Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME FORUMS BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:19 am

<< Week of November 28, 2014 >>
Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
28 Day Month

29 Day Month

30 Day Month

1 Day Month

2 Day Month

3 Day Month

4 Day Month





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 103 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next
Climate Apocalypse 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4249
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1170
Thanked: 1224 times in 920 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Tonight I heard an interview with Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research.

The key points he made were

1. Current trends suggest the world will be four degrees centigrade hotter by the end of this century.
2. This temperature rise may sound small (think difference between Florida and New York), but it is severe.
3. The real comparison is with human fever. Running a temperature of one degree makes you sick. A four degree temperature can be deadly.
4. Sea level rise caused by a four degree rapid rise in global average temperature would be catastrophic.
5. Technology now exists to hold global temperature rise to less than two degrees.
6. Political will does not yet exist to address global warming.
7. He is optimistic this will change.



Last edited by Robert Tulip on Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:06 am, edited 2 times in total.



Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:01 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 4965
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1090
Thanked: 1061 times in 829 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Maybe your slight swipe at the energy companies wasn't ad hominem (whether you understand that term as 'against' the man or 'to' the man). But the comment, "I know it seems fanciful, but any such evolutionary vision is going to seem fanciful to those who are stuck in the mud," was. That is saying that disagreement can have no merit because of the inherent dullness of anyone who's not on board. And from what you've presented, this is all your own idea, not vetted by the science community. It seems unreasonable to expect concurrence with something you concede has a fanciful air to it.

But as well, I fail to see how this vision could come about in the absence of drastic coercion. Humans are a bit attached to their culture, which resides in places and structures, largely. We also aren't enticed by mere survival, when you get down to it, needing to have survival on our own cultural terms. Unless millions of people became suddenly convinced that they would die quickly unless they abandoned their land, they wouldn't care to make such a change. They'd choose the possibility of dying out over a long period over some alternative that promised them long-term safety but cut them off from their culture. The artificial 'land' wouldn't exist anyway, because such a long lead-time would be needed to construct the islands. You'd need to have all that space pre-sold, so to speak, in order to go ahead.


_________________
Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.

Clifford Geertz


The following user would like to thank DWill for this post:
Robert Tulip
Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:17 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4249
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1170
Thanked: 1224 times in 920 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
This 'To The Sea' idea can be considered as science fiction, except that I do think it is realistic.

If we have sea level rise, there are tens of millions of people in countries such as Bangladesh, Vietnam and China whose homes will be inundated. As well, there are now tens of millions of refugees and internally displaced persons who cannot find another country to accept them. These people might well be highly interested in moving to new permanent ocean based locations if this can be proven to be feasible, and if it provides a base to manage new agricultural and aquacultural food production systems at sea.

The technological argument is that fresh water floats on sea water. The ocean is very deep, averaging more than three kilometers. A cube of water of size one kilometer (a teralitre) would provide a surface 25 meters above the ocean surface. On this scale, construction of 25 million tonnes in weight could be supported before the structure would be pushed down to the waterline. This is about 50 times the displacement of the largest current vessels. Such a structure located in the Indian Ocean would follow a stable path around the current (see map below), and could be launched on small scale and gradually expanded if successful.

This is all unproven, and needs an incremental starting point. The two technologies that can be used to explore the feasibility of these ideas are fresh water transport through the sea in fabric bags as proposed at www.waterbag.com, and ocean based algae production as proposed by the NASA OMEGA project.

Large scale algae production at sea is possibly the only way to prevent catastrophic global warming, by using the forces of nature (tide, wave, sun, current, wind) to suck carbon out of the air and convert it into food, fuel and fertilizer. My view is that this can be economically managed by using the innovative fact that fresh water floats on salt water, as a way to restore harmony with nature.

Image



The following user would like to thank Robert Tulip for this post:
DWill
Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:11 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
One more post ought to do it.

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3269
Location: NC
Thanks: 1134
Thanked: 1183 times in 891 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
Tonight I heard an interview with Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research.

The key points he made were

1. Current trends suggest the world will be four degrees centigrade hotter by the end of this century.
<snip>


These kinds of predictions of x degrees warming by the year xxxx are inherently preposterous. Weather is such a vastly complex process with so many interrelated and interdependent meteorological elements and phenomena. We are not even remotely close to understanding all the many points of data that come in to play. Climatologists cannot even predict a rain event in a specific locale with 100 percent accuracy. And, yet, some guy predicts the world will be four degrees warmer by the end of this century? Ultimately such absurd predictions discredit the scientific process. It may be four degrees warmer by the end of this century (or this decade) or four degrees cooler. We simply don't know.


