RE: [DarwinsTavern] The Future for Earth Biosphere - tangent to energy conversation

From: user 7.
Sent on: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 5:01 PM

A fascinating article, Ellery. I would only say that even if our self-destruction might be hardwired into our DNA, we can’t be sure that’s true, so we might as well fight like hell to save the environment. And even if we could be sure about our DNA, it’s still possible that we could evolve into the caring, nurturing species we fool ourselves into thinking we already are. Admittedly it’s getting pretty late for a genetic deus ex machina solution like that, but I’m not giving up until it kills me.

So sorry I can’t meet you all discussing such things this evening. Have another commitment that starts in an hour.

Tim

From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Ellery Curtis
Sent: Wednesday, February 27,[masked]:17 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: [DarwinsTavern] The Future for Earth Biosphere - tangent to energy conversation

 

Lol, my brother pulls that one on me....any useful rational conversation is overtaken by conspiracy theories...its quite hard to overcome, and this is a person who is not a creationist...just is dead set in a faith based belief that he feels is highly intuitive for some reason.

As we discuss ways to save energy (which I think is useful, if not only for environmental reasons, but many have economic overlap) - I cannot help but feel my inner sense of nihilism (or ? realism) on this subject.  A good facebook friend of mine (who I mentioned earier with the locust analogy) had shared this long rant regarding the fate of our biosphere this month and honestly, I think many will find it interesting and perhaps provocotive.  It should be noted that this person is in favor of ways to save energy, reducing emissions, alternative energy etc....but his assessment is as such still....a very intelligent guy...and being this is a group of darwinists, this writeup I think you will find interesting...its a bit long so wait till you have a few minutes to read and tell me what you think. 

______________________________________________

"There is nothing we can do to stop the destruction of the biosphere because we evolved in that biosphere as agents of its destruction. We are the mammalian locust, effectively. Here's how I know it's not the monetary system or the economy to blame - both of those are only a few thousand years old *at most*. Homo sapiens sapiens began creating mass extinctions unnecessary for acquiring food a *hundred thousand* years ago. Tens of thousands of years before agriculture, when domesticated dogs were in their early stages, Homo sapiens sapiens set massive fires to deforest whole continents simply to make their lives a little safer and a little easier - wrecking ecosystems and water delivery systems in the process. From the beginnings of our ability to think in semiotic terms we've obliterated those icons of threat that killed our little ones or trampled our dwellings, wiping out megafauna without a moment's hesitation - all before the first crop or the first metal tool.

It's what we do. It's how we defeated the other language-bearing, tool-using, fire-controlling hominins for control of the planet - Homo neanderthalensis, the Denisovians, the Red Deer people - all vanished, save in traces in our genomic material, ground under foot by our sweeping readiness to slaugher species to extinction, ruin forests and grasslands, overhunt, drain water far faster than it replaces, and the like. We did not kill every last Neanderthal - the last of them on the coast of Spain died of hunger and thirst, the ecosytem trashed by humans not yet gifted with the horse or wheat. The older bipeds fared even worse - Homo erectus, Homo florensis, all hunted and killed by us in the earliest genocides, but all ultimately done in by our wanton wrecking of the biosphere wherever we went.

So no, it's not the economy. It's not the monetary system. It's not European-Atlantic metacultural civilization, or even "civilization" as technological gains. The whole, entire fact is that we evolved in this biosphere to smash that biosphere, and that let us triumph in the niche of apex predator. It also will almost certainly eventually, centuries and millenia hence, lead to our extinction. Such is the way of evolution. Evolution is not "Mother Nature" shaping and sculpting with care and love - evolution is the blind force of change driven by the deaths of organisms before their children can fend for themselves. Evolution drives the creation of species that overhunt - not just humans - and then go extinct. Evolution drives the creation of life that strangles its very environment, and then goes extinct. Evolution makes infectious diseases that kill their hosts and wipe out trillions of their own kind in blind foolishness. And evolution made Homo sapiens sapiens to slaughter and smash, ruin and trash ... and then go extinct.

