Sunday, June 25, 2006

Disappearing Rain Forests?

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." ~ Mark Twain

Yesterday I took my son to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland. We saw hundreds of different kinds of fish and aquatic wildlife all nicely displayed in various sized aquariums. Of course, the most fascinating exhibits were those of the sharks and the birds like the puffins that dive under the water looking for food and literally fly underwater without coming up for air. At least, those were the most fascinating to me.

Those were the most fascinating of the animal displays.

But what I was both fascinated and chagrined the most by was the blatant attempt by the aquarium to brainwash the public into believing the hogwash about evolution and about Global warming and about evil man, who is supposedly systematically destroying the environment, particularly the rain forests of South America.

At every exhibit there were warnings of how man was threatening the existence of whatever animal or tree or geology each particular exhibit was displaying. The poison dart frogs were dying out because of man's encroachment in their environment. The sharks were threatened by men fishing for Tuna, the coral reef was disappearing due to man doing something or other. By this time I was so sick of reading about how evil man was that I had stopped reading the environmentalists propaganda.

One thing stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb to me: A statement that read, "Every minute 54 acres of rain forest has been destroyed since 1955."

54 acres? Every minute? Since 1955? I find that highly doubtful. I realize that an acre is a relatively small piece of land in comparison with the vastness of the South American continent, but even so, 54 acres a minute for over 50 years would surely have turned South America into a desert by now.

At least, that was my first thought, before doing the math.

I tried to look up via the internet, some facts about the rain forest this morning, particularly just how much actual acreage of rain forest there is in South America, and could only find articles about how man is destroying it.

We have become so inundated with what I consider the myth of disappearing rain forests, that even responsible clear thinking people have begun to accept it as fact!

So here's where I decided to do a little math on my own. Without any hard figures that I can believe to work with, I can only use speculation and logic, so if I am not making sense, try to understand. This is the way my mind works. Sometimes it's not pretty.

Suppose only 50 acres of rainforest is destroyed every minute, round figures being easier to work with. How many acres of rain forest were there in South America before a single tree was felled? I don't know. I can't find any data on that at all. So let's suppose there are 300 million, again, working with round figures. Maybe there are a lot more than that. Maybe a lot less.

That means it would take 60 million minutes to completely eradicate the rain forests. That's 1 million hours. There are 8766 hours in a year.

Approximately 114.08 years to turn the South American rain forests into the South American desert.

Let's assume that the evil human loggers start at one edge of the rain forest and work their way to the other edge. West to east, or east to west, you get the idea. It would take 114 years for them to work their way across the continent destroying all the trees in their path.

Trees release seeds. Trees grow from seeds. By the time the evil Lumber companies have completed their evil task, and turn around to proudly gaze on their accomplishment, acres and acres of new trees would have sprouted in their wake. Millions and millions of trees. And the first hundred thousands of acres of new trees would be up to a hundred years old!

Well, that wouldn't turn South America into a desert, would it?

What if the evil lumber companies only cut down 20 acres a minute? Uh, no, that would be even less of an atrocity.

Well, what if they cut down 100 acres of rain forest every minute? Hmmm, then it would only take them 67 years to totally destroy the rain forest. OK, now I think we're on to something!

But wait. I forgot. New trees are sprouting and growing behind the evildoers. Trees can still get pretty big in 67 years.

When I was a child, I uprooted a sapling out in the woods and planted it in my mother's front yard for Mother's day. I was probably about 10 then. I am 54 now. That tree is now a stately elm, with a trunk I can't put my arms all the way around. In less than 50 years!

It would seem to me that the disappearing rain forests are not disappearing at all. In spite of evil man's efforts to destroy our world.

Or am I missing something?

25 comments:

Mark said...

I found some great pictures to put in this post, but Blogger, being typically tempermental, wouldn't upload them

Jim said...

Mark said:

"Trees release seeds. Trees grow from seeds. By the time the evil Lumber companies have completed their evil task, and turn around to proudly gaze on their accomplishment, acres and acres of new trees would have sprouted in their wake. Millions and millions of trees. And the first hundred thousands of acres of new trees would be up to a hundred years old!"

