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Greenhouse Extinctions

A remarkable discovery has emerged in astrophysics: key properties of the universe have just the right values to make life possible. Most scientists prefer to explain away this uniqueness, insisting that a number of unseen universes must therefore exist, each randomly different. Astrophysicist Bernard Haisch joined George Knapp in the first half of the show to propose the alternative—that the special properties of our universe reflect an underlying intelligent consciousness.

In the second half of the program, veteran journalist Chris Taylor talked about how the Star Wars franchise has conquered our culture with a sense of lightness and exuberance, while remaining serious enough to influence politics, and spread a spirituality that appeals to religious groups and atheists alike.

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Greenhouse Extinctions

Show Archive
Date: Saturday - May 26, 2007
Host: Art Bell
Guests: Peter Ward

Professor of Earth and Space Sciences and Astrobiologist for NASA, Peter Ward (Book Link) discussed his vision of the end of the world based on past mass extinctions.

While most scientists agree that a meteor impact killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, Ward said our planet's 15 other ancient mass extinctions were caused by short-term global warming. According to Ward, high levels of CO2 increased global temperatures, contributing to conditions that gave rise to a series of bacteria in the oceans that produced toxic hydrogen sulfide gas. Eventually, this gas erupted into the atmosphere and poisoned animals and plants on the planet's surface.

Atmospheric CO2 is currently at 380 ppm and rising 2 ppm every year, Ward explained. He said the geological record indicates 'greenhouse extinctions' occur when CO2 levels go beyond 1000 ppm and when all the ice caps have melted. Ward estimated that we have 1000 years before this mass extinction process begins, unless we begin reducing man-made CO2 emissions now. In the meantime, we can expect a host of problems, including coastal flooding and food shortages, caused by rising sea levels, he warned.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Saturday May 26, 2007

  • Time
    Alan Parsons Project
  • Time
    Hootie & the Blowfish