Earth Day 2009: Thoughts Like Falling Leaves

1:20 am Personal

Leaf One

Con games and sleight-of-hand magic work because, one, we humans only have so much attention to spare at any one moment, and two, they direct that attention deliberately in one direction. If you look at where the finger points, you miss … well, everything else.

Like the movie teen backing through a darkened doorway in the serial killer’s lair, we focus intently on one thing while something more important takes place just outside the sphere of our focus.

I’ll give you a real-life example that has bugged me for a long time.

I met Timothy Treadwell some years back in Flagstaff, when he came to give a talk about grizzlies. Tim’s the guy who got killed and partially eaten by a bear in 2003 in Alaska, and was immortalized in the 2005 film “Grizzly Man” a “documentary” by filmmaker Werner Herzog.

I hated the film (and I think Herzog is a pandering jackass for making it as he did) because it projected exactly two messages into the minds of viewers: 1) Tim Treadwell was crazy. 2) Grizzlies are deadly killers.

The finger pointed in those directions, and most of the viewers looked that way. Treadwell was in fact killed by a grizzly. But off-screen, what the finger didn’t point at, and what most of us failed to notice, was that he lived within spitting distance of these huge bears for 12 summers.

Unprotected.

Unarmed.

Unhurt.

Out of all the things we might want to know about grizzlies, we already know “Any sane person knows them goldurned bears’ll kill yuh!” What we don’t know is “There’s a way to live right in among grizzlies for 12 years without getting hurt.”

I can tell you in one second which of those things I’d like to see in a film. Herzog, sleight-of-hand documentarian, wasn’t interested in it. Today we have one more titillating, somewhat stupid film pointing a finger at something we already know, and most of us still view bears as unpredictable, inevitable killing machines.

So here we are a few days past Earth Day 2009, equally awash in sleight-of-hand: Oh my gosh, are we ever jumping on the “green” bandwagon. You can’t watch TV for half an hour without seeing five commercials about companies going green. Corporations are going green, politicians are going green, builders are going green, banks are going green, cities are going green, for all I know states are going green. Green green GREEN — Yowzah!!

TV, billboards, radio messages, magazine ads, newspaper stories, websites — everywhere you look, clean, well-fed mommies and daddies and happy children are pitching in to cut water consumption! Save energy! Produce less trash! Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Man, I already feel better about it, don’t you? We’re DOING SOMETHING, at last, to Save the Earth. Let’s all heave a deep sigh of relief. Yessssss.

Meanwhile, in all those places where the finger doesn’t point …

Leaf Two

Was it only ten years ago I was writing an article about Baby Six Billion? She was born on or about October 11, 1999. I wrote about the world of progressive scarcity she would be born into, and I wished her well.

But we’re already talking about Baby Seven Billion, who is predicted to arrive on Earth in 2012. Which means that even though you’d expect Baby Seven Billion to be a daughter or granddaughter of Baby Six Billion, she’s not. (Unless Baby Six Billion got pregnant at the age of 12, that is.)

Instead, Baby Seven Billion will be born, give or take a few years, to the same generation that produced Baby Six Billion. The SAME generation.

Jeezus holy jacked-up shit.

Knowing that, I have to ask: What exactly is the point of going green?

I mean, if you and I conserve and recycle and stop eating endangered fish and refuse to support companies that log the Amazon, and do everything we can possibly do to keep the Earth green and growing …

And we each of us cut in half our annual environmental footprint on the Earth …

Where’s the net gain if, during that same period, our neighbors produce a quarter of a million more kids EVERY DAY?

(That’s 91 million a year, in case you wondered — equivalent to the combined populations of California, Texas, New York and Ohio, or slightly less than the entire country of Mexico.)

Your piddly-ass half-person conservation effort vanishes in the noise.

Leaf Three

I saw a beautifully designed book on the environment a year or so back, a thick, well-researched tome about all the possible things you can do to Save the Earth. (Wish I could remember the name, but I seem to have put it out of my mind.) I was so excited, I ordered it immediately. And man, when it came, I unwrapped it lovingly, admiring its heft, its colors, its stunning cardboard slip cover. I dove into it with excitement — it was like a whole weighty library of greenitude.

But I made the mistake, within an hour of getting it, of delving into the index for articles on population control.

Nothing.

Huh? I couldn’t believe it. I tried different words, different combinations. In the end, I discovered the entire book seemed to contain only two PHRASES related to the subject. I mean, there weren’t three whole sentences about it. Amid stories of fish farming and water conservation and energy from wind and sun and recycling plastic and improved strains of rice, there was virtually nothing about human numbers.

It was like going through a million-word book of instructions on how to save a sinking ship, reading a thousand different formulations of “Bail faster and better,” but finding no mention at all of “Plug the hole in the hull.”

I instantly lost interest in the damned thing. I mailed it to a friend who’s into green stuff, and have since then entertained several brief imaginings of punching the authors in the face if I ever get to meet them.

But … can I really blame them? I haven’t had the chance to read every book ever written on saving the earth, but I’ve found few recent ones that deal with population as the real core of the problem.

Is the subject taboo? Is it simple despair that puts it off-limits?

Maybe it’s the inevitable over-reaction. The instant you start talking about encouraging people to use condoms and contraceptives, to pursue various avenues of family planning, etc., to limit human population, the shriekers slam down on you like a rain of neutron bombs — blam, blam blam! “You want to murder babies!! You want to commit genocide!! Oh my God, why do you hate people so much!!?”

Whew.

Leaf Four

I had a cowboy friend, Tom Wood, who was an eternal optimist. I noticed the day I met him that he had this small purpley bump on the side of his face, and I asked him about it not long after, when we’d had a chance to get to know each other.

“Ah. That ain’t nothing.” Big smile, dismissive gesture with can of beer. “Been there for years! You gotta go some time!”

A couple of years later, the purpley bump was bigger, but the gesture and optimistic dismissal was the same. Every time the subject came up: “Hey, you gotta go some time!”

Except for the day he found out he had malignant melanoma, and the three or four months he lasted after.

Turns out optimism, like anything, is misusable. If you have a problem, but you refuse to grapple with it because you’d rather be optimistic and hopeful about the future, … well, there are side effects.

To get well, you first have to admit you’re sick. To climb out of a financial hole, you first have to admit you’re not handling your money well. To stanch the bleeding of a gaping wound, you first have to notice the gushing blood.

Sometimes, for a while, optimism has to slide over into the passenger seat, keep its smirking mouth shut, and let pessimism take the wheel.

In the midst of an emergency, in the face of a deadly threat, you have to think more about the worst that can happen, rather than the best.

The population of Planet Earth has yet to realize this.

Leaf Five

I’ve had people tell me I shouldn’t use the word “retarded.” And I get the point — it can be a callous insult to people with mental handicaps.

But like the shock value of carefully-applied profanity, it can also serve to slap people awake.

Here’s retarded: The smug idiot who laughs “Hey, we can’t hurt the Earth! Ha-ha! It’ll be here and fine long after we’re gone!”

Here’s retarded: “Even IF we were capable of wrecking the environment, God could fix it with a wave of his hand.”

Here’s retarded: Buying into all those corporate messages that if we recycle and reuse (with their corporate help, of course), everything will be just fine.

Here’s retarded: Every environmentalist and green advocate who ever lived who failed to recognize that the foundation of EVERY environmental problem is too many people.

Here’s retarded: The guy who repeats the vague reassurance that “Educated women tend to have fewer children. All we have to do is raise the level of education and social welfare in the world, and world population will level off at some sustainable level.”

We’re out of time on hopeful reassurances. The planet is already over the load limit on humans — there’s nothing left, no excess capacity to hold us until that optimistically hoped-for population leveling begins to kick in.

If ever there was a moment to be pessimistic, to attempt to be thoughtful and worried and to imagine the worst, this would be that moment.

We’re killing the Earth NOW.

Leaf Six

I don’t see it getting better in my lifetime.

Don’t think I don’t hate to say it.

I hate to even think it. Hey, I’ve been a fan of science fiction since I was about 11 years old and first read Zip-Zip Goes to Venus.

As an SF fan, I’m a devoted futurist. For years I thought about the possibility of cloning my dog, the Best Dog I Ever Even Met, but I held off on doing anything about it. Then one day he got sick, and it hit me that I could either 1) read about all the possible technological innovations but do nothing to make ready for them, or 2) I could live and act as if these imagined futures would be real.

I picked the second option. The future is a real place, a real time, and many things will become possible. I set the wheels in motion for collecting tissue samples when Tito died. Today those samples are frozen in liquid nitrogen, providing me a doorway into one of those possible futures. When (if) cloning gets to be reliable and cheap, I’ll be ready to have them build a puppy for me, the descendant twin of the Best Dog I Ever Even Met.

