|Watts Up With That | Nov 17, 2014 | Dr. Tim Ball|
A major reason why Al Gore’s deceptive use of the melting Arctic ice was so effective is because most people have little idea what the real world is like. They have no image of the Arctic Oceans, shape or size, partly because they effectively live in a two-dimensional world. That is not a problem for them or society until someone exploits it. Gore was part of a global political agenda that exploited it. It was an agenda that expanded H L Mencken’s comment about politics to a global scale.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”Now, it was less likely people would know it was imaginary.
People have no accurate image of the Arctic Ocean because of how they are born, nature, and educated, nurture. They are primarily a combination of nature/nurture that prioritizes what is necessary for individual survival. In addition, their inabilities are a result of several things, but primarily, a limited ability to grasp and imagine three dimensions. Their daily visual stimuli tell them it is a flat earth. As humans moved to expand their horizons, they were confronted with the challenge of producing two-dimensional maps that attempt to portray a three-dimensional world. I learned about all these limitations when teaching and running labs for students using weather maps, topographic maps, aerial photographs and satellite imagery. It is why two-dimensional weather maps are adequate, but a forecaster needs to be able to visualize the third dimension depicted by isobars.
One of the most difficult ideas to explain to students about weather and climate is the Coriolis Effect. First, there is the challenge of it causing a change, so it appears logical to assume there is a force involved. As a result, people speak incorrectly of a Coriolis Force. Second, is the challenge of understanding a three-dimensional world, when our perceptions are essentially two-dimensional. Nowhere is this more evident than in map projections and people’s perceptions and understanding of the world.
Human adaptation of the third dimension is very much an intellectual, philosophical, and perceptual issue. The “Greek Miracle”, from approximately 700 to 400 BC, is embodied in the Parthenon. It wasn’t just the mathematical proportions, but also accommodation to a world seen by the curvature of the eye. The base of the Parthenon is not level, but raised in the center. If built level then, if viewed from either end, it would appear to dip in the middle.