I went to another lecture at the library tonight. It was given by Dr. William Dinklage, a professor at UVU. The topic was "Caring for the Earth." At least that's what it said on the library program that the school gave to me. Really it was entitled "Lessons from the Mud: Global Warming" or something like that. Somewhat misleading, because I thought it would have to do with implementing recycling programs or something like that. However, when it comes to caring for the Earth, global warming is bound to come up. Silly of me for not realizing it sooner.
The mud reference was to the small forams, which are small sea creatures that create their shells through CaCO2 (there isn't a subscript option here, so just know that that's carbon dioxide). Dr. Dinklage talked about how there are all sorts of different data that points to the anthropogenic cause of global warming. I asked a few questions at the end, and we got into sort of a discussion together about how it could be that there are natural causes of the warming phase, coupled with human causes. I suggested that if those factors were put together, with the natural rise of temperature being accelerated by human energy use, then the culprit might not only be us. He seemed intrigued and asked if I wanted to go into science. He seemed surprised when I told him no, I want to write fiction.
It was nice to speak with an intelligent, although extremely liberal by my standards, person who was excited by a student's questioning and not offended or put out. He didn't treat me like I was stupid or not smart enough to be at his lecture. He engaged me in conversation and asked questions to see if I could come up with a logical idea. Not that he was trying to trick me, no, I didn't feel like that at all. It felt more like he was trying to see how far I would take the topic and what other arguments I could come up with. Luckily I had my field book with my notes from class so I could show him that I knew what I was talking about and back up my ideas and questions with facts. It was very entertaining and exhilirating.
All in all I had a great time. I wish there were more adults like that, especially those who have PhD's and other certificates. Then perhaps more people would be inclined to try pushing education to its limits, if only they weren't made to feel inferior.