But futurist or not, no matter how much technological progress we make — on gene-engineered crops, fish farming, pollution-free energy — none of that can fix the hole in the boat, the hole of more and more people, more and more mouths, arriving daily like unstoppable civilization-smashing dreadnoughts of unthinking hunger.

Leaf Seven

The truth is — brace yourself for some carefully-applied profanity —

We’re fucked.

Seriously. We’re raping ourselves to death with our own appetites. We are bent over, grabbing our metaphorical ankles, while a dick the size of Buffalo, New York — population just over a quarter million — rams repeatedly, daily, up our collective butts.

And it looks like we don’t have the brains to stop it.

For instance: Even the idea of conservation has enemies. And not quiet enemies, but active, loud, wealthy enemies. Enemies with TV and radio shows. Enemies with audiences of admiring millions. Enemies with the backing of huge, globe-spanning churches. Save the environment? It’s un-American, it’s crazy, it’s EVILLLL!!

But even those who aren’t active enemies of possible solutions are still thinking we can do pretty much all the same stuff we’ve always done. Everybody can drive cars and live in big houses, and buy everything we buy wrapped in a disposable plastic sheath, and have two or three or four kids. As long as we all pitch in and conscientiously — voluntarily! — conserve, everything will be fine.

Even those of us who are active champions of the environment, as long as we fail to bring the subject of human population into every single discussion, are little more than enablers, co-dependents who help wreck things by failing to admit the real problem.

Taken together, we’re the battered wife who won’t admit she needs help. “I know he loves me. He only does it when he’s drinking.” Wham! “It’s all my fault. I shouldn’t provoke him.” Wham! “He doesn’t really mean to do it. I just can’t leave him.” Wham! Wham!

Out here in the real world, we’re already dying. We’re already killing everything else we care about. It’s just that it’s been happening in slo-mo.

Like the stupid pigeon that stands still while the cat sneaks up on him in broad daylight — “Yeah it DOES look like a great big predator, but hey, it’s barely moving, and nothing bad’s happened SO far, right?” — we’ve sat mired in calm complacency in the midst of a slow motion crash.

But things are speeding up.

The Earth is bleeding to death under us, faster and faster, and the best we’ve managed so far is a string of very small Band-Aids.

When the real way to stop the blood loss, the only workable treatment, is the tourniquet of Everybody Stop Having Children. For a while, anyway.

Leaf Eight

Nothing I’ve said here is meant to imply that I have absolutely no hope. Even the statement “we’re fucked” is not something I feel in any final way.

But I’m not optimistic. The only hope I DO see is if we admit the problem, the real problem, and deal with that. Plug the hole in the hull first.

Stop human population growth. Now. Reverse it. Get our numbers down to four billion, two billion, whatever number really IS sustainable in the real world.

Because this is it, kids. The photo finish where humanity as a group crosses the line a split-second ahead of Mr. Death and lives as the better selves we could be, the ones who become rational adults and enter the next Age of life on earth.

Or the photo finish where Mr. Death beats us across, and we die attempting to claw our individual selves out of the sucking pit of our own sewage and malignant runaway growth … and kill everything else we care about — all the whales and wolves, the polar bears and eagles, and even the cats and dogs and horses — along the way.

There is a possible future, maybe even a probable future, where quite a lot of us will live to see the squalid, dehumanizing background-world of Blade Runner, or Mad Max, as the depiction of an enviable Golden Age. (Just FYI, all you rich people thinking you might survive inside some kind of walled compounds, I’d bet real money that the zombie hordes will be eating you FIRST. After all, you’re the fat, juicy ones. )

You, or your kids if you have any, will face this fact: A decidedly unpretty future of death, death and more death is coming soon to a planet near you.

Leaf Nine

And now — deep sigh — cue the shriekers. I obviously want to murder babies, and commit genocide on poor people, right? I’m crazy, I have no proof for my silly dark fantasies and I should probably just shut up (Mr. Gloomy, why do you hate people so much?), and try not to kill other people’s optimism.

Anyway, things aren’t really that bad, and Science Will Find A Way. Like, you know, mining asteroids and colonizing the Moon, sending our surplus population into space. Stuff like that.

Besides, somewhere out there somebody smarter and better informed than you and I has the problem in hand and will fix things up.

After all, those wise strangers, whoever they are — you know, like government people and such — care SO MUCH about you and I and our families, right?

Right?

Right.

30 Responses
  1. dana Claycomb :

    Date: May 17, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

    Great post! But so few people think like this… I’m pretty sure Mr. death is gonna win.

  2. Chauncy :

    Date: July 21, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

    Interesting view but saving your future family by not having a future family is contradictory.

  3. ddmckenna :

    Date: October 6, 2009 @ 10:14 pm

    You said “I don’t see it getting better in my lifetime.” I think it’s quite possible that it could happen within your lifetime, and if it happens, it’ll happen quick – plague could hit. Then again, if the plague hits YOU, then technically it may NOT happen within your lifetime after all…

    As far as “killing the Earth?” We might screw it up so bad that WE can’t live here. But I guarantee you that SOMETHING will live on, even if it’s not us.

    -D

  4. sissie :

    Date: November 15, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

    wow!
    you know.. maybe we should propose a solution to over population….

    Hey! I’ve got it!
    The First Annual Kill Yourself To Save The Earth Day!
    it’s perfect!
    just get Dr. Oz and Oprah, and those wonderful intellectuals over at the Fox Network, to bring it up to main stream media attention , and sell little green ribbons people can wear to announce to the world that they are going to really cut back on their carbon footprint by NOT having one, and recruit even more people!

    David Suzuki could come and give a speech, and thank everyone for their wonderful selfless sacrifice for Mother Earth.

    And anytime anyone brings up the fact that all 6 billion+ people on the earth can fit into Australia on quarter acre blocks of land with half of Queensland and the entire rest of the planet unoccupied, call them names and dismiss them… after all, the new math they teach in school is no longer based on actual, factual equations (like this population versus land mass calculation is) but on consensus….

    And if Dr. Oz (who owns shares in a vaccine company) can recommend to the public to get their vaccinations,
    and they run like lemmings to a cliff,
    think of how many would be willing to make that ultimate sacrifice?

    MARKETING PEOPLE!!
    It’s all based on MARKETING!

    We can do this!

    If companies who sell mammogram machines and chemo medicine can plan the breast cancer run every year and collect millions, we too can get people to come to our Kill Yourself For The Earth Day!

    Any other ideas out there?

  5. hankfox :

    Date: November 19, 2009 @ 1:59 am

    As I say elsewhere:

    One recent denier – Thomas Sowell, I seem to recall – wrote that every human on earth could live within the borders of the state of Texas, with space for a house and yard for each. It was a slick argument, the type of thing that would go right into legions of unwary heads and find purchase there.

    But it was also about the dumbest thing I’d ever seen an otherwise-intelligent man write. Because when you add in all the farms needed to grow food for those people, when you add the stores to buy stuff from, the bauxite mines for aluminum, the forests for lumber, the parks and wildernesses for recreation, the oceanic fishing grounds for seafood, the electrical generation plants, the roads and rivers and railroads and electrical lines to deliver all this stuff, when you put in the schools, hospitals, factories, dairies, meat markets, cattle pastures, government buildings, churches, entertainment facilities and — on and on and on — there’s already not enough room or food on the whole planet for 6.5 billion people.

  6. sissie :

    Date: November 22, 2009 @ 11:51 pm

    So your signing up for my Kill Yourself For The Earth Day hankfox?

    If you truly believe that we are the cause of all the ills on the earth, and the earth is unable to sustain us, then it seems to me your either very selfish or a hypocrite…or else you’d be dead.

    You don’t think people can grown their own food on their own lands without the interference of toxic governments and over regulation?

    My parents have been growing their own food for years on their own land, and they often trade with their neighbors who also believe in being self sufficient.

    Those things that you list, are all things we have only had for less then 200 years, and they are all created and badly managed by the same people who support your viewpoint.

    I am amazed that you think your so clever and “informed” when you are obviously brainwashed by the mainstream media. You don’t even realize that your viewpoint is false and dangerous to YOU.(as well as all humans!)

    Who do you think they want to “save the earth” for? Certainly not YOU.(or me)

    This “people are killing the earth” thing is an old concept… and is patently false.

    The Population Bomb, a creation of the Club of Rome in the 1960′s, declared we’d be out of food by 1975, and millions would starve to death because of over population.
    OOPS! time to dust it off and give it a new slant….