Millions of years ago Africa hosted primates of many kinds, some of whom had hands and partially opposable thumbs, but which used them to climb trees, strip vegetation, and eat a diet like almost all other herbivores. Some, however, ran short of the foods they needed, and over time started eating dead things after the hyenas and before the buzzards. These carrion eaters, covered in filth, had no claws and teeth, and instead used sharp rocks they found to substitute. Their intestinal tracts changed over time, dumping the fermentation segments for cellulose and forcing the carrion eaters into largely meat diets - but did not change all the way, producing copious odorous waste the carrion eaters had to range further and further to avoid leading better predators to their doors. Over time the use of hands, bipedalism, and complex social structures produced bigger brains, better skills, stronger thumbs, and the ability to hunt fresh - but having come backwards to protein through eating rotted corpses, our ancestors had to break the meat down somehow to process it. They tamed fire to get the fresh meat - and some new vegetative matter that was particularly stiff - into a condition for their poor little half-evolved guts to process - and then the Earth's first two-legged locust were set.

They could not eat an all vegetative diet - the high-protein, high-carb plants modern vegans use were hundreds of thousands of years of breeding and artificial creation in the future. So they had to range far and wide. They had to tear up the ground to get their stone claws and teeth. They had to tear down the trees to get the fire to make their food digestable. They had to splatter their waste and move on. And as they did, they found that tottering on two legs made them slow for other, better predators, but their big brains and hurled spears meant they could find those predators before the predators found them and kill them off. When they did, their unusually helpless infants stopped dying horribly at the fangs of those predators. They also found that as they ranged, they encountered environments they were not evolved to survive, and they had to chose between death by starvation or tearing down those biosphere regions into something more like the wide-open, dry grasslands of their evolution.

All of this was bearable to the biosphere itself, maiming eastern Africa and a few other places, until the differing kinds of two-legged fire-handling tool-users began to compete. The tall, tool-free bark-eating Australopithecus - not our ancestors, as it turns out, but a separate branch of Ardipithecus - were easy to wipe out. The others of genus Homo, however, were harder, and some became vastly strong and tough, like Neanderthals. The weaker ones had to find some way to endure, and that selection pressure produced archaic Homo sapiens, whose primary evolutionary advantage over stronger, tougher Neanderthals was speed of reproduction. Our direct ancestors bred at a rate primates had not seen in millions of years, swarming over the land and smothering up our competition. We exploded out of the original H. sapiens range in eastern Africa, swarmed Asia, swarmed Europe, and along the way exploded out with semiotics and language as we became Homo sapiens sapiens. Complex grammar begat rapid tool use changes, and the future was set.

But we were still the smashers of rocks, burners of forests, diggers of land, killers of predators, hunters of herbivores. We were just many times the numbers of those before. What Africa and parts of Asia could tolerate with a few tens of thousands at a time became hundreds of thousands, then millions, and the biosphere sagged under the weight of the two-legged locust. The other tool-users went extinct. The big predators went extinct. The big sources of meat went extinct. We burned the forests, shattered the rocks, drank up the water, fouled the land, and moved on -because our life cycle required nothing less.

And then we tamed animals, made plants into crops, took more land, wiped out more forests and species ... all before technology.

It is how we evolved, and we cannot change it. All we can do is find a way to get new biospheres and continue the endless history of expansion, or go extinct.

Or, more likely, both."

______________________________________________


--- On Wed, 2/27/13, Robert Caldwell <[address removed]> wrote:


From: Robert Caldwell <[address removed]>
Subject: Re: [DarwinsTavern] Future Energy Sources
To: [address removed]
Date: Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 9:52 AM

My co-worker doesn't think that the geological processes that create oil take millions of years. After all, the earth is only 6 thousand years old! So there should be no reason for going after harder to reach sources, since new oil forms quickly, and price increaes can only be explained as a conspiracy.

On 2/26/[masked]:37 AM, Tim Cook wrote:

The question of how much oil is being produced currently is related, but distinct from, how much oil we can produce in the future. Robert, your coworker is technically correct that a lot of oil is currently being produced, but that doesn’t take into account the economic cost of doing so. Leaving aside the fact that the planet is suffocating on carbon, we haven’t depleted the world’s oil reserves, just the oil reserves that are easy to get to. With all the low-lying fruit picked off now, we have to go further down and out into the ocean and under sea ice, and perform increasingly exotic maneuvers on shale and tar sands to get at it. All this requires more and more energy to extract, with a decreasing ratio of energy returned on investment (“EROI” in the industry). As that ratio approaches 1 to 1, there’s less and less reason to go after the oil, even if there’s a lot of it out there. That’s not even considering the investment of other resources like the vast amount water used in shale oil extraction.

