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Can Our Species Escape Destruction? - Comments

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 1 by Cook@Tahiti

The free market will fix it

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 01:15:02 UTC | #883565

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 2 by Alternative Carpark

As long as the world is run by people with no vested interest in the future, and those that do have a vested interest remain apathetic, the answer must surely be 'NO'.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 01:40:08 UTC | #883569

ChadSmith1452's Avatar Comment 3 by ChadSmith1452

@ Rtambree

Yeah right, it is patent to any moderately intelligent person that nothing resolves the prisoner's dilemma and the tragedy of commons like the trusty free market. I wish all homo sapiens were sufficiently sapient to see that absolutely all large scale human problems can be handily solved by giving free reign to the free market.

This applies most especially to science. Why should these dour, humorless, lab-coated eggheads be free to study fruit flies on my dime? I say privatize all research and let the consumer decide how old the Earth is, whether it's warming, how efficacious various drugs are, and whether it's worthwhile to point orbiting telescopes the size of a city bus at galaxies with no discernable resources, and which no taxpayer will ever visit.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 01:43:18 UTC | #883572

Quine's Avatar Comment 4 by Quine

On the question of if our species can escape destruction, the answer is clearly "no." Even if the environmental problems are all solved (and we don't kill each other) and the planet made wonderful, our knowledge of our own genes and how they work is moving us to an even faster rate of change such that soon (a blink in evolution time, let alone geologic time) our species will be listed as one of those "transitionals" and our bones will be in the museums of future species that continue become less and less like us.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 02:03:32 UTC | #883582

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 5 by Neodarwinian

Should our species escape destruction?

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 02:04:39 UTC | #883583

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 6 by Atheist Mike

I can fix it, just need more prayers.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 02:15:13 UTC | #883586

ChadSmith1452's Avatar Comment 7 by ChadSmith1452

@Neodarwinian "Should our species escape destruction?"

Uh, yes. Are you some sort of antinatalist? This normative question seems to me a profoundly uninteresting one.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 02:41:36 UTC | #883593

Sample's Avatar Comment 8 by Sample

Our survival is contingent on the survival of countless other species. So while humans may be able to recognize impending doom, few, if any, other species can.

Mike

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 02:48:15 UTC | #883595

ChadSmith1452's Avatar Comment 9 by ChadSmith1452

@ Quine "our species will be listed as one of those "transitionals"

I've no doubt your right (granting the rather shaky proviso e don't destroy ourselves before reaching a Kurzweilian singularity) but transhumanism isn't really the same as extinction, and very much doubt it will be genetic engineering that gets us there. AI technology will very likely render genetic engineering pitifully otiose before the latter becomes significantly practicable.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 02:49:48 UTC | #883596

ChadSmith1452's Avatar Comment 10 by ChadSmith1452

*you're

Dammit

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 02:50:23 UTC | #883597

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 11 by Neodarwinian

@ ChadSmith

Your answer strikes me as profoundly ill informed from an evolutionary perspective, which is the only perspective that counts with species. All species have their time and none will be the same species, or even a species forever. Sound as if you are a human exceptionalist.

What the f**k is an anti-naturalist? Is it even possible to be that in any but the most abstract, post modern, new age nonsensical way?

So, to rephrase so that you get it. Could our species escape destruction?

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 03:27:22 UTC | #883602

Michael Fisher's Avatar Comment 12 by Michael Fisher

Comment 11 by Neodarwinian :

What the f**k is an anti-naturalist? Is it even possible to be that in any but the most abstract, post modern, new age nonsensical way?

It's "antinatalist". See Antinatalism HERE "Antinatalism is a philosophical position that asserts a negative value judgment towards birth, standing in opposition to natalism. It has been advanced by figures such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Peter Wessel Zapffe, Paul Ehrlich, Heinrich Heine, Emil Cioran, Philipp Mainländer, Philip Larkin, Chris Korda, David Benatar, Matti Häyry, Thomas Ligotti, Woody Allen, Richard Stallman. Groups that encourage antinatalism, or pursue antinatalist policies, include the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement and the Club of Rome"

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 03:46:15 UTC | #883604

Areophile's Avatar Comment 13 by Areophile

Our civilization has peaked and is in its decline. It will not get better. It will get worse. Man is the greedy monkey and we are undone by our greed. Perhaps the otters will do a better job as they evolve...

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 04:15:18 UTC | #883607

ChadSmith1452's Avatar Comment 14 by ChadSmith1452

@Neodarwinian "Your answer strikes me as profoundly ill informed from an evolutionary perspective"

grin

Would you be so good as to delineate the precise path of that strike? Exactly which sentence or phrase would I be unlikely to have composed from a more informed "evolutionary perspective"?