    Global Warming! YES! We’ll vilify life creating and sustaining Carbon Dioxide!! (It has a creepy chemical sound to it… it’ll work)

    They were hoping to bring the agenda through on the FAKE “global warming” but had to change it to “climate change” as the earth is not co-operating….(lol)

    All those things you listed as what we need ARE the problem!

    It’s not the bad neighbor throwing out a tin can in his regular garbage that is the problem, it’s the corporations who pay big fines (they can afford easily) to CONTINUE to dump TOXIC DANGEROUS STUFF into our waters and lands.

    The same corporations who (by the way) are promoting the overpopulation lie.(and convince people like you who have no critical thinking skills, that YOU are the problem THEY created and you need to die)

    Actually they find it hilarious that so many people are willing to take the blame for the damage they caused and were well paid for.

    It is amazing to me, but nowhere else in nature could you find a species who would sit around and discuss how they should all be exterminated!

    (of course, those that talk like this are not including themselves…)

    (Are you hankfox?)

    The system we have allowed the corporations to create with their political “bribe” money to the point where their interests are the only ones that matter (profits over people) is the very system that is screwing up this underpopulated world!

    And people like you, who can’t seem to bother to verify anything they hear,or critical analyze,or even do simple math are helping them, in your fluoride induced dementia.

    You really should do some research!
    Check out Earth Summit 92 and Agenda 21 if you REALLY want to know the truth.

    Turn off that game, cancel your vaccination appointment, and find out how to help the earth and human beings FOR REAL!

    It’s time to wake up!
    It’s time to take the earth back for all living creatures!

    I’ll bet if you live in a city, you could drive 20 minutes in any direction out of the city and find wide open spaces….

    where are all those evil people wasting the earth like a gang of locusts??

    Only in your imagination.

  7. hankfox :

    Date: November 24, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

    Jeez.

    It’s happened to me two or three times that I’ve gotten into raucous arguments with people like this online, only to later find out they were serious drug users in earlier life. I’d be arguing and arguing, patiently trying to explain my viewpoints, and the facts of the issue, and they’d shoot back these radical little tomes like sissie here.

    I guddled around in sissie’s comment for a bit, trying to get some sense of what she was talking about, and then I came to this tidbit:

    “… this underpopulated world!”

    Whoa. And dayyum. And bloody hell.

    We share a planet with people like this, who not only aren’t interested in listening, but couldn’t understand if they did. AND think the rest of us are crazy evil for trying to point out problems, or solve them.

  8. sissie :

    Date: November 25, 2009 @ 1:53 am

    Your right,
    you’ll never win an argument against me because I am using facts and you are using rhetoric and spin.

    I can PROVE the world is under populated with a simple land mass versus population equation.

    So simple a six year old could understand it.

    Can you prove it’s over populated?

    Not it will be when baby 7 billion is born, or we don’t have enough farm land etc…and not enough trains to carry food… just the earth is “X” big and divide the amount of people into land mass and give me an amount of land per person.
    “x” people divided into “X” land mass equals “x” square miles per person.

    Kudos to you for using the mass media’s favorite secret weapon… when your argument holds no water, attack your opponent with name calling.ie drug user.

    I’m very interested in listening, but unfortunately for you, my critical thinking skills are well honed. You made a statement ” the world is overpopulated” yet you give no facts or figures. Yeah sure 6 billion is a big number, but how big is the earth actually? How do those numbers fit together?

    You don’t even know the history or development of that belief.

    Maybe we can start from something simple like your belief the world is overpopulated, and work to some kind of agreement from there.

    Show me how your statement “the world is overpopulated” is supported by facts.

    I have no problems with pointing out problems and trying to solve them but your problem “overpopulation” is as flimsy as “weapons of mass destruction in Iraq” (ah just in case you watch Fox News, there was no weapons of mass destruction), and your solution “murdering people”
    is not an acceptable solution.

    So please, if you can, show me the FACTS.

    If your right, and your belief is valid, then maybe you can show me the light….

  9. hankfox :

    Date: November 25, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

    Sissie, I’m curious:

    Are you a devotee of Ayn Rand, by any chance?

    Do you live in a city? Have you spent much time hiking or camping in wildlands?

    Do you believe that every bit of the earth belongs to human beings, and nothing else matters? If there was a large section of fertile land occupied by rare tigers or mountain gorillas, and human families living nearby were starving, would it be okay to kill the tigers and gorillas in order to turn the land into farms for growing food for people?

    Do you doubt that it’s possible to overuse certain resources? In other words, the supposed shortages of certain commodities — like helium, for instance, or copper — are they phony shortages? Is there an infinite or inexhaustible supply of these things?

    You say your critical thinking skills are well-honed. Have you taken debate or rhetoric classes?

    Might I ask how old you are? Do you think people older than you have any ideas worth hearing?

    Are you saying that you were NOT a frequent drug user at some earlier period in your life?

    Do you donate blood? Give to charity? Are you a regular member of a church, or do you consider yourself an evangelical Christian?

    Do you believe that potential approaches to human population include 1) no action at all, and 2) murdering people, and that there are absolutely no other possible approaches?

    Are you familiar with the story of the civilization that once existed on Easter Island?

    Finally, would you point out where you saw that my “solution” to overpopulation was “murdering people”? I had a hard time finding the place where I said that.

  10. sissie :

    Date: November 26, 2009 @ 12:42 am

    First I’ll acknowledge that although you’ve completely ignored my very simple question, I’ll be happy to answer yours.

    No I’ve never heard of Ayn Rand but I’ll be reading up on her in the future.

    Yes, I live in the city, but spent most of my life hiking and camping.
    I own 4 acres of wilderness which
    I hope one day to homestead.

    I think your question “Do you believe that every bit of the earth belongs to human beings, and nothing else matters?” is a ridiculous one.

    Because I believe the world is underpopulated means I don’t care about any other life forms?
    I’m not sure what road you took to arrive at that erroneous conclusion.

    The next part of your question is equally silly. (obviously you’ve never spent any time near gorillas or tigers)I have two guys at work who grew up in Africa, and they explained it to me very well.

    People who live near gorillas and tigers and are starving has nothing to do with the fact that they live near gorillas and tigers.

    In fact, if we left the people alone who live near gorillas and tigers, they would continue to live in harmony with the gorillas and tigers.(As they have done for thousands of years)

    The people who live near gorillas and tigers STARVE because the World Bank lends their government money at a high rate of interest to develop infrastructure, such as water and power plants. The problem occurs because the governments do not receive the money, the money is given to European and American corporations who are supposed to build the infrastructures.

    They keep the money, and most of the time they build nothing, but the country who agreed to the loan is still on the hook to pay it back.

    Because most countries with gorillas and tigers do not have alot of money there is no way for the governments to pay back the money, so the world bank makes claims to the lands and the animals and the minerals,etc..

    So the food that is planted, the fish that are caught, that should feed the people (like it did for thousands of years) is now removed from the country and sold for a profit to pay the interest on the World Bank loan.

    If anyone is razing the land to plant for profit, it is not the people, but the corporations who have stolen the land and resources for profit.

    This quick snapshot has been going on since the early seventies and continues to impoverish the people and destroy the lands and animals in countries all around the world.

    If lands are taken from tigers and gorillas it is not the people but the corporations who are demanding money for a loan that never ever benefited the people of the country, just a few high up government officials.

    Do I think it is possible to overuse certain resources? hmmm…
    Could you tell me what resources you are referring to? The question is too broad to give an intelligent answer.

    I think many resources are badly managed and we are told there are shortages when there are not so the prices can be driven higher. I can give you some examples.. like oil.

    No, no debate classes no rhetoric.
    Just an ability to actually question everything I’m being told and it’s sources. A good rule of thumb when faced with “information” is to ask yourself “who benefits”.

    I’m old.. lol 40ish… and I think all people should be able to express themselves.

    What exactly is a frequent drug user anyways??
    Do you mean do I take aspirin for a headache? Do I have a disease that requires medication?
    Is alcohol a drug? How about cigarettes?
    That was kind of a closed minded thing to say.

    I do not give blood (very common blood type)

    I only give to those I can see who need it get it.

    Religion is not for me.. I ask too many questions.

    as for over population solutions…

    Agenda 21 has two solutions for so called overpopulation..

    1.That everyone on the planet return to living like peasants ( a feudal system you know like the dark ages..)
    Where only the elite will have a quality of life the rest of us slaves on the plantation.( they say this can support 7 billion people)

    or

    Mass depopulation. (which to me sounds like murder)

    I am familiar with many stories of Easter Island.

    First,

    You have still not provided me with any PROOF that the world is over populated.

