But anecdotally, as this year has so tragically shown, there is evidence aplenty.
Plate tectonics as a science is less than 40 years old.
It is possible that common sense suggests what science has yet to confirm: that the movement among the world's tectonic plates may be one part of enormous dynamic system, with effects of one plate's shifting more likely than not to spread far, far away, quite possibly clear across the surface of the globe.
In recent decades, thanks largely to the controversial Gaia Theory developed by the British scientists James Lovelock, it has become ever more respectable to consider the planet as one immense and eternally interacting living system - the living planet, floating in space, every part of its great engine affecting every other, for good or for ill.
Mr. Lovelock's notion, which he named after the earth goddess of the Ancient Greeks, makes much of the delicacy of the balance that mankind's environmental carelessness increasingly threatens.
But his theory also acknowledges the somber necessity of natural happenings, many of which seem in human terms so tragically unjust, as part of a vast system of checks and balances.
The events that this week destroyed the shores of the Indian Ocean, and which leveled the city of Bam a year ago, were of unmitigated horror: but they may also serve some deeper planetary purpose, one quite hidden to our own beliefs.
It is worth noting that scientists have discovered that the geysers in Yellowstone National Park started to erupt much more frequently in the days immediately following a huge earthquake in central Alaska in 2002.
There turned out to be a connection, one hitherto quite unrealized, that intimately linked places thousands of miles apart.
Geologists are now looking for other possible links - sure in the knowledge that if real geological connections can be determined, then we may in due course be able to divine from events on one side of the planet indications that will allow us to warn people on the other - and so perhaps allow them to prepare, as those in today's Indian Ocean communities never were able, for the next time.
For one thing is certain, and comfortless: on earth, eternally restless and alive, there will, and without a scintilla of doubt, be a next time.