I don’t know which will come first, running out of oil or running out of an environment. The first outcome could be absolute horrific in an economy that depends on oil, but as bad as it could be, it sure beats not having a world to live in. However things pan out, it just seems like participating in the creation of a sustainable community has the best chance of beating the odds. It’s also more fun.

Tim Cook

 

From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Robert Caldwell
Sent: Tuesday, February 26,[masked]:02 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [DarwinsTavern] Future Energy Sources

 

I have a coworker who is a creationist and a fan of Ken Hovind. He says new oil is being made as quickly as we use it.

On 2/25/[masked]:49 PM, Tim Cook wrote:

Greetings, everyone.

 

I’m a friend of Wade’s and so far I’ve only shown up for a beer in Avondale a few weeks ago. Was particularly interested in the Future Energy Sources discussion and really wanted to show up for that, but unfortunately, I have a conflict Wednesday night and can’t attend, so allow me to make a contribution this way.

 

What I would have tried to say if I were able to attend is that I think the focus on energy sources is great, but it can also be misdirected. All the conventional solutions don’t require any fundamental change to the conventional American way of life, but it seems to me that it’s that way of life that’s the problem. Having lived in countries with lower energy consumption, I am always amazed upon my return to this country how wasteful we are, and how unsatisfying it is to live that way. I’m not talking about recycling or fuel-efficient cars, I’m talking about the lifestyle that requires cars and the generation of stuff to recycle in the first place. Even W came around to saying “America is addicted to oil,” but what we’re really addicted to is energy. From what I’ve seen of the evidence, no combination of solar, wind, switch grass, used French fry oil, or any other fantastical solution could possibly scale up to meet the demand, but even if it could, that doesn’t take away from the fact that we’re in the grip of an addiction. Even if we found a miracle energy source that allows us to continue tearing down, ripping up, and paving over our surroundings so we can push two tons of steel around just to go through our daily routines, do we really need to stick to this? It’s just so normalized here that we don’t see it for what it is, even if it generates a demand for massive amounts of drugs, legal and otherwise, to get us through it.

 

Long before it’s necessary to live on a radically reduced energy diet (diet both figuratively and literally as the food we eat is basically oil), I would like to participate in the kind of cultural reconstruction that would allow for a meaningful, satisfying life on low energy, a living that doesn’t require the generation of useless junk, where people live, work, and trade all right near each other, in modest surroundings that are worth caring about. So when the energy crisis moves to the energy emergency to the energy catastrophe, people can hope to not just stay alive, but live well. There are efforts all over the world to do this in some way or another, such as Transition Towns, Small Streets, Slow Food, and permaculture. And I have some of my own ideas I’d like to collaborate on (one involving rowing and rails, another involving mirrors…but not smoke!). If any of that might be a direction any of you will be talking about taking, let me know, I want in.

 

Will meet up with y’all sometime soon. Thanks.

 

Tim Cook

 

From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Lucinamarie
Sent: Wednesday, February 20,[masked]:29 PM
To: [address removed]
Subject: [DarwinsTavern] DT Discussion topics

 

I have set up the next few DT Discussions. These are the dates I have already gotten programmed:

February 27 - Future Energy Sources led by Greg Smith at Lucina's house

March 20 - Is Evolution Random? led by Gina Lanier Griffin at Steven's house

April 10 - Fracking led by Susan Glasscock at Lucina's house

May 1 - The Physics of Music led by Lucina at Lucina's house

May 22 - Geographic Information Systems & Geographical Analysis of Geographic Related Data led by Peter at Lucina's house

 

We need topics/leaders for June 12, July 3, July 24, August 14, September 4, September 25, October 16, November 6, etc.

 

We have a number of good ideas for topics. Please let me know if you are interested in leading one of them, or suggesting a different topic.

Internet Memes

Natural Alternative Cures

Creationism vs. Intelligent Design

Hypothetical Theocracy here in the US

Recent Homind Fossil Discoveries and Related Research

Generational Frameworks and Belief Structures

Recent reinterpretations of archeological and geological theories

Mitrochondrial Drift - 7 Daughters of Eve

Co-Evolution of people and plants

Through the wormhole documentary series

Nature of consciousness

Private space development - documentary on Space Ship One project

Unsolved Science - 13 Things that don't make sense

Transformational Tech - Physics of the future

 

Now that I have the time to do a bit of administrative stuff, I would really appreciate people signing up for the discussions so I can get them square away now.

Thanks, Lucina





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