    Why are you trying to find a solution to a problem you can’t even prove exists??

    As for your “solution” to overpopulation was “murdering people”…I think your entire piece has a dark gloomy “we’re doomed” feel about it and it becomes really clear when you say

    “And now — deep sigh — cue the shriekers. I obviously want to murder babies, and commit genocide on poor people, right? I’m crazy, I have no proof for my silly dark fantasies and I should probably just shut up (Mr. Gloomy, why do you hate people so much?), and try not to kill other people’s optimism.”

    So I have now answered your questions and I’m hoping you will please answer mine…

    Have you taken debate or rhetoric classes?

    Might I ask how old you are? Do you think people older than you have any ideas worth hearing?

    Do you donate blood?
    Give to charity?
    Are you a regular member of a church, or do you consider yourself an evangelical Christian?

    and last but not least,

    Please prove the world is over populated.

    It’s obvious you believe this whole heartedly, so you obviously must have proof.. so share it with me.

  11. hankfox :

    Date: November 26, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

    Answers:

    No debate or rhetoric training. I was briefly exposed to the field in high school, but I hated the fact that the point was to learn to argue effectively, rather than to argue for true things. It seemed to me the unspoken intent of the thing was to produce lawyers and politicians rather than people of heart and conscience. To produce people who would use the developed skill as a weapon against others, rather than as a tool to assist in learning and growing.

    I’m 57. And yes and no, depending on the person. Some older people have decades of useful experience and the insights that come with it, others have a year’s worth of the same experience over decades, and the cramped attitudes that come with that.

    Blood donations: I have my ‘gallon pin,’ and a little bit more. Most of my charity is direct, rather than through organizations.

    I joke that I’m an ‘evangelical’ atheist. My feeling about religion amounts to a sociological fascination with it, and a continuous mystification that the people in it are in some sort of closed-off little mind-universe that makes them almost completely unreachable. I suspect that they actually use their brains differently than normal, healthy people.

    In this bit: ‘Because I believe the world is underpopulated means I don’t care about any other life forms? I’m not sure what road you took to arrive at that erroneous conclusion.’

    … you appear to be thinking in one of those black/white dichotomies that seldom exist in the real world, and at the same time accusing me of being the one who thinks like that.

    Some of this stuff I asked, I was really more interested in the way you think rather than attempting to make points by the questions. The gorillas and tigers question, it actually didn’t occur to me that you’d read into it what you did. Gorillas and tigers only popped into my head as convenient handles to grasp the deeper question: In any conflict between the needs of wildlife and the needs of humans, is it ever necessary to consider the needs of wildlife?

    (I tend to think the conflicts that arise are a result of human stupidity – in the sense that a little bit of proactive foresight, which might include population control, can provide for BOTH human and animal needs, and that killing off species such as tigers and gorillas in some sort of desperate last-ditch attempt to save the lives of starving humans is the short-sighted equivalent of eating the seed corn of your environment. Sure, you eat for a day, but in every tomorrow the starvation spreads and gets worse. Better to back up a year, or two, or twenty, and make better decisions THEN.)

    .

    ‘Do I think it is possible to overuse certain resources? hmmm… / Could you tell me what resources you are referring to? The question is too broad to give an intelligent answer.’

    I did mention helium and copper. But it could equally be lobsters, or bison, or chestnut trees, or dodos.

    Overall, I’m surprised that you seem intelligent, but that you actually doubt overpopulation is happening. In all of this, I was trying to find some sort of handle on understanding how you can think like that.

    I expected there was going to be some obvious thing – ‘Oh, he’s (she’s?) a staunch libertarian,’ or ‘Oh, he’s a Jehovah’s Witness,’ or ‘Oh, he’s just young.’

    But I don’t yet see where the thing is.

    The best I can get is that you’re either unable to extrapolate from the models at hand, or you have some definite reason – possibly unknown to you – for refusing to consider it.

    The tone of your replies, the aggressive defensiveness, the fact that you came HERE to fight, suggests the second. This is not some intellectual exercise on your part – as the saying goes, you have a dog in this fight. And I’m still idly interested in knowing what that is.

    Do I think the world can support more humans? Well, yes. But only in the short term. And the result will be nasty. It’s already happening, probably has been for 30 years or more.

    The progressive beggaring of the quality of that life matters to me. Even in my own subjective life I’ve seen diminishment of that quality. And the fact that species have vanished, are vanishing, or that others are not vanishing only by concerted and frantic efforts, is undeniable.

    The ‘creep’ of diminishing quality is obvious to me every day. In one of my professions, I’m a baker. I wear gloves at work when I handle food. Twenty or thirty years ago, I didn’t. The glove-wearing is partly recent clean-freak over-carefulness, but it’s also partly an admission that the potential transmission of human disease is more dangerous than it was 30 years ago. Nobody had Hepatitis-C back then, or if they did, it wasn’t likely they’d be handling stuff, as we do in modern corporate environments, that would expose 320,000 people to it. The question isn’t ‘can I wear gloves,’ it’s ‘does it cost me something to do it?’ And the answer is: yes, there’s a cost.

    Extrapolating outward from this quality-creep, and from other factors, I can see some obvious unpleasantries. One is what I call a ‘gradual effect’ – this diminishment of quality I speak of – which can be reversible. The other is what I call a ‘threshold effect’ – an instantaneous and non-reversible break from one condition to another.

    Gradual effects can build up to threshold effects – a ‘tipping point,’ in recent parlance. Drinking soda erodes the enamel of the drinker’s teeth, then one day a tooth breaks off. Carbon dioxide accumulates on the floor of Lake Nyos over centuries, then one day releases all at once, killing 1,700 people and 3,500 farm animals.

    Or: Population grows slowly and gradually, people living more and more closely together, then one day a disease sweeps through the population and kills millions, or billions.

    And: Population increase slowly and gradually stresses the surrounding environment, and one day a critical environmental link breaks, and radically changes the atmosphere, or the oceans, or the food chain.

    I worry about the threshold effects, in a sort-of remote way. But even the gradual effects, which do impact me directly, are unpleasant. For instance, I used to be able to walk my dog in the woods. Today there aren’t even any woods, and if there were, I’d have to have the dog leashed every step of the way. The woods, and the freedom to walk in them, eroded away to zero. Because of local population increase.

    But really, the woods are only a special case of a much larger phenomenon attributable to worldwide population increase.

    It isn’t just numbers we’re talking about. I always think that the people who claim we can ramp up human population on earth to 8 billion, 10 billion, 20 billion, are either incomplete thinkers or unconsciously wicked ones.

    Because 5 people can live in a house where only 2 lived before. But there is a COST to the 2 people. Ten people can live in a house where only 5 lived before, but there is a COST to the 5 people. Twenty people can live in a house where only 10 lived before, but there is a COST to the 10 people.

    Eight billion (2030) can live on a planet where only four billion (1975) lived before. But there is a COST to the four billion. As well as to every non-human part of the world.

    And eventually there is a threshold effect, where things break that can’t be fixed.

    For someone not to notice that, and not to include it in their thinking, I can only imagine that they’re more anxious to make some other point, than to actually accept or understand the situation.

    I tend to suspect that a deadly threshold effect is either already happening or has happened, but that the relative time scales – the human and the environmental – are different enough that we can’t easily see it. Like a car crash seen in extreme slow motion, there are long moments during which the passengers are unaware they’re already pretty much dead.

    Finally, I honestly don’t expect you to understand much of this. Not because it’s you, but just because I haven’t had much luck generally in explaining such things to people who aren’t already figuring some of it out on their own.

    I lived in a small town in the mountains for many years, and I started seeing patterns – social, economic, environmental and political patterns – that alarmed me. I started saying in public that all of this would lead to this certain end point that none of us would like very much – a social, economic, environmental and political end point that would be much less desirable than what we had. But I couldn’t get many people to listen, and 20 years later, pretty much everything I imagined actually happened. There are now places in the town where it’s not safe to go, property ownership is available only to rich people, every mom-and-pop shop in town is gone (which means just about every working person in town works for a corporation), the local wildlife is regularly shot or harassed to keep people safe from it, once pristine lush green meadows are permanently rutted by dirt bike tracks, the streams are all polluted with giardia or worse, and the place swarms with cops wearing body armor. Not to mention elected officials on the take from the corporations.

    There are patterns in the larger world too. And consequences of those patterns. Everything I said in this post was an attempt to hint at some of those patterns. To get some people, the ones who might be able to hear it, to think about what is coming.

    If that’s not you, I’m okay with that.