You must be joking, Mark. Otherwise, this is one of the stupidest things I have ever read on this blog.

What, you think they cut down the trees just to make open space, leave these acres to let more trees grow again? Most of the deforested land is used for cattle grazing.

Oh no, the rain forest's lost acres will completely regenerate themselves in a hundred years or so because these seeds were left and humans simply walked away. Oh, and the wildlife; will they sprout up from seeds, too?

Good grief, Mark!

Old Soldier said...

Like global warming, there is a difference of opinion about the overall population of trees on Earth. The following is from the book “It’s Getting Better All the Time: 101 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years” by Stephen Moore and Julian L. Simon.

“By some estimates, there are more trees in North America today than there were the day Columbus arrived on this continent some 500 years ago. Although there may be some cause for concern about preserving tropical rain forests in Brazil and other developing nations, the U.S. forests are not shrinking. Currently, the Forest Service reports that the United States is growing about 22 million net new cubic feet of wood a year and harvesting only 16.5 million – a net increase of 36 percent per year. This contrasts with the situation in the early years of this century, when about twice as many trees were cut as were planted.”


“The amount of world forestland has held remarkably steady over the course of the last 50 years. There as now roughly 4 billion hectares of forestland on the globe, up from about 3.6 billion in the late 1940’s. Nor are rain forests disappearing at an alarming rate.”

I have far greater concerns than to concentrate on the liberals’ wolf cry about the world’s forests. However, like you Mark, it bothers me that our aquariums, zoos and natural parks all uniformly espouse the religion of “evolution”. No opposing view is tolerated. Someone, please, tell me why liberalism is good for America.

Gayle said...

Hey, it's great to see Old Soldier here! :)

Hi, Mark! Excellent post and some excellent points. And I know you weren't joking! ROTFALMAO! I also know you're not stupid. Try disproving a pet theory of the left and all you do is piss them off!

Blessings!

Dan Trabue said...

So, do you suspect a vast scientific conspiracy to create facts to un-do the world? To usurp the US' "right" to use as much as we want?

Really?

Jim said...

To paraphrase the old soldier:

"It bothers me that our text books, planetariums and scientists all uniformly espouse the religion of 'spherical earth'. No opposing view is tolerated. Someone, please, tell me why science is good for America."

Old Soldier said...

Well, Jim, not all "scientists" espouse the same drivel accepted by the liberal camp; some scientists examine the same “evidence” and conclude differently. Frequently those “different thinkers” are scorned and castigated for their conclusions. Much like your reaction to someone challenging global warming and the rain forests are disappearing. In the elite liberal intelligentsia different is not tolerated. If it were, zoos (and the like) would either not hype the evolution theory or present the opposing belief of creation. But that will probably happen right after the NYT stops leaking classified programs and Pentagon information.

Jim said...

Well soldier, I'm not going to spend too much time repeating that MOST Christians neither debate the fact of evolution nor believe that it contradicts the Bible.

There is room for debate as to how evolution has worked or proceeded over time. There is no serious debate that evolution is fact.

You fall into the tire old trap of evolution as a "theory", as a guess. Gravity is a "theory", too. Do you debate gravity's existence?

A "theory" is a model that ties together observations to form a model that is testable and repeatable and explains those observations methodically.

It is not a guess.

Poison Pero said...

54 acres/min, 60 min/hour, 24 hour/day, 365 day/year, for 51 years.

54*60*24*365*51 = 1,447,502,400 acres!!!

Gotta love it when science and make-believe coexist in the pseudo-scientific world.

Erudite Redneck said...

Hey Pero. Do some more math.

1,447,502,400 acres equal 2,261,722.5 square miles.

That's just more than a third of the area of the United States, more than a third of the area of Brazil, and something like one-ninth or one-tenth of South America as a whole.

Doesn't seem so farfeteched, does it? You're proving the point. There's nothing make-believe or psuedo-scientific about it.

