I’ve been constructing an imaginary new world over the past few days. It’s one in which the last ice age had ice extending from the North Pole to the Tropic of Cancer. It’s a vision of the world that came out of a computer simulation model. The first time I ran it, it rapidly generated an ice sheet extending from the North Pole to 23º N, the Tropic of Cancer.
The more orthodox view is that the ice never extended anywhere near as far south. It just covered Canada and northwest Europe and Asia to a latitude of about 50º N. And it was very thick in places: up to 4 km deep. In my imaginary new world, the ice is much thinner: mostly 100 – 200 metres thick.
Yesterday I was listening to a talk by someone called Randall Carlson, in which he said it was currently believed that the last 100,000 year long ice age ended shortly after it had achieved its maximum extent, and that it had all melted in about 6,000 years. And he said there was a problem with this, which was called the “energy paradox”, and was that there was simply not enough natural energy in the form of geothermal and solar energy to melt the ice that quickly. And so he’d begun to think that something like an asteroid impact would have been needed to supply the extra energy. He said that all the rivers in North America showed evidence of extreme flooding, which would be consistent with such an event.
And I thought that it probably did need a lot of heat to melt multi-kilometre thick ice sheets. But if the ice was spread out much more thinly over a much wider area, it would probably melt more easily. Could it melt inside 6,000 years? I ran my Glaciation.java simulation model, at latitudes 30º N, 45º N, and 60º N, for ice thicknesses of 100 m and 200 m, and recorded the time it took for them to change phase from ice to water, using just solar and geothermal heat, just by covering them in dust. Here are the figures I got:
Latitude 100m ice 200m ice
30 2016 yrs 3912 yrs
45 2200 yrs 4282 yrs
60 2510 yrs 5650 yrs
So, yes, my ice far thinner and more extensive ice sheets could indeed melt inside 6,000 years. All they needed was a thick enough coating of dust. It didn’t need an extra injection of energy in the form of an asteroid impact. All it might have needed was a few volcanoes to erupt and scatter dust over the ice sheets. And it may not have even needed that: 100,000 years of slow dust deposition might have been enough to start the ice sheets melting. And when they were all melting together, the final melt may have all suddenly come at once, and that was why all the rivers in North America show evidence of flooding.
But I was thinking this morning that I was constructing an imaginary new world. And in fact the Anthropogenic Global Warming people have also been constructing an imaginary new world, and they’ve been doing it the same way I have, with computer simulation models. The only difference between the two worlds is that in one everyone freezes, and in the other everyone boils. But the principal difference is really that nobody much believes in the imaginary freezing world, but lots of people believe in the imaginary boiling one. There are lots of people who are very scared of Global Warming. And if you’re ever going to get people to stop believing in the imaginary boiling world, you’re going to have to construct a plausible imaginary freezing world, or some other sort of imaginary world. You can only fight one imaginary world with another one.
And the same thing is happening with the War on Smoking. The antismokers have constructed an imaginary world in which Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, and passive smoking is just as bad as active smoking. And almost everybody believes in it. And that’s why they’re so powerful: there are lots of true believers in the antismoking cult, just like there are lots of true believers in the global warming cult.
It’s the same with the EU. The EU “project” is to construct an imaginary new world: a European empire stretching from Ireland to Ukraine. It’s a sort of bloodless new Roman empire. And it has lots of true believers.
One might also say that Socialism offers another imaginary new world. It’s an imaginary new world in which everyone is equal, and everyone is equally prosperous, and all it needs to make it happen is a revolution that overthrows the evil capitalists who currently control the world. And lots of people believe this. Over the past 150+ years the cult of socialism has been offering a highly attractive and plausible vision of a new world.
And one may go back further in history and see that Christianity offered some sort of highly attractive imaginary world in place of that of the imaginary world of classical Greece and Rome. What was its attraction? That it had one God rather than many? That the one God had even walked the earth for a few years, fusing the sacred world with the profane mundane world? It was probably all heady stuff back in 200 AD. Almost as heady as AGW and antismoking today.
All these imaginary worlds eventually disintegrate and collapse. They have a heyday that lasts for a few decades or centuries or millennia, before the true implications of them become manifest, internal contradictions multiply, and people stop believing them. We’re now living in a time when many people have stopped believing in gods of any kind, not just the superabundant gods in the Egyptian pantheon, or the abundant gods of the Greek pantheon, but also the One God of Christianity and Islam and Judaeism. And we’re also living in a time when many people have lost faith in the socialist dream as well.
The Tobacco Control cult that now rules pretty much the whole world is most likely one which is in the last years of what will prove to be a brief heyday. If nothing else, it has created an ugly, divided, intolerant world. Its consequences are becoming slowly apparent to more and more people. So are its internal contradictions (It’s all about Health? Really?) And its collapse will probably be as sudden as the melting of the ice sheets in a sudden flood at the end of the last ice age.