    And finally-finally, a lot of my own view of what’s happening is based on a viewpoint I suspect I was born with, a carefulness that plays out as a desire to fail-safe the systems I’m involved with. As in: A) ‘What if population increase is dangerous?’ rather than B) ‘What if population increase is no problem?’

    If it’s B, but you react as if it’s A, that carries a certain price. If it’s A, but you react as if it’s B, that carries a different price. I can imagine how overestimating the danger of population increase will pose an inconvenience to certain people. But I can also imagine how underestimating the danger might lead to a catastrophic end result. In the one, I can’t imagine how people will die. In the other, I can imagine that billions will die.

    The fail-safe is, you make plans that avert the (possible) extreme danger, with an eye to the fact that whatever you do will inconvenience some people. In my view, you don’t dig in your heels like a 15-year-old and keep saying “Prove it! Prove it!” You weigh the costs on both sides of the question, and you do SOMETHING to deal with it … all the while looking for better evidence, or more obvious trends.

  12. sissie :

    Date: November 27, 2009 @ 2:23 am

    Hi

    Thanks for the regular information, it’s helpful to see where you are coming from to see where you get your beliefs from.

    For the record, I’m a she.

    you said:
    “Gorillas and tigers only popped into my head as convenient handles to grasp the deeper question: In any conflict between the needs of wildlife and the needs of humans, is it ever necessary to consider the needs of wildlife?”

    For which I tried to show you WHY it appears to you to be a conflict between humans and animals when it has nothing what so ever to do with either.

    Your “deeper question” is only a tiny scratch of the surface.

    The world is very very badly managed and this bad management is causing death and destruction for both humans and animals. You think we are in a adversarial relationship with animals, when in truth we are in the same boat.

    I wish you’d just say X people on X land = overpopulation.

    But I know why you don’t. Because if you did, you would see, the world is not over populated at all, and all you’ve invested over your lifetime in that erroneous belief will be for naught and you will be left feeling tricked and uncomfortable.

    No one likes to feel that they are gullible and can be easily taken in by a lie

    I know that feeling, because I shared your views until I actually examined the science behind it. And the people propagating the (in my opinion) BIG LIE and the reason they are doing this.

    You said:”I started seeing patterns – social, economic, environmental and political patterns – that alarmed me. I started saying in public that all of this would lead to this certain end point that none of us would like very much – a social, economic, environmental and political end point that would be much less desirable than what we had”

    What if I tell you I agree with you and that I too noticed these changes but have come to a very different conclusion as to why they are happening? Could we examine that?

    Just for fun, take out a paper and pencil and figure out how much land per person there would be if we divided the earth up into one piece per person.

    If we can start with a clear point of reference, we can then add in all the things you think are the costs on both sides of the question.

    We could “what if” all day and wrap ourselves in bubble-paper, live in fear and be cautious about everything, or we can stand and face it in a logical manner and see if there really is anything to be concerned about.

    You only need to do SOMETHING to deal with IT, if IT EXISTS. Maybe we’ll learn the IT we need to deal with isn’t the IT we think it is.

    So try my little formula and lets work from there, adding all the costs and weighing all the evidence.

    Ask yourself who benefits from this belief?

    Not humans and not animals either.

    I see from some of your other pages, you are a Darwin fan.

    Do you know where he got his money to live while he came up with his theory of evolution?

    Notice it is still just a theory?

    I’m not saying I believe or disbelieve in evolution, I just think there have to be other choices.

    I do appreciate that you are taking the time to have a discussion with me, and I hope we can both open the lids on our individual boxes just a little bit and maybe learn a little something from this.

  13. Hank Fox :

    Date: November 29, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

    Sissie, I’m REALLY busy with a writing project right now, but I would like to get back to you in a few days. There’s one more thing that must be said.

  14. sissie :

    Date: November 30, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

    Well I’m hoping you’ve been busy, and not unhappy about what I wrote, and that you are still willing to continue this discussion.

    I’ve been doing a little research, and thought you might be interested in what I found.

    I assuming you believe that imminent overpopulation of the world and therefore the strangling of the human race by too many people crowded into too small a place causes environmental damage, famines, depletion of resources and will lead to the destruction of planet earth. (If I have that wrong, please let me know)

    Please, take deep breath, and make a conscious decision to open your mind to allow the information I am about to share with you, in for evaluation.

    Did you know….

    -Statistics released by the United Nations have for decades shown a gradual decline in the birth rates of most nations.

    -In 1970 the annual growth rate peaked at 2.09%, however by 1995 that number had dropped to 1.5% and it’s still dropping.

    -It’s estimated by the United Nations that the 80 countries that have 40% of the world’s population have fertility rates too low to prevent future population declines, not population increases as we have been led to believe.

    -Overpopulation and the environment are said to be linked in that too many people in one area causes famines.

    -Studies have shown the major cause of famine throughout the world has been political strife and manipulation.

    - Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998, stated the Bangladesh famine of 1974,

    “occurred in a year of greater food availability per head than in any other year between 1971 and 1976.”

    This is just one example of the institutional cause of famine, not the overpopulation myth.

    -Roger Revelle, Director of the Harvard Centre for Population Studies, estimates that the world’s agricultural resources are capable of supporting 40 billion people.
    (how many years do you think it will take to get to that number, since our population growth is in a decline?)

    -Indian economist Raj Krishna estimates that India ALONE is capable of increasing crop yields to the point of providing the entire world’s food supply.

    -The facts are that people in third world countries are, on average, consuming more calories than ever before, and the trend is on the rise. That is when their GOVERNMENTS don’t get in the way and start political catastrophes that kill poor people and leave wide open opportunities for the rich to take advantage of.

    -With modern technologies we’re able to discover more reserves of natural resources than we ever have been able to before. And we’re also able to extract more from what previously were marginal resources; ‘unclean’ oil or metals mixed deeply with other elements that made their extraction and purification difficult if not impossible.

    -With the increase in technology and the recent skyrocketing price in oil, alternative sources of energy are on the horizon.

    -Sources such as seaweed, ocean waves, and even the limitless potential of the hydrogen element are closer than ever to being practical.(personally i like geothermal for heating and cooling as it’s available everywhere, and although expensive now, the price keeps dropping.)

    Overpopulation isn’t the problem, although UNDER-POPULATION very well might be. And the environment can sustain much more food production, enough for more than the current 6 billion inhabitants, and new resources are right around the corner.

    The key is to keep the GOVERNMENTS from taking these great resources and discoveries and using them AGAINST US rather than FOR us.

    You said:
    “Thomas Sowell, I seem to recall – wrote that every human on earth could live within the borders of the state of Texas, with space for a house and yard for each.” You called this “the dumbest thing I’d ever seen an otherwise-intelligent man write.”

    But did you know that if all 6.7 billion people lived in the state of Texas that the population density of the state would be the same as that currently in Paris, France?

    Yet, do we think of Paris as suffering from the effect of overpopulation?

    The fact is, we can easily sustain many times more people than this.

    In fact, in the last hundred years the gross domestic product increased nearly 40 times and the food available for human consumption has increased at many times the rate of population growth.

    Sure there are more of us now but we have vastly more food and resources. The standard of living potential is far greater now than ever before, even with so many people.

    We hear that the world can’t support so many people and this is why pollution is out of control and people all over the world are living in squalor and starving to death.

    Most people believe this is the case simply because we hear it so often.

    But is it true?

    In truth, the large corporations in this world own the media companies than propagate this information.

    They use their media influence to convince us that pollution, poverty and famine are the result of overpopulation, but this is a deception.

    In fact, it is the large corporations themselves that cause pollution, poverty and famine. This is why they attempt to convince us these problems are merely the effect of overpopulation.

    Overpopulation isn’t the problem- global corporate greed is the real cause.

    How do we solve overpopulation?

    The first step is to look at the facts.

    “The myth of overpopulation is one of the most powerful in the world… .” Michael Schwartz,
    Overpopulation and the War against the Poor

    Most of the Earth is in FACT
    desolate and barren of population.

    The entire population of the world could fit into Arkansas if it wanted to do so.

    The issue isn’t that the population will outgrow the available space at all.

    The issue is that less desirable kinds of people will become the dominant population as opposed to the elites who are currently dominating the world.

    The central banking cabals, heads of state and major bureaucrats are, to put it bluntly, mostly a bunch of old white people.

    (I’m caucasian, just in case you think I am saying this because I have some kind of racial bias.. I also believe all people are equal human beings and the beliefs and myths that separate us are detrimental to having the kind of world we should as be living in and sharing)

    The myth of overpopulation allows them to strike out against the booming young black, brown and yellow and poor populations of the world with a shred of legitimacy.

    In another age, their solution to the issue of how do we solve overpopulation, (a perceived problem they’ve created), would be considered murder.