Geographic illiteracy abounds. Did anyone here know that there are something like 36 million acres of farm land set aside and permanently planted to grass in the Plains states, to keep the topsoil from blowing away? That's 56,250 square miles -- and that's approaching the size of the state of Oklahoma (60-something-thousand square miles). Private land. Uncle Sam, the damn liberal, pays land-owners a rent to keep it in grass, to from repeating the Dust Bowl.

dreadnought said...

I think you are missing something!
The rainforests are disappearing (area the size of Belgium is cut down every year), the ice caps are melting (Larsen B ice shelf just about gone), sea levels are rising (flood barrier in London is raised every week), weather has become warmer (prolonged periods of drought in previously temperate regions), weather has become more extreme (New Orleans). The common thread to all this is human activity (both liberal and conservative). This is reality.

Old Soldier said...

”Well soldier, I'm not going to spend too much time repeating that MOST Christians neither debate the fact of evolution nor believe that it contradicts the Bible.”

I’ll not accept this without qualifying evidence. I can just as emphatically state that MOST Christians believe the Bible is true – that, “In the beginning God…”

”There is room for debate as to how evolution has worked or proceeded over time. There is no serious debate that evolution is fact.”

Try http://www.icr.org/ or http://www.talkorigins.org/ for some serious debate about evolution being fact. Not everyone kowtows to the browbeating evolutionists.

”You fall into the tire old trap of evolution as a "theory", as a guess. Gravity is a "theory", too. Do you debate gravity's existence?”

Repeatable evidence for gravity establishes it as a fact. However, there is no currently observable repeatability for a process that takes “millions of years” to complete. You’re also attempting to strawman “theory” by mixing a pure theory with an established fact.

”A "theory" is a model that ties together observations to form a model that is testable and repeatable and explains those observations methodically.”

Evolution’s “observations” are composed of examining evidence. There is nothing observable about evolution. Like the old farmer said, “Every time I breed pigs, I get pigs.”

”It is not a guess.”

On this you are quite right. It is not a guess, it is a religion, because it takes “faith” to believe in what you cannot see. In this respect, all the conjecture, mathematical equations, etc., imaginable cannot duplicate evolution so as to make it immediately observable.

Consider this… a Christian who believes in evolution essentially looks God in the eye and says, “You lied to me in Genesis.” If Genesis is a lie, can you believe anything else He says in His Bible?

Erudite Redneck said...

Would that the interpretation of Scripture and one's relationship with the Creator really were this simple:

"Consider this… a Christian who believes in evolution essentially looks God in the eye and says, “You lied to me in Genesis.”
If Genesis is a lie, can you believe anything else He says in His Bible?"

But it's not.

skye said...

Hey Mark,

The Aquarium hasn't changed those signs in at least a decade.

Actually, the greatest threat to sharks, coral reefs, Mola Mola's, poison dart frogs..etc..etc.. are environmentalists..especially the husbandry staff at aquariums.

While studying at university, I spent several years as a volunteer diver at the NJ State Aquarium. It was a real eye opening experience.

-----------------------------
One thing stuck out like the
proverbial sore thumb to me: A statement that read, "Every minute 54 acres of rain forest has been destroyed since 1955."

Jim said...

OK, readers...here's a survey:

Are you a Christian?

Do you believe that God literally created the heavens and the earth in six days where a day is roughly equivalent to today's 24-hour day as defined by the time it takes the earth to rotate once about its axis?

If you don't believe in the above, do you believe that God lied to you in Genesis?

Jim said...

OS said,

However, there is no currently observable repeatability for a process that takes “millions of years” to complete.

Wrong. There is mountainous (pardon the pun) evidence not only of current or recent evolution but of evolution through the ages.

pure theory. You obviously do not understand the meaning of the word nor are you capable of learning that word since I explained it above.

Evolution’s “observations” are composed of examining evidence. There is nothing observable about evolution. Like the old farmer said, “Every time I breed pigs, I get pigs.”

This is absurd. See above reference to mountains of observed evidence.

Every pig the farmer breeds is exactly the same as every other one? There has never been a runt of the litter? There has never been one with a mis-shapen leg? Never one with a straight tail? Every one exactly the same as the last.

