Watson, Lyall - Our planet's delicate thermostatic control
Type of Spiritual Experience
Watson says ‘it is not possible to identify the mechanism’ that controls these systems, nor avoid the conclusion that ‘the entire climate is being manipulated’. But if we start to think in terms of the mechanism being software, it becomes a great deal less problematic. It need not bother us at this stage who or what does the programming, but simply by accepting that there is a control system based on software solves many of the dilemmas about ‘why’ that Lyall himself poses in the paragraphs that follow. We should thus think in terms of software which is applicable to the concept of ‘air’, and software which applies to ‘nitrogen’, and to ‘oxygen’.
The observation does not say what systems interact with this system to help keep the levels as they are, but the percentage figures he quotes are important. There is a mathematical statement implied in his description, that the system – the software – possibly triggers other systems in order to keep the percentages of the gases concerned at certain levels. Thus there is a monitoring system, which on detection of any anomaly, triggers correction action via other systems.
As Watson says ‘the atmosphere cannot be just a fortunate one-off emanation’. There is system here and it is an extremely complicated designed system. He says that living things ‘make air’ for their own ends, but it may be better to think of this more in terms of the interaction between the systems of life and the air systems. There is a control loop, a dependency between systems that maintains the air constituents at the level required to support life of a certain kind. Life, the air systems, the plant systems and how they interact were not a fortuitous accident.
A description of the experience
Lyall Watson – Heaven’s Breath
For 3,500 million years, most of the surface of Earth has maintained a temperature which was both favourable for life and astonishingly constant, despite the fact that our planet turns before an uncontrolled radiant heater with an erratic output. It is not easy to identify the precise mechanism responsible for this delicate thermostatic control, but it becomes difficult to deny that there is control, that air temperature and perhaps even the entire climate of our planet are being manipulated.
The composition of the atmosphere has been equally serendipitous and remains largely mysterious. Almost everything about it violates the laws of chemistry. For a start, it is a highly combustible mixture and there should by now be no free nitrogen in it. Nitrogen normally reacts with oxygen, and all or most of both gases should long since have ended up in the ocean in the form of stable nitrate ions. But the air we breathe remains stubbornly uncombined, with concentrations of oxygen and nitrogen at a steady and separate 21 and 78 per cent respectively
Nor are either of these proportions arbitrary. If the abundance of oxygen was any greater, all life would be at risk. The probability of a forest fire increases by 70% for each 1% rise in oxygen concentration above the present level. If it formed 25% of the air, oxygen would leave all land vegetation in raging conflagration. Everything from the driest arctic tundra to the wettest tropical rain forest would burst into flame. And if the level of nitrogen, which is largely responsible for air pressure, were to fall to 75 parts per hundred, nothing could prevent the onset of global and possibly permanent glaciation.
The presence of methane in the contemporary atmosphere is equally problematic. It is toxic and highly unstable, combining readily with oxygen and vanishing almost as fast as it is formed. But something like 5% of all the photosynthetic energy of the entire biosphere is devoted to producing methane, mostly by fermentation in the fetid muds of marshes and wet lands. It could be regarded simply as a waste product, part at least of it comes from the farts of ruminant animals, but the fact is that without methane, oxygen concentration would rise by a dangerous 1% in every 12,000 years.
Another significant portion of Earth’s energy budget is devoted to adding ammonia to the atmosphere. It is no longer needed to help keep the planet warm, but the biosphere still produces about 1,000 million tons of it each year. Why? Well, one of the consequences of having nitrogen and oxygen in the air, is their tendency to combine under certain circumstances to produce powerful corrosives. Every thunderstorm creates tons of nitric acid and were it not for the neutralising effect of ammonia, the soils all over the Earth would become intolerably sour and hostile.
Everything points to the same conclusion. The atmosphere cannot be just a fortunate one-off emanation from some ancient rocks. Life does not merely borrow gases from the environment and return them unchanged. Our air begins to look more and more like an artefact, like something made by, and maintained by, living things for their own ends.