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About SkepticLance

  • Birthday January 28

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  • Location
    New Zealand
  • Interests
    Science. Scuba. Making video.
  • College Major/Degree
    Bachelor of Science
  • Favorite Area of Science
  • Occupation
    Industrial microbiologist


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  1. iNow I have not seen anything rebutting what I have said. The videos I have not been able to access might say something, but the attached summaries suggest otherwise. If you have a reference, then post it!!!
  2. In Iceland, there is the Deep Drilling Project, which aims to drill to a depth of up to 5 kms, both to obtain minerals, and for geothermal heat for power generation. http://www.iodp.org/iodp_journals/5_Progress_Report_on_Iceland_SD4.pdf
  3. Some facts to help understanding. 1. The Miller experiment. Now repeated many times with many variations. If you take a mixture of gases similar to what we believe the original atmosphere of Earth to be like, and pass strong energy through it, such as we would expect from lightning, ultraviolet, or meteor impact, then a wide range of organic molecules are formed, such as amino acids, purines etc. Deduction suggests that early rain will carry these molecules into puddles or lakes or the sea. Over millions of years, the concentration will build up into the 'primordial soup.' 2. Certain minerals, such as calcite and the clay montmorillonite, cause some of these organic molecules to adhere, and line up. They they chemically link to form polymers. 3. Other organic molecules spontaneously form into sphere shaped 'vesicles', with a monomolecular membrane. In the presense of more raw material, these 'vesicles' will grow and split to form more vesicles. This is done by purely chemical processes. No biology involved. Thus, we can deduce that the early Earth, from purely chemical processes formed a large mass of organic molecules, including a wide range of polymers, which would have been trapped within vesicles (like cell membranes) purely by chemical processes. From this point, we need to envisage a polymer able to self replicate (as RNA does) inside a self replicating vesicle. This is the first ultra-simple living cell. As it continues its existence, down millions of generations, there will be changes to the molecule's structure. These variations leave many to die out and become extinct, while others will thrive and become the dominant forms. Evolution is under way! The Earth appears to have been uninhabitable from its origin 4.5 billion years ago to about 4 billion years ago, due to a massive bombardment by asteroids, meteors etc. However, there are traces of hydrocarbons in certain rocks in Canada that have isotope ratios typical of living things, dated (though this is controversial) to 3.8 billion years ago. If this is true, then life came into being during a 200 million year window.
  4. Swansont That was because it did not need answering, and was irrelevent to the main point. Ice melts for a number of reasons, but the ice we see melting right now is doing so for reasons that have nothing to do with any hypothetical ice melt within the continent. For example ; melting due to contact with warmer ocean water cannot affect ice that is many kilometres inland. Ice sliding into the ocean is not a factor for most of Antarctica. The point I am making, and which you, Swansont, for some weird reason, see fit to deny, is that the vast bulk of the ice covering the continent of Antarctica is in no danger of melting within 200 years, and probably not for a much longer period. I am a bit disappointed, actually. I expected better of Swansont. iNow, of course, has a history of stubbornly clinging to arguments that have been proven wrong, but Swansont should be more faithful to good science. Why is he not?
  5. Mokele, please.... No red herrings, please. What are the odds of a meteor that will melt Antarctica in the next 200 years? And there is no 'normal' process able to melt all of Antarctica's ice within 200 years. Actually, this debate is getting really weird. The catastrophist view is heading way out into never never land. There is absolutely no credible science to suggest that ALL the ice in Antarctica is likely to melt within 200 years. Even 1000 years would be a major stretch. How about you guys get your heads out of disaster fairy land and get back into the real world like the rest of us, and admit that real science does NOT suggest all the ice in Antarctica melting within 200 years?
  6. Swansont You know better. Currently much of the sea ice disappears each summer due to the warming of the ocean. You are well aware that land ice is quite different. The ice at the fringe of Antarctica, close to the sea, such as that covering the Antarctic Pensinular, can melt for a host of reasons. However, that is not what I have been talking about. I have been talking about the ice that covers the bulk of Antarctica - the continent. It is 14 million square kilometres 98% covered with ice to an average depth of over 2 kms. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctica The vast bulk of Antarctica is more than 100 km and up to 1200 km from the ocean, making warm seas of limite dimpact in melting ice. After all, Antarctica is bigger than Europe. So Swansont, how about being honest and admitting there is no likelihood of total ice melting in Antarctica any time within the next 200 years? After all, honesty is a prime scientific virtue.
  7. iNow I read the first couple of abstracts in your references. Nothing there about caloric restriction increasing human lifespan. The third reference talked of it reducing atherosclerosis. Fine. I agree. However, that simply reduces the chance of heart disease. It does not actually increase human life span. Human life span, by definition, is the length of life we get if we do not die prematurely. Such as by heart disease. The fourth reference was about biomarkers for predicting longevity. Again not relevent. I stopped at that point. iNow If you want to prove me wrong, find the reference yourself instead of expecting me to. Simply posting a long list of references from a google search proves absolutely nothing.
  8. iNow What I missed was putting in the extra words 'in humans'. Caloric restriction has been proved to work on a number of organisms, but has not yet been demonstrated to work in humans. I have doubts based on : 1. Lots of things work on other animals but do not work in humans, showing that over-generalisation can be misleading. 2. There are lots of human societies that already have diets that represent caloric restriction, but none have exceptionally long lifespans. Quite the opposite in most cases. In some cases, this will be due to nutrient deficiencies, but that should not be the case for every society in which fewer calories are consumed. Some actually have very good, varied diets, while consuming much fewer calories than the western diet. Even those ones do not have appreciably longer life expectancies than my country, for example, with all its obesity problems.