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
DWill
Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:19 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4249
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1170
Thanked: 1224 times in 920 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Geo, this "some guy" happens to be one of the world's most prestigious climate scientists, and he is talking about observed trends. You should be careful about making such denialist comments, I fear it shows how your media sources have infected you. Black propaganda of the Fox variety has led many people to hold ignorant views about climate denial, which really is as bad as holocaust denial.

In the Climate Change Science Compendium from 2009,
the United Nations Secretary General wrote:
The science has become more irrevocable than ever: Climate change is happening. The evidence is all around us. And unless we act, we will see catastrophic consequences including rising sea levels, droughts and famine, and the loss of up to a third of the world’s plant and animal species. We need a new global agreement to tackle climate change, and this must be based on the soundest, most robust and up-to-date science available. Through its overview of the latest definitive science, this Climate Change Science Compendium reaffirms the strong evidence outlined in the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report that climate change is continuing apace. In fact, this report shows that climate change is accelerating at a much faster pace than was previously thought by scientists. New scientific evidence suggests important tipping points, leading to irreversible changes in major Earth systems and ecosystems, may already have been reached or even overtaken. Climate change, more than any other challenge facing the world today, is a planetary crisis that will require strong, focused global action.


Perhaps Geo, you may care to read some of this book, available for free online, or watch the lecture linked at the opening post, unless you find the truth too painful.



Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:04 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 4965
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1090
Thanked: 1061 times in 829 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
But geo didn't make a 'denialist' claim. He simply said that given the emergent complexity of climate, specific figures such as that given by this authority are an estimate, greatly subject to revision.


_________________
Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.

Clifford Geertz


Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:55 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4249
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1170
Thanked: 1224 times in 920 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
To say, as Geo did, that a comment by a leading climate scientist is "inherently preposterous" and an "absurd prediction" denies that it is possible for climate science to extrapolate current global trends. Maybe you are splitting hairs and say that these extreme condemnations of climate science are not denying that climate change is occurring, but Geo certainly is denying that science can observe it when he denigrates the considered consensus opinion of a leading climate scientist as the opinion of "some guy".

And then for Geo to bring out the canard that "Climatologists cannot even predict a rain event in a specific locale with 100 percent accuracy" is one of the oldest and weakest lines in the denialist playbook. Weather is not climate. Of course we cannot predict weather with complete accuracy. But the fact is that climate impacts have been faster than IPCC predictions, for example with loss of Arctic sea ice, as you would understand if you followed the science.

I get the impression, DWill, that you did not bother to look at the material linked at the opening post, such as this slide show. It has charts showing the steady rise in global temperature over the last century. It quotes a 2009 MIT Study saying there is "95% chance that “Business-as-usual” temperature increase will exceed 3.5ºC (6.3ºF) in 2095." Now, you can just agree with Geo that this is alarmist rubbish and ignore it with the denialists, rejecting science, or you can take it seriously. You can take a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

From that slide show, here is an interesting comment.
Winston Churchill wrote:
“They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent… Owing to past neglect, in the face of the plainest warnings, we have entered upon a period of danger. The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences…. We cannot avoid this period, we are in it now…”
November 12, 1936



Last edited by Robert Tulip on Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:00 am, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:43 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
One more post ought to do it.

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3269
Location: NC
Thanks: 1134
Thanked: 1183 times in 891 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
Geo, this "some guy" happens to be one of the world's most prestigious climate scientists, and he is talking about observed trends. You should be careful about making such denialist comments, I fear it shows how your media sources have infected you. Black propaganda of the Fox variety has led many people to hold ignorant views about climate denial, which really is as bad as holocaust denial.

In the Climate Change Science Compendium from 2009,
the United Nations Secretary General wrote:
The science has become more irrevocable than ever: Climate change is happening. The evidence is all around us. And unless we act, we will see catastrophic consequences including rising sea levels, droughts and famine, and the loss of up to a third of the world’s plant and animal species. We need a new global agreement to tackle climate change, and this must be based on the soundest, most robust and up-to-date science available. Through its overview of the latest definitive science, this Climate Change Science Compendium reaffirms the strong evidence outlined in the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report that climate change is continuing apace. In fact, this report shows that climate change is accelerating at a much faster pace than was previously thought by scientists. New scientific evidence suggests important tipping points, leading to irreversible changes in major Earth systems and ecosystems, may already have been reached or even overtaken. Climate change, more than any other challenge facing the world today, is a planetary crisis that will require strong, focused global action.


