Tagged with robert e krebs

550 KRE The Basics of Earth Science

When I wasNewImage in high school, earth science was the class that was taken by the kids who didn’t really want to learn science., much like the stereotypical intro to geology in college which gets dubbed “Rocks for Jocks.” As someone who was a science nerd in his youth, I of course, didn’t take earth science (or geology) and so my knowledge of the subject didn’t expand beyond what I was taught in grade school science class.

It was with a sense of humility that I came to this book thinking that I’d learn something I didn’t know. The first problem came up when I realized that the typesetting of the book was faulty: The symbol ▯appeared in place of pretty much every special character, making nonsense of things like the descriptions of chemical reactions where ▯ appeared in place of ⇌ (somewhat miraculously, this lack of symbols resolved itself for the last few chapters).

The text itself largely consists of a dull recitation of facts. It’s as if Krebs got a hold of an outline of earth science study guide and just filled in the paragraphs. It’s enough to make the mind go dull, but then there was at least one dramatic error in the text (possibly more, but I have a grade-school understanding of earth science): at one point Krebs talks about sedimentary rocks metamorphosing into igneous rocks. I learned the correct answer as a dinosaur-obsessed first grader: Under high temperatures, sedimentary rocks do indeed metamorphose, but they metamorphose into metamorphic rocks (Krebs did manage to get this right in the section on the three kinds of rocks).

But the worst thing about this book is it turns out that Krebs is an anti-environmentalist climate change denier. Early in the book he discounts the need for things like post-consumer recycling and he repeatedly cites The Skeptical Environmentalist a much-criticized work that serves primarily to be used as propaganda by anti-environmentalist forces. When he gets to climate change, he repeats the same tired claims that have been peddled by the fossil fuel industry and their allies about how the change in the climate is probably not human caused and even if it was, it’s not worth doing anything about.

Overall, a garbage book, probably even worse than the Slovene language text that made me so angry a couple months ago.