tides, the Dead Sea is being pumped dry at the rate of more than three feet per year.
So where does all this water go? Into our animals, and into ourselves. Think of us as walking water containers. We humans consist of around 60% water, and the animals we domesticate, up to 90% water. We humans still incinerate our dead, releasing toxic chemicals into the air we breathe instead of committing to our fields and gardens. While science can solve many problems, this one is not rocket science. (Actually, rocket science is relatively simple by comparison to the problems we need to solve.
The tipping point on earth has been reached. Now we fumble with violent and inhuman solutions…but are there any others?
And back to the beginning of Climate Change. The earth may ‘wobble’. Asteroids may strike us and change the climate from one thing into another. But only WE have it within ourselves to make change, complex or simple there is a role for every living being.
I have no real answers. I am just an old man with more faith in Greta Thunberg than in power and politics. If nothing else I have posed some questions. All based on observation of life since the mid 1940’s.