Perhaps Geo, you may care to read some of this book, available for free online, or watch the lecture linked at the opening post, unless you find the truth too painful.


On the contrary, Robert, I don't doubt anthropogenic causes for climate change nor have I fallen prey to FoxNews propaganda since I don't watch FoxNews (or any other television news for that matter). I am merely observing the absurdity of specific claims that the world will increase by x degrees. Given the complex nature of climatology, such predictions are highly speculative at best. As for taking a page out of the "denialist's playbook," I will reassert my own observation that the fact that we cannot predict local weather events is a good indicator that any kind of specific claims for x degrees by xxxx are inherently absurd.

It amazes me that you would resort to calling me a 'denialist' when I have already acknowledged that global climate change is only one of many dire problems the human species faces. To claim that we have to take drastic steps to address global climate change seems rather simplistic and presumes that we fully understand the problem enough to formulate an effective response. I would challenge you on taking this particular divisive tact. You are basically saying that those who disagree with you are part of the problem and then you liken them to Nazi holocaust deniers.

If it helps, I was responding primarily to your summary of Schellnhuber's findings and especially your number one which asserts that "current trends suggest the world will be four degrees centigrade hotter by the end of this century." I find this statement to be so spurious and vague that we can reasonably dismiss the entire post as malarkey. You know damned well that the actual science behind global climate change is much too complex to make such simplistic assertions.


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


Last edited by geo on Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.



The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
wsbolips
Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:51 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4249
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1170
Thanked: 1224 times in 920 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Geo, it amazes me that someone so intelligent and rational as you can be so badly misinformed.

Schellnhuber was a keynote speaker at a major international conference in the series "Four Degrees and Beyond". This material should be front page news but it is buried by spurious so-called skepticism in the media. Fox is just the extreme end of the popular emotional resistance to facts.

I stand by my description of your "preposterous" statement as constituting climate denial that is as morally bad as holocaust denial. Four degrees warming in this century is a consensus scientific extrapolation of current trends. Calling it "preposterous" is climate change denial. People who say the Nazis did not kill six million Jews are flatly denying massive scientific evidence. With global warming, we face equally strong massive scientific evidence of the prospect of cataclysmic planetary change that will kill far more people than the Nazis did unless we take decisive global action. If you take the time to look at the links I have provided in this thread, you will find that you should retract your criticisms.

My statements reflect scientific consensus. They are not "malarkey". It is far from "simplistic" to say we have to do something about it. DWill introduced the idea that I am suggesting 'drastic' response. I am not. If the USA diverted 5% of its bloated military budget to the real security threat of global warming, by funding research and development of sustainable commercial technology for energy supply, the problem could be fixed.

It is a bad psychological syndrome that ignorance of science is so pervasive even among people who respect science. It seems people want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend the problem will go away. It will not, it will just get worse.



Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:53 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
One more post ought to do it.

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3269
Location: NC
Thanks: 1134
Thanked: 1183 times in 891 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
Geo, it amazes me that someone so intelligent and rational as you can be so badly misinformed.

Schellnhuber was a keynote speaker at a major international conference in the series "Four Degrees and Beyond". This material should be front page news but it is buried by spurious so-called skepticism in the media. Fox is just the extreme end of the popular emotional resistance to facts.

I stand by my description of your "preposterous" statement as constituting climate denial that is as morally bad as holocaust denial. Four degrees warming in this century is a consensus scientific extrapolation of current trends. Calling it "preposterous" is climate change denial. People who say the Nazis did not kill six million Jews are flatly denying massive scientific evidence. With global warming, we face equally strong massive scientific evidence of the prospect of cataclysmic planetary change that will kill far more people than the Nazis did unless we take decisive global action. If you take the time to look at the links I have provided in this thread, you will find that you should retract your criticisms.

My statements reflect scientific consensus. They are not "malarkey". It is far from "simplistic" to say we have to do something about it. DWill introduced the idea that I am suggesting 'drastic' response. I am not. If the USA diverted 5% of its bloated military budget to the real security threat of global warming, by funding research and development of sustainable commercial technology for energy supply, the problem could be fixed.