How does the short sound I've made here resemble that of a "human exceptionalist"?

Now, finding myself unable to resist the urge to ape your act of demanding a definition with an expletive, I must ask, what the fuck is a "human exceptionalist" in this context?

Lastly, are the English words "will" and "should" interchangeable? If so I apologize for such an obtuse misreading.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 04:38:35 UTC | #883611

sbooder's Avatar Comment 15 by sbooder

Can Our Species Escape Destruction?

Not if we do not stop breeding like fucking rabbits!

Seven billion and counting

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15368276

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 05:29:45 UTC | #883614

Functional Atheist's Avatar Comment 16 by Functional Atheist

Can we survive as a species? Sure. Will we? I dunno. Nobody does.

Best to be a bit wary regarding predictions of human extinction. There's plenty of amusing historical precedent for people confusing their own personal decline, or their own society's decline, with the decline and fall of the entire species.

As individuals, we're definitely doomed to die. As citizens, our respective nations are almost definitely doomed to (eventually) die. But extending that to the entire species is a leap into the unknown.

(Note, I'm referring to more or less comprehensible time frames. Certainly there won't be any humans in a trillion years, or a billion, but maybe there will be human ancestors in a million years. Or maybe not.)

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 06:38:55 UTC | #883619

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 17 by rjohn19

I didn't read the remark, "Should we escape..." as antinatalist. I saw it as asking, "do we deserve to escape..." in the sense that we know what to do but refuse to accept even half-measures in the right direction. I thought the question was fair.

If we act like dodos and sit still while an elite few with all the power and only short-term goals club us to death, perhaps we shall and should take our rightful places in history of the planet beside the dodos.

Earth will survive with or without us. And if other sentient beings evolve here in the next hundred million years or so and uncover our history, they too will go extinct, laughing themselves to death.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 06:46:21 UTC | #883620

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 18 by Schrodinger's Cat

I find all the ' species extinction' doom mongering tiresome.

Let's face it...........it was only 10,000 years ago that most of Britain was under a mile of ice and the entire country was uninhabitable. That was a pretty bad situation ! Yet it's pretty much the norm and inter-glacials the rarity. At the end of the ice age, sea levels rose a staggering 400 feet................yet these days it's the end of the world if it rises a foot.

LIkewise with global warming. Never mind that in the past, there were periods with much higher CO2 levels, and in some of those there were no polar ice caps at all. Didn't seem to stop the dinosaurs thriving. These days a glacier has only to retreat by a foot and extinction looms.

Sure the situation now is bad and I suspect a natural cull of mankind will ensue. Sure there will be worse weather, crap harvests, flooded cities, etc etc etc. But none of this will wipe out mankind as a whole. The issue is not whether we survive....but whether we learn the lessons.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 07:37:25 UTC | #883625

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 19 by Stevehill

Estimates of how bad the situation is, of course, differ, but various assessments agree that the global economy is consuming resources at a rate equivalent to 1.3 to 1.5 times the earth’s capacity to supply them sustainably.

This is the week when according to the UN we will reach a population of 7 billion.

Fewer people consuming resources equals sustainability. Ever more people aspiring to say US levels of consumption equals misery. As Mr Micawber almost said.

Cat

Let's face it...........it was only 10,000 years ago that most of Britain was under a mile of ice and the entire country was uninhabitable. That was a pretty bad situation ! Yet it's pretty much the norm and inter-glacials the rarity.

But in those days it was feasible, if a bit of a PITA, to migrate ahead of the ice to tropical regions, because there were only a few hundred thousand people on earth.

Next time, the migrants will be met with nukes wielded by people saying get off my lawn.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 07:48:11 UTC | #883628

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 20 by godsbelow

Incidentally, I've just been reading a blog-post by Richard Carrier, a historian who is an atheist and a sceptic, entitled "Are We Doomed?" It give a pretty encouraging assessment of the chances of human survival, well worth a look.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 08:45:26 UTC | #883632

valla's Avatar Comment 21 by valla

I'm not worried about the extinction of the human species. I'm worried about the amazing amount of misery that we might face in the not too distant future caused by the depletion of natural resources and the consequences of global warming. It is obvious that there are not enough resources to for the present rates of consumption. The day of reconing will come when hordes of dispossessed and desperate people will realise they have nothing to loose and will revolt against this state of affairs. War could be brought to countries that wouldn't even dream of it right now.

We have to react quickly, but obviously people in the developed world don't realise the urgency of the situation and are not willing to sacrifice a totally unsustainable way of life.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 10:03:13 UTC | #883640

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 22 by Steve Zara

I almost never disagree with Quine, but I think the answer is yes, of course we can!

We are very widespread, and extremely adaptable. There are groups of humans who live self-sustaining lives across the planet. Extinction is very hard to achieve for such widespread species.

