I've been very remiss not to post for so long, and so much has been happening it's hard to know where to start, so you might think my choice is a bit strange. It's this article from Foxnews on the end of life of our good planet. The take-home point is that our planet might not be liveable all the way until the end of life of the Sun. This is because the Sun's heat slowly increases. From being maybe 30% cooler when the Sun first formed, it will end up maybe 30% hotter than it is now. This will mean the Earth will pass from the 'habitable zone' into the torrid zone, the oceans slowly evaporate, the Earth's natural thermostat fails, and the planet suffers runaway heating until all life is gone.
To give you the flavour of it, here is a short clip from the article:
Earth could continue to host life for at least another 1.75 billion years, as long as nuclear holocaust, an errant asteroid or some other disaster doesn't intervene, a new study calculates.
But even without such dramatic doomsday scenarios, astronomical forces will eventually render the planet uninhabitable. Somewhere between 1.75 billion and 3.25 billion years from now, Earth will travel out of the solar system's habitable zone and into the "hot zone," new research indicates.
Very interesting. The only problem is this is old, very old, news. In the "Tree of Life" book Gitie and I wrote in 2003 we discussed this very problem.
The only difference between then and now is that the figure for how long we have left has been altered. I nearly said "refined", as I might have done in my naive youth, but since my confidence in the practice of science has been so shaken by the global warming shysters, I no longer trust anything I read unless I check it myself. And life is too short for that, of course, so I simply say, the new timing is a lot longer than the old one. If true, that is good news for our planet.
So why am I writing about this today? A few reasons.
Firstly it is an example of how the past gets lost. Far from being a new discovery, this is at best a refinement of an earlier estimate. And the subject has a literature, of which our book referenced above is one example, and of which the journalist seems entirely ignorant. This is a symptom, of course, of the anti-scientific secular ideology that dominates western society. From the French revolution onwards, just about every would-be remaker of the world has started out with a "Year Zero" (or a "Year One" for those challenged by the notion of counting from zero). The result is always poverty, death, and misery. The past, in every case, is not understood, but only berated from the present viewpoint or ignored altogether. But the past matters. Our ancestors had their own wisdom. For sure we can improve upon the past, but we ignore it at terrible peril.
A second oddity about this article also propelled me to comment. It is an oddity that manifests very commonly in modern discourse. It is present in the short quote from the article above (twice, once per paragraph). But before I say what it is, let me show you a bit more of the article. See what you make of it:
"If we ever needed to move to another planet, Mars is probably our best bet," Rushby said in a statement. "It's very close and will remain in the habitable zone until the end of the sun's lifetime 6 billion years from now."
While other models have been developed for Earth, they are not suitable for other planets, he added.
Okay, before I say what puzzles me, let me try my best to summarise: They calculated how long it will be before the Earth passes out of the habitable zone into the hot zone, then they speculate on where we could move to when that happens. Do you see the problem? Read on when it seems as odd to you as it does to me. Here's a picture that comes to mind...