  9. iNow said : "At this point, I'm more than comfortable claiming that my point has been amply supported, and yours proven false." The reason you can say that is because we have not been arguing the same point. Or, as I said before, you misunderstood what I was saying. If you go back over the last few posts you will note that I was talking about the whole Antarctic ice field, which covers the entire continent. I stated that there was no way this was likely to melt within the next 200 years, and probably not within 1000, which is true. I admit that the 1000 year time span is more problematic. However, we are talking about an incredible mass of ice, at a very low temperature - average minus 50 C. To melt it all would require an increase in temperature over Antarctica of more than 50 C, and a very substantial amount of time for all that ice to melt. Antarctica's average ice thickness is 2,100 metres (7,000 feet). This is not gonna melt in a hurry! http://www.antarcticconnection.com/antarctic/weather/snow-ice.shtml
  10. iNow I have NEVER seen a proper scientific report predicting the melting of the entire Antarctic ice mass in the next 200 years. If you have such a thing, feel free to post it. Sure, lots of predictions of ice melt round the fringes, but the entire ice mass?? Uh uh! Swansont said, and I agree, that the Antarctic ice mass is sufficient to cause a 60 metre sea level rise if it all melted. Even James Hansen does not predict anything like that within 200 years. The maximum IPCC prediction is 1 metre by 2100AD. So, iNow, either you misunderstand what I am saying, or you have a serious lack of understanding of the subject.
  11. Mokele I think you missed the point. The reason I have never seen such a report is that no such report exists. Climate scientists, even the disaster-mongers, do not believe that the vast bulk of ice in Antarctica is going to melt any time in the next few hundred years. Predicting ice melt around the fringes of the continent is one thing. Predicting the many kilometres thick ice in the centre at minus 50 C will melt. Well, if you believe that, how about the Loch Ness Monster??
  12. Swansont I have read a lot of material on global warming ideas. I have NEVER read any credible, grounded in science, account suggesting any sizeable fraction of the main, on land, ice mass of Antarctica will melt within 100 years. Everything I have read, that predicts melting, relates to the fringe of the continent, and especially the Antarctic Peninsular. The vast bulk of the land ice mass in Antarctica is not in danger of melting any time soon. Even Greenland, which is more at risk than Antarctica, will not melt, except at the fringes, for a long time to come. http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=78559 I quote : "It said that the entire Greenland ice sheet would melt over a period of thousands of years, if temperatures remained around 2 degrees centigrade (3.6 Fahrenheit) or more above the levels predating wholesale industrialization in the developed world." In other words, any risk of more than fringe ice melting is long term, rather than short term. Short term meaning within 200 years. I think humanity can do a hell of a lot in 200 years!
  13. iNow It appears that I cannot watch your reference. The link carried a message that it was not available to me since I lived outside the USA. I read the summary sections, and it appears that nothing there relates to the main part of Antarctica, which is what my last post was about. I repeat my message. There is no realistic chance that the vast bulk of the ice in Antarctica will melt any time in the next 100 years. Probably not any time in the next 1000. There is ice melt in the Antarctic Peninsular. However, that small part of the total appears to behave in terms of ice melt as if it were a part of a different country. The peninsular is a relatively tiny part of the whole, and supports a tiny part of the total ice mass. Here is a more sceptical view of the Antarctic ice melt. http://www.ecoworld.com/blog/2008/04/17/antarcticas-ice-mass/
  14. There are people who will try to suggest that Antarctica and Greenland are about to discharge their ice cover into the sea, and flood the world. In fact, that is extremely unlikely. Antarctica, for example, has an average temperature of minus 50 C. http://www.antarcticconnection.com/antarctic/weather/climate.shtml The biggest warming that has occurred in Antarctica has been on the Antarctic Peninsular, and amounts to less than 3 C. The rest of the continent has warmed to a level that is almost zero. To melt all the ice on Antarctica would require an enormous temperature increase. Seriously unlikely.
  15. Cameron Lots of things have been claimed to reverse the ageing process. Caloric restriction. Blueberries. Wolfberries. Resveratrol. To date, there is not a single thing that has been proven by proper scientific study to actually do that. Of the unproven things, caloric restriction and resveratrol are probably the best candidates for something that might, in the future, be shown to have the power to slow ageing. However, it is still too early to accept that as correct. Watch the results of future research. In the mean time, there are a whole range of things which we know reduce your chances of dying early. Exercise, good genetics, good diet, not smoking, drinking in moderation, good medical care, good stress management, proper rest and relaxation, good social and family and marital relationships etc. Average lifespan over the past 200 years has consistently increased. It is still getting longer, despite the increasing numbers of obese people amongst us. This has not happened because of any increase in potential lifespan. It has increased because fewer people die early. The main reason for this increase has been improvements in medical care. There are now excellent medications to counter high blood pressure, high LDL (bad cholesterol), arterial inflammation, and blood clotting. So many older people are now taking these regularly that the death rate from heart disease and strokes at an early age is dropping. Cancers are getting more prevalent, purely because cancer is a disease of old age, and a lot more people reach this status. The next big step will be highly effective drugs for preventing cancers. Watch this space....
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