We are also now a technological species. I have no doubt that within a century there will be human colonies elsewhere in the Solar system, largely self-sustaining. Then, no planet-scale disaster could wipe us out. Our future is then what we want it to be - perhaps as long-lived technologically augmnented humans.

Once we discovered science and technology, we changed everything. The next century may involve huge suffering and death, but not extinction. For extinction, someone or something would have to hunt down every last group of humans, no matter how isolated in mountain ranges, deep jungle, pacific island or ice pack and kill them all. If even a few dozen survive, so will we as a species.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 10:15:23 UTC | #883644

mmurray's Avatar Comment 23 by mmurray

The question shouldn't be "can the species escape extinction" it should be "will the future be worth living in".

Michael

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 10:22:10 UTC | #883645

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 24 by AtheistEgbert

Quine is indeed correct, if we are to be consistent with Darwinism, the human species is destined for extinction. Also, if we are to be consistent with Darwinism, we have to pause for thought about why we think our own species is so special? In a sense, we're unique, but then so is every other species, there is no good reason why we should adopt humanism.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 10:26:43 UTC | #883646

mmurray's Avatar Comment 25 by mmurray

Comment 24 by AtheistEgbert :

Quine is indeed correct, if we are to be consistent with Darwinism, the human species is destined for extinction. Also, if we are to be consistent with Darwinism, we have to pause for thought about why we think our own species is so special? In a sense, we're unique, but then so is every other species, there is no good reason why we should adopt humanism.

But why would we be consistent with Darwinism ? We can already mess with our DNA and we have only just started. Why is our species special ? Technology.

Michael

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 10:47:46 UTC | #883647

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 26 by SaganTheCat

yes we can

but we wont

we have the ability to model the future and prepare for it with technology but too many humans see the future as a bad thing. humans look at the past and idealise it, they "remember" a time when humans walked around in sandals and illnesses were cured by instant miracles, not long recovery processes aided by teams of professionals learning from thier own experience.

we can predict with some accuracy how our environment will change and what we can do to adjust to it rather than take it as proof that many people will die because god hates most of them

we can look to the heavens and decide for ourselves if we should or could make a future up there somewhare rather than just assume it's already been decided for us

the religious types begrudge their children a future, they long for the end of days when jesus comes and proves they were right all along then off to heaven without ever having to think about the future or the state they leave the place in for others. technology comes along, gets treated with disgust and suspicion until enough humans accept it and demand it then the religious claim ownership of the moral right to decide how it should be used.

a similar question would be "can children tidy their room without being told?"

the answer is yes but most won't

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 11:11:40 UTC | #883654

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 27 by Steve Zara

I ask this question of those who consider that our species will be destroyed. Who or what is going to put in the effort to seek out every last human group on this planet? All will need to be killed for our species to end. It would have to be a slaughter where not even 100 are left out of 7 billion.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 11:20:49 UTC | #883656

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 28 by SaganTheCat

Comment 27 by Steve Zara :

I ask this question of those who consider that our species will be destroyed. Who or what is going to put in the effort to seek out every last human group on this planet? All will need to be killed for our species to end. It would have to be a slaughter where not even 100 are left out of 7 billion.

extinction happens without anything having to put an effort in. the planet will become uninhabitable at some point and the only things that will survive will be the ones who find somewhere else to go

if however we're thinned down to a few hundred i'd predict speciation, which in a way is still the end of this species

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 12:13:02 UTC | #883666

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 29 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 27 by Steve Zara :

I ask this question of those who consider that our species will be destroyed. Who or what is going to put in the effort to seek out every last human group on this planet? All will need to be killed for our species to end. It would have to be a slaughter where not even 100 are left out of 7 billion.

Steve, I thought you understood Darwinism? Humans are not a metaphysical entity, a concrete universal that exists in a special platonic form, but a species. Our DNA is not fixed forever as some kind of perfection but an ongoing process. At some point, our future offspring will change to the point that they're no longer human.

That is, of course, if life does not become extinct due to the catastrophic greenhouse effect, that the global warming doomsday cult believes will destroy our planet.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 12:33:45 UTC | #883670

some asshole's Avatar Comment 30 by some asshole

I don't think it's just anti-science idiots who are to blame. I blame the legions of people who have 3 or more children. (If that's you and you're offended, too bad.) How many people have over-reproduced and then looked down their noses at someone who happens to be childless, just because that person drives a pickup truck or an SUV? The person with several kids has done more to crush the ecosystem than the one they are looking down on, by far; yet they feel superior. Twenty years down the road, they brag about having 14 grandchildren, but feel OK about it because they recycle their yogurt containers and get 30 MPG highway.

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 12:38:49 UTC | #883672