It is a bad psychological syndrome that ignorance of science is so pervasive even among people who respect science. It seems people want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend the problem will go away. It will not, it will just get worse.


The sentence above (in bold) is the kind of unfounded assertion that I'm challenging. It's far from conclusive that we can do anything to change the path we're on (not that we shouldn't try.) It would be nice if the world could come together as a single community and address global climate change. I've never said we should ignore the problem or not address it. But honestly, I don't think I need to say any more because you keep putting words in my mouth.

Assertions that the earth is going to be 4 degrees warmer by the end of the century only furthers the pervasive disrespect of science and widens the divide that exists. The scientific data cannot make such exact predictions at this point in time and probably never will.


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:37 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4249
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1170
Thanked: 1224 times in 920 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Wow Geo, you are a real denialist! I have not put words in your mouth, I have quoted you.

The call for massive expansion of research and development into new technology to prevent catastrophic climate change was made by a distinguished panel including three Nobel Economics Laureates, as published at the Copenhagen Consensus and http://fixtheclimate.com/. When you accuse me of 'malarkey' you are also accusing my sources of lacking credibility. I really think you should investigate the sources before you shoot your mouth off like that.

My proposal for large scale oceanic algae production is compatible with what the Laureates rank first (climate engineering) and with their second priority, energy technology. Please have a look at these links before you dismiss them unseen.

You say you don't doubt anthropogenic causes for climate change, you just doubt the ability of scientists to measure it and of humanity to "do anything to change the path we're on". This sort of extreme pessimism is like a death warrant for the planet. It still amounts to denial.



Last edited by Robert Tulip on Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:40 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Masters


Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 474
Location: Texas
Thanks: 38
Thanked: 95 times in 80 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
t depends what you mean by coherent. Coherence of ideas requires more than just internal consistency. If I say I want to foul my nest because I am selfish and will not have to worry about the impact of my deeds, and I don't care if my children die young, yes that can appear to be a perfectly consistent argument, considered in isolation.
I'm late with this. Don't feel like a reply is expected.

Yes. This is what I'm talking about! If I can acquire bigger feathers in my nest through the fouling of yours, or from stealing them from your nest box, assuming I can get away with it, why shouldn't I?
Quote:
However, it does not cohere with any sense of moral responsibility, public good, future consequences or duty.
I think it does contain a sense of moral responsibility - and one not so different from yours! I am a bigger, stronger, faster, more intelligent (talking imaginary birds here) creature than you. I deserve every good thing I am able to get. I think it would be immoral not to give my offspring, likely to be superior specimens as well, the best chance they can possibly have. If the negative of this is that the less gifted ones have to suffer to an even greater degree, so what?
Quote:
There are many memes that carry the seed of their own destruction. Nazism and communism are good examples; they seemed coherent to many people, and were successful for a while, but were based on false premises, and were not sustainable. This means that ultimately they were incoherent with regard to any claim to serve a public good.
True. But does this charge distinguish them from global capitalism-corporatism? I'm guessing, given the thread title, you'd say Not necessarily. My view is that it's one thing to say that such-and-such modes of governance are examples of flawed thought after they've imploded/exploded and another, more constructive thing, to say that it's the system rather than conduct within the system that's the problem prior to their collapse.


_________________
The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? - Jeremy Bentham


The following user would like to thank Kevin for this post:
Robert Tulip
Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:59 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4249
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1170
Thanked: 1224 times in 920 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Thanks Kevin, these are interesting comments about the morality of capitalism and our climate predicament.

It is one thing to foul another bird's nest for the advantage of your own offspring, but the climate analogy is that our global economy is fouling the planet on which we all rely for life. It is about fouling your own nest, which really is very shortsighted and unsustainable.

Even taking your metaphor of capitalism as fouling others' nests through competition, it is dubious that this dog-eat-dog attitude is an evolutionarily stable strategy for modern humanity. In nature such capricious behavior is rare. Birds do not shit in each others nests as far as I have heard, perhaps because such behavior would invite retaliation, to no benefit. Lions kill the offspring of other lions if they can, but I doubt that this 'law of the jungle' is a good model for civilized human conduct. Contemporary evolution requires the steady triumph of reason over instinct, if we are to prevent catastrophe. Human brains got us into this pickle, and human brains have to get us out of it. Perhaps you can suggest other examples from nature that provide an evolutionary model?

