On Agricultural Science

One might expect a senior science editor (a journalist) to emulate the professionals within her adopted field, and remain close to the data. Legitimate scientists should manifest a sense of humility, acknowledge the limits of their findings, and refuse to extrapolate from the known to the unknown.  Such humility is a foreign language for Sharon Begley, currently of Newsweek, who violates every ethical principle in science through her wide-ranging tirades on everything that is man-made.  The depth of her doom and gloom is unfathomable.

What caught my attention at first was her provocative article entitled: Do School Systems Aggravate Differences in Natural Ability (Wall Street Journal 6/2/2006).  She generates her own disturbing questions, like “Why doesn’t 12 years of schooling raise the performance of kids who start out behind?”  Her liberal bleeding is so blatant, in spite of her science camouflage, that she generates her own anti-education hypothesis, and then sets out to prove it through a basket-full of innuendo and anecdotes broadcast like seeds in the wind.  While her muddled intention was to report new findings in intelligence and school performance, it became a tirade on the gap in performance between the haves and the have-nots, and how the misguided schools “lock-in” these differences.  She loves junk science based upon descriptive data, and draws incredible conclusions out of thin air.

As an inmate of the global warming cult, Begley and Newsweek conspired to make a hoax of the climate change deniers, and their assertion that plants prosper in warmer temperatures.  Her technique is beautifully illustrated in her more recent epistle on science :  Heat Your Vegetables (Newsweek, May 5, 2008).  Her lead-in byline is “Crops in the tropics will do worse, since extra heat where it’s already hot hurts more than it helps.”  This sentence would appear to be her scientific conclusion from her article that follows this byline, her expertise on agricultural production from the equator to the arctic zones.  By “extra heat” she means global warming.  Her reference to where it is already hot is fanning the flames of doom and gloom, and a clarion call to start constructing sea-walls.

A Begley style disturbing question is:  “Why don’t sick plants catch up with healthy plants during the growing season?”  This gap in growth, in plants, in education, in all human performance is based upon intrinsic differences among individuals and their nourishing environments.  What Begley refuses to acknowledge is the importance of any genetic endowment which predisposes an individual to grow in selected ways, and less-so in others.  In Begley’s brain, we are all created equally, and any gaps should be corrected by society and its institutions.  This makes us all the same.  The gap of consequence is between Begley’s ears, the usual site of the human brain.

Her opening paragraph follows:

“Whenever global warming began looking too bleak—with such threats as dengue fever spreading like kudzu out of the tropics, storm surges turning coasts into continental shelf and Katrinas coming almost as often as Mardi Gras—I consoled myself by turning to the Greening Earth Society. A creation of the coal industry, whose product emits more greenhouse gases than any other fossil fuel, it painted climate change in Edenic terms, promising that the atmosphere’s rising levels of carbon dioxide would act like airborne fertilizer, boosting crop yields and turning marginal regions into breadbaskets.”

This opening paragraph touches on every hot button issue in global warming, with notable reference to “airborne fertilizer”, an apt characterization of her entire piece.  To counter the coal industry’s assertion that warming will boost crop yields, the global scientist, Begley, starts with the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas.  Shrinking glaciers are the stock in trade of the global warming alarmists.  This glacier reportedly provides 70% of the Ganges River’s flow during India’s dry season, a scientific assertion that might be questioned on its face.  Shrinking glaciers in China are added to the mix of alarmism, impairing dry season irrigation of both crops and bathing.  As a science reporter of agricultural output, she might examine the relative contribution of irrigation versus rainfall in the production of food for the earth’s starving population.  She adds double cropping in India as a fatality when the Gangotri Glacier is gone, and the Ganges is a dry riverbed.  It may be too late to save the planet!

This naturally leads her to consider food riots and hoarding rice.  Finally, she actually touches upon agricultural output and climate considerations.  She states that North Dakota is not the nation’s breadbasket, although she has probably never seen North Dakota.  With ironic tongue in cheek, she suggests looking for Siberian wheat in your favorite ciabata (bread) any day now.  Her level of agricultural expertise does not acknowledge that winter wheat, imported from Siberia, has been the standard for wheat production in the States for decades.  She has been eating her own words for years, in total ignorance.

While glossing over life-giving rainfall, she quickly converts rain into “fits and starts—dry spells interrupted by deluges. That is a prescription for withering crops and then washing them away.”  This kind of convoluted thinking is mainstream propaganda for all liberals who harbor a hidden agenda, and know nothing about agriculture.  The agenda appears to be based upon a hatred of human activity, productivity, creativity, adaptability, energy, and life itself.

As her final nail in the coffin of the deniers, Begley states that plants need a precise amount of sunlight and day length to thrive, and just because climate zones shift north doesn’t mean crops can easily shift with them.  Once again, Begley is out of her depth, as the breadbasket, with wheat as its staple, prospers all over the globe.  In the North American breadbasket wheat produces well from Mexico to Northern Canada, including North Dakota. Crops have already adapted beautifully to climate change, and with man’s hybrid ingenuity and innovative farming methods, agricultural production is being maximized across the globe, in spite of the ghost-like demons of global warming.  Begley and her many environmental friends are spreading pure fertilizer across the face of the earth.  Wheat is vastly more adaptable than all the environmentalists, who appear to have lost any adaptability to the earth’s changing nature.

What Begley and the hoard of earth worshipers ignore is the stark contrast between a warm earth and the earth during an ice age.  Pre-human earth history includes an ice pack, a glacier, along the Kansas-Nebraska border so thick that the spring thaw lasted for thousands of years.  It is still thawing.  While North Dakota may not be the precise middle of the breadbasket, the Mississippi River basin far south of the Kansas border was uninhabitable by humans.  Estimated at 600 feet in depth along the northern border of Kansas, the glacier rendered this breadbasket worthless.  At another time the Kansas City area was at sea level, 700 feet higher, or the land 700 feet lower, than it is today.  Such extreme relativity is difficult for environmentalists to process.

Why, then, did the glaciers melt, and the seas retreat, leaving Kansas, and the rest of the breadbasket high, habitable, and fertile?  Without global warming, virtually nothing that is scientifically knowable today would exist, including mankind himself.  And exactly what is it that causes us to worship a glacier, when absolutely nothing, human or otherwise, grows on a glacier?   When some glaciers disappear, the earth becomes habitable for the first time.  Warming is a blessing that sustains life on earth!

As a warming fatalist, Begley elevates a constant earth to a god of all creation, and lowers man and his superb accomplishments to a slime-bag of global proportions.  There is no science in this earth view, and Sharon Begley’s perverted writings illustrate this point magnificently.  Scientists trying to understand black holes might focus profitably between Begley’s ears.

Leave a Reply