    (I consider it murder)

    The elite get to be the elite because there aren’t very many of them and so they fear the masses.

    Creating the perception that the world is overpopulated is a great way to motivate individuals to restrict their own reproductive habits and to justify “thinning the herd” in developing and developed nations.

    didn’t you yourself say:

    Here’s retarded: Every environmentalist and green advocate who ever lived who failed to recognize that the foundation of EVERY environmental problem is too many people.

    Have you ever stopped to examine why
    they seem to fail at coming to the same conclusion as you when they have their hands on the scientific information??

    Ever ask yourself WHY you believe that overpopulation is the CAUSE of all the ills on the planet?

    You’ve been manipulated by a marketing technique known as low involvement learning.

    This technique creates a memory without evaluation. If you hear it enough, see it in print, it becomes TRUE without evaluation.
    (which is why is it so difficult to get you to do the simple land mass versus population equation. Your brain has created a belief, and it is protecting that belief.It will not consider anything that is perceived as a threat to that belief.
    It is also why this post will be very hard for you to read.)

    Now, there is no doubt that there are crowded places in the world where there are limited resources.

    But that doesn’t mean the world is overpopulated. Creating the crisis and getting people to ask, “How do we solve overpopulation?” is merely manipulating the public to advance a control agenda.

    All the things you’ve been experiencing as “overpopulation caused” are actually “government population control caused”..

    I know every fiber in your being is screaming out to reject this information.

    I’m hoping your critical thinking skills will allow you to read this information, and maybe set a fire under you to show me how wrong I am.

    I am giving you facts and I expect you to give me facts back to support your counter-argument.

    I am really hoping you have just been busy and have not decided to stop talking with me.

    You were asking in another post what could possibly be my motivation for “picking this fight” with you….

    I’ll give you the answer.

    There are many ropes holding the world in this horrible position, and one of them is the overpopulation/environmental lie.

    Your blog (although completely misinformed) is obviously a sincere expression of your desire to want to help the world. I too share that desire. We w

  15. sissie :

    Date: November 30, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

    We will never be able to help the world if we rely on lies as the foundation in which to build the solution.

    I’m sincerely hoping you will keep talking to me..

    (sorry, the bottom of my last post didn’t quite make it..)

  16. barb :

    Date: December 1, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

    You talked about Lake Nyos as if humans did something to cause it, when it was just a natural disaster.

    Do we cause volcanic eruptions? How did we do that if we’ve had volcanic eruptions since before we had coal plants, cars and other things blamed for the increase in c02?

    All lakes accumulate C02 at the bottom, and nature has a way of dissipating the c02. It was the location of this particular lake that didn’t allow it to dissipate.

    It is one of three lakes with the same type of location that prevents it from dissipating it’s c02 naturally.

    It has happened more than once. check out the link if you want to know more.

    http://www.neatorama.com/2007/05/21/the-strangest-disaster-of-the-20th-century/

  17. sissie :

    Date: December 2, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

    Okay,

    I’ll wait for your reply.

    I’m curious though, how did you get your post on November 29th to post as the 29th when it was actually written on the 2nd?

    I check this every day and the posting for the 29th did not appear until the 2nd of December.

    If i had seen the posting on the 29th, I wouldn’t of written my post on the 30th.

    anyways, hope your writing is going well.

    cheers

  18. sissie :

    Date: December 7, 2009 @ 11:00 am

    Well, It is now the 7th, and I’m pretty sure that could be considered a few days…
    so I’m going to conclude you have no response to my posts.

    I’m sure you won’t be able to present a counter-argument because all the counter arguments that support your view are so flimsy, they blow away in the wind of reality. They just don’t stand up to scrutiny.

    Facts are not opinions, they are just facts. So they are the easiest position to take. (which is why this argument was so easy for me to win.)

    I’m a little disappointed you gave up so easily, (you seemed very sure of your viewpoint) but I am hoping I have given you something to think about while you cling to your erroneous view of overpopulation.

    Hopefully you are able to analyze some of the facts I’ve given you..

    And if you do….

    It’s almost like leaving a church….

    (remember what you said about religious people?)

    “My feeling about religion amounts to a sociological fascination with it, and a continuous mystification that the people in it are in some sort of closed-off little mind-universe that makes them almost completely unreachable. I suspect that they actually use their brains differently than normal, healthy people.”

    You are right about that. (your “church” of overpopulation requires you have a closed off unreachable mind)You do use your brain differently that normal questioning fully functional healthy people…

    But…when the viewpoint of the group (church)around you stays the same and yours starts to grow due to exposure to information contrary to the doctrine of overpopulation, to the point where you can see the fallacy of the belief, it’s hard to stay in the belief (church).

    If you ever choose freedom and truth, I’d love to hear from you.

    Take care!

  19. Hank Fox :

    Date: December 7, 2009 @ 9:32 pm

    Sissie, here’s the one last thing I wanted to say:

    You said “Do you know where [Darwin] got his money to live while he came up with his theory of evolution? / Notice it is still just a theory?”

    I seriously doubt you will understand or accept what I’m about to say, but I’m okay with that. It still needs to be said. I’ll try to go slow.

    The word “strike” means one thing if you’re talking about bowling, another thing if you’re talking about baseball, yet another thing if you’re talking about a union grievance, and even a fourth thing if you’re a fly fisherman.

    Get it?

    WORDS CAN HAVE DIFFERENT MEANINGS DEPENDING ON THE CONTEXT.

    If you want to communicate some sort of real meaning, you have to use the meaning appropriate to the context.

    The bowler at the baseball game can’t say “That wasn’t a strike! He didn’t even knock down the pins!” The fly fisherman can’t say “That wasn’t a strike! There aren’t even any fish out there.” The union rep can’t say “That wasn’t a strike! They’re not even picketing!”

    The word strike, in baseball, means SOMETHING SPECIFIC. In baseball, “strike” is a TECHNICAL TERM. If you’re talking baseball, you have to talk the language of baseball.

    You have no choice, if you want to be understood, if you want to communicate something real, but to use the word according to the context in which the word applies.

    With me so far? I have reason to doubt it. But …

    The word “theory” has at least two different meanings. One of those meanings is a COLLOQUIAL one, a loose usage that means something like “a wild idea I pulled out of my ass after a night of heavy drinking.”

    I have a THEORY that people snore because it sounded like growling to predators thinking of coming into camp and dragging someone off. My THEORY is that the people who snored had more offspring, and so the trait was passed on and that’s why today lots of us snore.

    I have a THEORY that all bullies – big people who pick on smaller, weaker ones – are actually cowards, and therefore anyone who picks on someone smaller and weaker than them is automatically shown to be a coward.

    I have a THEORY that Melissa got pregnant because she wants to get away from her parents, and she thinks Robby will discover he wants to be a father, and will take her away with him when he moves back to England.

    Likewise, one of the meanings of the word “theory” – a totally different meaning from the colloquial one – is a TECHNICAL one.

    If you’re going to talk about the SCIENCE of evolution, if you’re going to critique it as SCIENCE, and not just on the basis of some loose personal opinion, you have to use the words of science.

    In science, “theory” is a TECHNICAL TERM.

    In science, it does NOT mean “a wild idea,” anymore than “strike” in baseball means “knocking down all ten of the bowling pins.”

    Science: Cell Theory. Germ Theory. Atomic Theory. Plate Tectonics Theory.

    We have endless evidence that all macroscopic living things are made up of cells. The THEORY of cells is so well supported that nobody but a fool doubts it.

    Cell theory is not a guess. It’s something we KNOW, as much as we can know anything. You can SEE them.

    We have endless evidence that infectious diseases are caused by germs. Not witchcraft. Not the Evil Eye. Not malign vapors carried on the night air. The THEORY of the infectious properties of germs is so well supported that nobody but a fool doubts it.

    Germ theory is not some wild idea a couple of guys jiggered together after a couple of shots of Everclear at a backyard barbecue.

    We have endless evidence that solid matter is made up of combinations of slightly over 100 different types of atoms. We have evidence – truckloads of it – that atoms exist, and that they have certain properties.

    The THEORY of atoms is so well supported that nobody but a fool doubts it.

    Atomic theory is not something tinkered up to make a science fiction story sound plausible.

    We have endless evidence that crustal plates on the earth move. Very slowly, but definitely, they move. We know roughly what the earth looked like millions of years ago, when all the plates that held dry land were clumped together, so that earth had a single continent, and we know roughly how they drifted apart, and where each piece went. We know that what is Africa today once fit snugly up against what is South America.

    The THEORY of plate tectonics is so well supported that nobody but a fool doubts it.