Yes I support free markets, because they reward skill and provide incentive and resources for innovation, encourage the rapid diffusion of new methods, and are compatible with evolution by allowing mutations to succeed or fail on their merits. However, following Hayek and North, free markets only work where there is a strong government that focuses on setting rules of law that provide a transparent basis for equality of opportunity and protection of property. Such rule of law has been corrupted in countries such as the USA by the prostitution of the political class by money.

The fact that capitalism often works badly does not mean that the underlying principles of the capitalist system are flawed, only that they are not applied very well in practice. My view is that the 'greed is good' mentality is a corruption of an underlying sound principle of reward for skill. The Biblical idea in Matthew 25 is 'to those who have will be given.' The myopic selfishness of climate denial distorts this sound principle by ignoring the balancing call for love of neighbor. Blind greed has been fostered by an individualistic culture that ignores the big picture. But salvation does not require some collectivist revolution, it is rather that incremental evolutionary reform, using the resources of the capitalist system, should be used to redeem us from our headlong idiocy.

The trauma of the Second World War was almost unimaginably immense. I don't know why people imagine they have learned the lessons of that upheaval, or that the psychological syndromes that led to that conflict have somehow been expunged from modern culture. The willful blindness towards climate change is just as morally sick as any of the pathologies of Nazism and Communism.

Looking further at the brilliant work of the Copenhagen Consensus at http://fixtheclimate.com/ I am reading a paper on the need for new technology to stabilize the atmosphere, and how tax measures go nowhere near the scale of change required. I would like to see these basic principles on the table in the public debate. At the moment we barely have public knowledge of the nature of reality, let alone wide support for a practical strategy to fix the climate.



Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:09 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Masters


Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 474
Location: Texas
Thanks: 38
Thanked: 95 times in 80 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
Even taking your metaphor of capitalism as fouling others' nests through competition, it is dubious that this dog-eat-dog attitude is an evolutionarily stable strategy for modern humanity. In nature such capricious behavior is rare. Birds do not shit in each others nests as far as I have heard, perhaps because such behavior would invite retaliation, to no benefit. Lions kill the offspring of other lions if they can, but I doubt that this 'law of the jungle' is a good model for civilized human conduct.
I think it is. At least I won't dismiss it outright! So what is this law of the jungle? Kill or Be Killed? Might Makes Right? Those are probably the two most popular conceptions of the term. Here is how Kipling summarized it in The Jungle Book - Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they. But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is - Obey! The Law of the Jungle, then, is primarily a call to adhere to the constructs of society - in Kipling's case, British society. A call to resist anarchy. And the funny thing is, the evidence suggests a call to resist American lawlessness in particular!

I get the impression you're presenting civilized conduct as being something apart from those who follow the law of the jungle. What is capricious about a lion who kills the offspring cubs of the previous male? It is only through this that 1) the lionesses will mate (at least it greatly increases the chances and 2) eliminates the likely rivals to his own offspring. It conforms to the Law.
Quote:
Contemporary evolution requires the steady triumph of reason over instinct, if we are to prevent catastrophe.
Well what is so great about evolution? Would not the roach likely turn out to be, if not the more evolved species, the one most likely to succeed should the planet become flooded with a massive amount of radiation? What is evolved one day is extinct the next! The dinosaur unable to survive, to put it context of the previous sentence, the 'nuclear winter' of its day. The sabre-tooth cat hunting its prey to extinction. The dodo bird, unafraid of humans and unaware of the great civilized conduct our species regularly exhibits... anyway, back to the eating of the young. As a child, I had a gerbil. I guess I must have had multiple gerbils. In any case, soon there was a small pack of baby gerbils. At some point as my parents held a house party the mama gerbil ate her young. The explanation arrived at is that she was scared of the noise and did it to protect her young. I've wondered about this... capricious act on her part? I don't know.
Quote:
Human brains got us into this pickle, and human brains have to get us out of it.
But if you were to believe that the model we are following is so out of line, with no realistic chance of righting the ship, you might think a catastrophe is what is needed! Really though, I'd rather not experience it.
Quote:
Perhaps you can suggest other examples from nature that provide an evolutionary model?
I don't think I can. When it comes down to it I'm not so comfortable with looking to other species for a model of proper ethical conduct. For one thing, I can't even understand a gerbil. I'm not so quick to dismiss their way of doing things, or to assume our species has a better way of looking at it. EDIT: I'm reminded of an argument by JS Mill in which he says that it's better to be Socrates (or Aristotle perhaps) dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. Maybe, but how does he know? I read the part about capitalism, but I deleted my response to it. I'm not up to the task at this time.
Quote:
At the moment we barely have public knowledge of the nature of reality, let alone wide support for a practical strategy to fix the climate.
It does look bleak.


