My knowledge of geology is, well, more or less non-existent. However, thanks to Robert Laughlin’s recent essay in The American Scholar, “What the Earth Knows,” it just got a boost.
Laughlin, a Nobel Prize winning physicist at Stanford University frames his survey of geological time as relevant background to current debates about climate and energy,
Any serious conversation about the planet’s climate and our energy future must begin, paradoxically, with a backward look at geologic time. The reason for this is that the way forward is fogged by misunderstandings about the earth.
The geologic record suggests that climate ought not to concern us too much when we’re gazing into the energy future, not because it’s unimportant, but because it’s beyond our power to control.
The journey from his thesis to his conclusion is an enlightening, well-written account of what we know about the earth’s history and how we have come to know it. Well worth the few minutes it took to read.