    Plate Tectonics is not some mad fantasy.

    Okay, here it comes. The startling leap that I’m betting you’re not going to understand.

    “Theory,” when you’re talking about the science of evolution, does not mean “a still-unsupported idea a bearded old man cooked up after quaffing a few too many mugs of beer at the local pub.”

    It means “an idea supported by so much evidence that nobody really doubts it.” It means a unifying idea that explains and ties together so much about the biological world that everybody who learns it pretty much goes “Aha! So THAT’S why bears have the same number of fingers and toes as us!” Or “Oh, wow! So THAT’S why winged mammals and birds only have two legs!” Or “Sonofagun! So THAT’S why our eyes work the way they do!”

    Evolution is not “just a theory.” It’s something you can teach to 6-year-olds, with evidence you can find in any museum or library, and have it understood. It’s an idea that ties together the entirety of the living world in a fabulous web of understandable connections. It’s a proven fact – if you can call a proven fact something which is supported by mountains of evidence that come independently from 20 different fields of science – that we and every other living thing are intimately related, that we – pine trees and poets, bears and bartenders, sea cows and supermodels, rock stars and rats – all sprang from the same roots.

    For you to use the phrase “Notice it is still just a theory?” is just sad.

    Sad because it probably doesn’t mean you somehow missed learning about the basics of evolution, or the technical meaning of the word “theory.” Sad because it probably DOES mean that you have some sort of vested emotional interest in refusing to understand these simple facts – excuse me, THEORIES – of science.

    Yes, yes, even now I’m sure you’re formulating some sort of appropriately catty reply. You and I can snipe at each other indefinitely into the future, and each get our own grim little satisfactions out of it.

    But aside from that … damn, you don’t KNOW about evolution? You don’t KNOW that “theory” has a technical definition?

    Do you REALLY think there’s some deep doubt about evolution, some doubt that it happened and that it explains so much about living things? Well … you’re just wrong.

  20. sissie :

    Date: December 8, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

    First, the scientific definitions of Scientific Law, Hypothesis, and Theory

    Scientific Law: This is a statement of fact meant to describe, in concise terms, an action or set of actions. It is generally accepted to be true and universal, and can sometimes be expressed in terms of a single mathematical equation. Scientific laws are similar to mathematical postulates. They don’t really need any complex external proofs; they are accepted at face value based upon the fact that they have always been observed to be true.

    Hypothesis: This is an educated guess based upon observation. It is a rational explanation of a single event or phenomenon based upon what is observed, but which has not been proved. Most hypotheses can be supported or refuted by experimentation or continued observation.

    Theory: A theory is more like a scientific law than a hypothesis. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis.

    In science, a theory is a rigorously tested statement of general principles that explains observable and recorded aspects of the world. A scientific theory therefore describes a higher level of understanding that ties “facts” together. A scientific theory stands until proven wrong — it is never proven correct.

    (BTW) I’m not surprised you only commented on the Darwin statement and completely ignored everything else i wrote…

  21. sissie :

    Date: December 8, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

    Charles Darwin felt strongly that observations made on large scale explorations showed conclusively that many clearly different organisms, animals as well as plants, were related to one another by some as yet unknown law. In other words, evolution existed.

    His now famous book outlined how a purely natural process of selection could produce similar effects, and thus explain the development of new species without reference to a creator or god.

    Darwin takes you through a full three chapters of the book, hinting at a definition based solely on the effects of the as-yet unexplained process, all the while lauding the properties of Natural Selection, suggesting a scenario which dramatically increases the probability that the definition, once it is made, will be accepted. Then, in chapter four, he defines what has been called “the most important concept in biology (or science even)” in a mere 27 words:
    “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, (adding in a later edition) or the Survival of the Fittest.”

    • Note importantly that the definition of Natural Selection is based on the effects of it, and the mechanism or cause is not stated.

    Darwin’s reasoning seems to be, in effect, ‘species have changed, and the only plausible explanation for it is that they have been “selected”, therefore they have been Naturally Selected’ – (which conclusion is typical of his pattern of thought, another excellent example of his ability of “circular reasoning”).

    Darwin was severally criticized by his peers for his use of the term. This criticism was sufficient to cause Darwin to first defend it as an “apocryphal” description and later to essentially abandon the term.

    Darwin’s book went through 6 editions in about a dozen years, and he had abandoned the term Natural Selection (but not the concept) after the fourth edition. In his own words, the term “Survival of the Fittest” is more accurate and is sometimes equally convenient.

    So then, for all practical purposes, abandoning the original concept of Natural Selection (selection by the “conditions”).
    Nonetheless, in spite of this turnabout in Darwin’s feelings, the term is still used routinely throughout the field of biology and appears in virtually every textbook as an explanation for the cause if evolution.

  22. sissie :

    Date: December 8, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

    There are two (2) aspects to belief in evolution. One is that evolution is a “fact”, another is that it is only a theory. While not all biologists believe that evolution is a fact, this idea is endorsed virtually without acknowledgement in the many books and text books on biology. A statement such as ….’the overwhelming evidence of evolution’ …..occurs in most books on the subject, and the word “evolution” is used often, seemingly at every opportunity. Yet the absences of the difficulties in this theory are nowhere to be found.
    A rather subtle inference is contained in the oft-stated conclusion or representation that evolution is a fact: the belief is a direct refutation not only of any contrary scientific data, but just as well to any theistic evolutionary or creationist belief.

    Latin term “post hoc propter hoc” (literally “after this [therefore] because of this”) is a recognized logical fallacy, and it best describes one type of argument made for the belief in evolution.
    It is a term which describes a logical conclusion of “causation”, in an appearance-based belief, for a cause-effect relationship. Thus the various similarities in organisms, which are recognized today and extends back well before Darwin’s time, is the prime factor for this belief in evolution. Darwin formed this belief early on, and stated:
    “In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species.” (Darwin’s book Origins)

    In the above quote the mutual affinities and embryological relations, establish the criteria for the conclusion. This conclusion, on its face, is hypothetical at best. Thus, if at least these two of the above four attributes of organisms did not exist, there would be no possibility of “evolution”. Even though Darwin states that the facts might allow the conclusion for evolution, he understood this limitation, seemingly better than it is understood today, and stated so in following paragraphs of his book, (not quoted).
    He never made the statement or assumed that “evolution is a fact”, as is common today and in actuality expressed doubts that it could be proven; one of these, the continuity of the fossil record is well known as one of his objections.
    It should be noted that much was unknown in Darwin’s day e.g., the existence of “GACT” DNA was not even suspected until recently, so that Darwin’s belief would be more plausible during his era, although still a “post hoc” fallacy.

    When the “post hoc” argument is made, it is usually expressed in the following terms: If event “B” follows event “A” then event “B” has been caused by event “A”. The only proper logical conclusion which can be made is as follows: “If event “B” follows event “A” then the possibility exists that event “B” has been caused by event “A”.

    As a practical example for clarity, two known facts, evidence of an oil spill and an automobile accident, might be the basis of an argument for the “cause” of the accident to be the presence of the oil. An assumption might be made that the oil prevented control of the vehicle and thus caused the accident.
    For this possibility to be true, it must at the very least be demonstrated that event “a”, the oil, preceded event “b”, the accident. If the oil was not present prior to the accident, then this argument cannot be made. However, this is not a “sufficient” fact to demonstrate causality, only a “necessary” one for the relationship to be true. Therefore, while the proposition MAY be true, direct proof, such as the mechanism of the involvement of the oil in the accident, must be established. Likewise all other possibilities must be examined and eliminated as being causal in order to validate the conclusion. In the study of biological evolution, the same rules apply.
    In the biological world, the similarity of appearance of two distinct species, one which may follow another in time or space, unquestionably allows the possibility that one is the ancestor of the other; many thousands of such similarities exist and there is much evidence that the more recent species display these similarities; hence the conclusion that evolution based on scientific observations has occurred, is a possibility . An argument that it HAS occurred on this basis alone, would be a “post hoc propter hoc” argument, a fallacy. Just as in the example above, in order for it to be considered a “fact” not only must the mechanism be proven as to its cause, but all other possibilities must be ruled out. In a situation as complex as organic life, this is currently impossible.