_________________
The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? - Jeremy Bentham


Last edited by Kevin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.



The following user would like to thank Kevin for this post:
Robert Tulip
Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:13 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4249
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1170
Thanked: 1224 times in 920 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Hi Kevin. Rudyard Kipling was one of my favorite authors when I was a boy, especially the Jungle Books. Your suggestion that Kipling was presenting an analogy for human life in his poem The Law of the Jungle is only partly true, in my opinion. The wolf pack is more akin to primitive human social organisation, where no group larger than the clan has effective power. Social evolution has seen steady growth in the scale of social organisation. The current situation is that power is primarily exercised by the nation-state. However, the problem of climate change, together with communications technology, means that global organisation is steadily becoming more necessary and feasible. We no longer encounter Kipling's situation where two wolf packs meet each other; we are all already living together.

You have a point in suggesting that Kipling was critiquing American anarchy. The idea of liberty at the root of American independence means that Americans still rebel against the idea of being constrained by a larger law. This seems to be a psychological factor in climate denial.

When I talked about contemporary evolution, I meant the capacity of humanity to shift to a sustainable path. The existence of intelligence means that evolution is no longer a blind force that we are powerless to change. The situation now is that conscious human decisions will determine the evolutionary path of our planet, and whether our species remains part of the mix or goes extinct. Ignoring climate change runs the high risk of putting humanity on a path to extinction. As I commented earlier, the consensus scientific view that we are on a path to four degrees warming in this century is akin to a medical emergency, like a person running a four degree fever. An emergency requires decisive intervention.

I am very far from believing a catastrophe is inevitable. My point in this thread is that a catastrophe can be averted through concerted action. It is possible for humans to shift to a new paradigm of harmony with nature that will still enable economic growth. Failure to engage with the global reality of climate change would result in catastrophe though.

You say the situation looks bleak. As I have commented here, there is no reason why putting resources into development of innovative technology should not be able to find ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere in larger quantities than aggregate emissions. I am optimistic. But the refusal of nations to address this problem shows there is a real psychological blockage, dithering while the planet burns. Every day matters.



The following user would like to thank Robert Tulip for this post:
Kevin
Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:01 am
Profile Email WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 103 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:


BookTalk.org Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Featured Book Suggestions
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
    

Love to talk about books but don't have time for our book discussion forums? For casual book talk join us on Facebook.

Featured Books

Poll

Yes  75%  [3]
No  25%  [1]
Total votes: 4

Books by New Authors

Visual Help for Getting Started


Top Posters

Of all time: Chris OConnor (14185), Interbane (5602), DWill (4965), stahrwe (4610), Robert Tulip (4249), Mr. Pessimistic (3542), johnson1010 (3326), geo (3269), ant (3121), Penelope (2969), Saffron (2859), Suzanne (2485), Frank 013 (2021), Dissident Heart (1796), bleachededen (1680), President Camacho (1614), Ophelia (1543), Dexter (1453), tat tvam asi (1298), youkrst (1296)

Of the last 24 hrs: Movie Nerd (28), ant (14), Robert Tulip (9), lehelvandor (9), Flann 5 (7), LanDroid (7), youkrst (6), Interbane (3), TheWizard (3), Cattleman (2), CoolSummer (2), David Rain (1), ClosetScribe (1), giselle (1), jjames76 (1), bionov (1), deOmair (1), JJ_Co (1), Taylor (1), indepence (1)




BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSBOOKSTRANSCRIPTSOLD FORUMSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICY

BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart - by Lex Bayer and John FigdorSense and Goodness Without God - by Richard CarrierFrankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOur Amazon.com SalesMassimo Pigliucci Rationally SpeakingOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism BooksFACTS Book Selections

Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2014. All rights reserved.
Website developed by MidnightCoder.ca
Display Pagerank