I can't see gravity. Can you? How do you know that "gravity" isn't simply the atmosphere simply pushing us down? How do you know?

Did you know that you can "observe" evolution in a few years in the wild? Did you know you can "observe" evolution in weeks and months in laboratories.

I completely respect your belief in a literal Bible. You have no need to "defend" that belief. I do not criticize that belief.

But don't try to "explain away" something you have no understanding of, with arguments that are ludicrous on their face and disingenuous at worst to question my faith in God and my belief in the Bible because it differs from yours.

rusty shakelford said...

Jim, where did the first moutain come from? Science is the study of cause and effect. Evolution is a effect that has no cause, hence where did the first thing come from?

Consider this, evolution takes billions of years to happen, at the same time the earth is spinning. Due to Newtons law the earh is spinning at a slower and slower rate every year. If you reverse that a billion or two times then the earth is spinning so fast it is shaped like a football and is flying apart. How are the simple life forms thriving and evolving?

Jim said...

Ok Rusty, I'll bite. Where did the first mountain come from?

Evolution has more cause and effect than you'll ever comprehend. Part of the evolution process is mutation which can be caused by any number of things including X-rays as well as simply the natural occurence of changes in chromosomes from generation to generation. These mutations have the effect of changing the characteristics of organisms. Some changes make the organism better able to survive its environment and that organism thrives. Some changes make the organism weaker and less able to survive and that organism dies out. The effect is that species evolve over time because some organisms thrive and others die. And these changes can occur in a few hundred years.

This is only a simple example. Can you understand that.

I love the earth spinning and the getting closer or farther from the sun arguments. The young earthers LOVE to say that carbon dating has no validity because it assumes that isotopes decay at a constant rate which they claim has no basis in fact. And then they turn around and use the opposite argument to "demonstrate" that based on the rate of rotation or closure today, the earth would have spun apart eons ago or would have crashed into the sun millenia ago.

Nice try but no cigar.

rusty shakelford said...

Ok Jim let me give you an argument even you can understand. Consider the transitive rule (hint: a=5, a=b and b=c then a=c => c=5) if mountains came from dirt and dirt came from . . . Well if you don't know where dirt came from then you really don't know where mountains came from do you?

This is only a simple example. Can you understand that?

For your benefit lets revisit the transitive rule. ? =a and a=b, b=c then c = ?

Don't blame me for the spinning earth argument. I got it from some guy named Newton who discovered the First Law of Motion. In order for the earth to maintain the same spin you have to agree that the sun has no gravity we have no water and the moon doesn't exist. I never said a thing about carbon dating but given Newton's laws and carbon dating there is a contradiction. Can you explain how can they both be accepted as law?

By the way, can you explain why I am wrong instead of just discounting an argument? How about offering a little point/counterpoint.

Jim said...

Rusty, you make no argument to counterpoint, you merely throw mud on the wall and hope it sticks.

Mountains are not piles of dirt. Did you know that? Mountains are piles of lava spewed from beneath the earth's crust. Or they are sections of the earth's crust thrust upward by movement of tectonic plates. So cause=movement of tectonic plates, effect=equal convergence and upthrust of plates forming mountains.

I know where dirt comes from. Many places, but for one, wind, rain, ice etc. acting against rock erodes the rock producing fragments which become smaller over time due to more action by the above mentioned wind, rain and ice. Now what has dirt got to do with this subject?

Call me dense but I can find no point in this argument provided by the "transitive rule".

I never claimed that the earth maintains the same rate of spin over millions or billions of years. Likewise you offer no claim one way or the other that the rate of deceleration of rotation has remained constant from the beginning.

The point is the young earthers insist on constant rates when it suits their argument, but deny constant rates when it doesn't.

rusty shakelford said...

Jim pay attention.

Where did the first thing come from?

Jim said...

What thing? You mean from the Addams Family?

Which came first, the mountain or the dirt?

Jim said...

Rusty, the Bible says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. I believe that, don't you?

So this "what was the first thing" question...what's the issue?

rusty shakelford said...

If you belive God created all things then we are in agreement. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Jim said...

No problem. :-)