Regarding Dec. 13 editorial "Humankind Cannot Match Destructive, Polluting Force Of Nature." I think Mr. Williams' myopic view of the universe, solar system and our planet is not reassuring for his position as a voice in the press. Volcanoes, floods, earthquakes, meteors and all the nasty things mentioned in his piece have been an integral part of nature and earth for 3 to 4 billion years. Without them, no life forms would exist on earth today. I doubt these nasty events will cease just because mankind appeared on the scene 150,000 years ago.
It's difficult to grasp such periods of time, but they can be brought down to size by using a scale of 1 second equals 1,000 years. Using that scale, 150,000 years for mankind becomes 2.5 minutes, and 3 billion years for nature becomes 34.7 days. It is easy to see we haven't been around very long compared to nature!
If there were no volcanoes, earth would have no Hawaiian Islands, nor thousands of other islands. There would not be hundreds of sea mounts which are havens for sea life, and there would be a great reduction in fertile soil and its plant life. Volcanoes result from earth's mantel and floating tectonic plates, whose movement, in addition to volcanoes, creates mountains, valleys and other geological features. Without these, we would have no earthquakes, no floods and no variation in land elevation. If earth had water, it would be evenly distributed over the entire smooth surface of the planet. There would be no land masses, no land animals, no land plants, no humans and no lots of other things.
If there were no asteroids, comets and meteors, not only would our planet have no water, there would not be a 23-degree tilt of earth's axis, which produces the annual seasons. There would be no moon to keep earth in a stable, tilted, rotation without wobbling, and no moon to change earth's 10-hour day of very long ago, to the present 24-hour day. With no water and no moon, if earth were still in orbit around the sun, as you would like, Mr. Williams, there would be no floods, hurricanes, cyclones, monsoons, as well as no life. So don't worry, you would never have to experience the situation.
The preceding items barely scratch the surface of nature's forces that have worked together over eons of time, to make earth what is it today, and keep it that way in the long term. Humans cannot pick and choose which forces or sub-forces they want, and which they don't want. The earth, moon and sun are a coordinated subset of our solar system, and heaven stop us if we try to change that, as we are presently doing. But if you want an environment on a perfectly smooth planet, with no: water, floods, hurricanes, tectonic plates, earthquakes, volcanoes, asteroids, comets, meteors, etc., I suggest you get in your little space ship, use all that hot air you have, and go look for your paradise.
I know of nothing in the universe that says mankind must exist, or if it does exist, nothing that says it must be able to match the forces of nature. That idea has no meaning. It's like saying a grain of sand on one side of a scale must match a 100-ton boulder on the other side.
James R. Wisialowski