  23. sissie :

    Date: December 8, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

    But as regards the “appearance” argument, which is probably the leading or at least most provocative argument for evolution, a very simple analogy is presented which calls into question the possibility of the conclusion being valid. As an example of this line of thinking, the following analogy is offered:
    If you were to give, say, 100 people a common lego set, and allow them to build anything that they imagine, and then have the results viewed by scientists with a typical curiosity, you would present to them a class of objects that could very well be considered “evolutionary”. Resemblances would be very plain; evolutionary lines could be arranged.
    Arguments used to “prove” evolution of the fabricated “species” could be very similar to those used to prove Darwinian evolution. This would be true for no other reason than because of the similarity of characteristics of the fundamental parts. (This process would have to assume that, just as in Darwinian evolution, the “origin” of the objects had not been witnessed, and the existence of “legos” was both unrecognized or unknown).
    (Note that this is NOT an argument that evolution in some form has NOT occurred; it merely presents an analogous scenario which can easily explain the reason for the belief that “evolution exists” or is a “fact” – the striking similarity between different species, [which is the "post hoc propter hoc" argument]- without ever having witnessed the event.)
    *[A child's play set, consisting of a number of basic parts of different size, shape and color that can be joined together to make a variety of objects. The analogy is obviously to the four basic units that make up the DNA molecule].
    The analogy as presented is similar to the situation which existed in Darwin’s time, with existence of DNA unknown. With today’s knowledge it should be plainly evident the “similarity” of living objects can most easily be explained by the assumption that there is only a finite number of genes available for a viable genome.
    Stringent requirements of the constitution of proteins (genes), which must possess the ability to fold to themselves and likewise to the chromosome and genome, (plus many unknown requirements) should be assumed to place limits on the expression of same thus calling into question the idea of “infinite” variability. Of course this is an assumption, but being the simpler of the two assumptions (similarity of appearance vs. similarity of genes) and in the light of developing knowledge in bio-chemistry and microbiology, the one that should be made. The principle of “Occam’s Razor” requires this.
    But also note how this assumption explains many other features of biology, inexplicable in Darwinian terms, such as these:
    • extinction: non-explainable in Darwinian terms. Even the great evolutionist Ernst Mayr admits this. (99% of all species have been unable to adapt and are extinct).
    • stasis: the long periods in the fossil record between the appearance of a species, its extinction, and the lack of intermediate species.
    (The inability of species to undergo “gradual” modification).
    • diversity: the ability of near-identical species to co-exist for eons. (Despite nearly identical “conditions of life”, specie identity remains unaltered).
    • survival of the “non-fittest”: the ability of species to exist with less than optimal features. (Even trivial adaptation has not occurred through eons. An excellent example of this similarity is the so-called “pentadactyl limb” the five digit limb, a characteristic of tetrapod vertebrates, (amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals) such as the arm, leg and hand/hoof and wing. The similarity of structure of this feature is taken as “prima facia” evidence of descendance and thus evolution.
    However this feature is increasingly recognized as one basic gene in all organisms, modified by other portions of a genome in a manner that is becoming evident to microbiologists. Also, other similar, basic features of organisms which were once thought to have arisen by “evolution” have now been shown to have developed from disparate organs and are not homologous but rather analogous, unique to a particular organism. Michael Denton’s book “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” points out this overlooked fact. Just as in the “lego” analogy above, the “resemblance” would be caused by the similarity of components , as opposed to an ubiquitous “selection” scheme supposedly causing descent with modification.
    It stands to reason, where there is a finite number of available components, and a virtually infinite number of species (either existing or extinct), resemblance is unavoidable. The conclusion that it is “caused” by a theory such as Darwin’s has to be considered more of an attractive belief, similar to the wishful thinking which produced the flurry of interest in such phenomena as “Piltdown Man” or more recently “Kettlewell’s Moths” (below).
    Both of these, after much reflection, turned out to be erroneous conclusions. Thus when you discount the scenario of apparent similarity as being indicative of descent, the remaining evidence does not warrant a conclusion of Darwinian evolution.
    Sources;
    DARWIN’S GREAT TAUTOLOGY

  24. sissie :

    Date: December 8, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

    As for your statement that germ theory was FACT….

    Theory of disease (germ theory) was popularized by Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), the inventor of pasteurization. This theory says that there are fixed, external germs (or microbes) which invade the body and cause a variety of separate, definable diseases. In order to get well, you need to identify and then kill whatever germ made you sick. The tools generally employed are drugs, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Prevention includes the use of vaccines as well as drugs, which – theoretically at least – work by keeping germs at bay.

    This was completely dis proven by Antoine Bechamp (1816-1908).

  25. Hank Fox :

    Date: December 8, 2009 @ 11:54 pm

    Just curious: What else do you see in this same sort-of-conspiracy way?

    Climate change? Vaccines? The Liberal Media Elite? Something else?

  26. sissie :

    Date: December 9, 2009 @ 1:22 am

    what is conspiratorial about Darwin and his theory??

    or are you jumping around again because you have no response?

  27. Hank Fox :

    Date: December 9, 2009 @ 2:06 am

    Well, you do seem to think a majority of scientists are somehow faking or misrepresenting things. And that you have seen through them to the real truth.

    Again: How do you feel about climate change? Vaccines? Liberal media control? Or even Obama’s birth certificate?

  28. sissie :

    Date: December 9, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

    Could you please show me where I say that a majority of scientists are somehow faking or misrepresenting things?

    I don’t remember saying that or even implying that.

    I thought I was pointing out the “challenges” to Darwin’s theory since we have been able to sequence DNA.(which most people are unaware of)

    Not sure how that is an testament to a majority of scientists faking things…

    Speaking of scientists faking things… did you hear about this?

    Hundreds of private e-mail messages and documents hacked from a computer server at a British university are causing a stir among global warming skeptics, who say they show that climate scientists conspired to overstate the case for a human influence on climate change.

    newly released emails from its leading scientists reveal a cesspool of intimidation, duplicity and fraud that could rock Copenhagen and the alarmist agenda to their core. The emails cast deepening suspicion over global warming data, science and models.

    They reveal an unprecedented, systematic conspiracy to stifle discussion and debate, conceal and manipulate data, revise temperature trends that contradict predictions of dangerous warming, skew the peer-review process, pressure scientific journals and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to publish alarmist studies and exclude dissenting analyses, and avoid compliance with Freedom of Information requests.

    British Climate Research Unit (CRU) chief Phil Jones to Penn State climatologist Michael Mann, of Hockey Stick infamy: “Can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith [Briffa] re AR4 [the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report and Briffa’s suspect tree-ring data]. Keith will do likewise.”

    Jones to Mann: “If they [Canadian researchers Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre] ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send it to anyone.”

    (These actions appear intended to avoid Freedom of Information inquiries. Jones had previously told a researcher, “Why should I make the data available, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” Drs. J&M, that’s the scientific method – to ensure that research and experiments are honest, accurate and replicable. Deleting files and data also raises serious ethical, scientific and legal issues.)

    Jones: “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth, lead author of two IPCC reports] and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” (Thereby excluding non-alarmist peer-reviewed papers and skewing the IPCC process.)

    Jones: “I’ve just completed Mike [Mann’s] trick of adding in the real temps to each series, to hide the decline [in average global temperatures] .…” (Maintain a warming trend, despite contrary evidence.)

    Climate scientist Tom Wigley to Mann: “If you think [Yale Professor and Global Renewables editor James] Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted.” (Saiers was subsequently dismissed. The American Geophysical Union is a once professional society that has likewise gotten into the censorship, intimidation, climate alarm and money train business.)

    These are the very tip of the melting iceberg. To gauge the scope, depth and depravity of the conspiracy, visit Bishop Hill, ClimateDepot.com and An Elegant Chaos on the web.

    These supposed scientists built their careers and reputations on conjuring datasets, computer models, scenarios and reports – all claiming that modern civilization’s use of hydrocarbons is about to destroy the planet, and all financed by well over $100 billion in US, UK, EU and other taxpayer money.

    Realist climate experts have long smelled a rat. The alarmists’ data didn’t match other data. Their models never worked. Their claims of “consensus” and “unprecedented” warming had no basis in fact. Too many grant and publication decisions were decided by which side of the issue someone was on.
    It is time to clean out the climate cesspool, and bring integrity, transparency and accountability back to science, law and public policy.

    Some people are calling it the last nail in the AGW coffin….

    What do you think?

  29. hankfox :

    Date: December 9, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

    There, thank you. So climate change is another of these conspiracies.

    I think ignorance has a voice at last.

    No longer are there any experts. Scientists and educated people are lying elitists out to rule us Plain Folks. Thank Jesus for the Internets, where we can ferret out this vital information and destroy these people before it’s too late.

  30. sissie :

    Date: December 10, 2009 @ 2:25 am

    Wow that was a bizarre thing to say…

    I thought it was an interesting development considering the climate conference in Copenhagen. ( a lot of people are discussing it, and I thought it was probably an interesting subject for you.)

    I guess I thought you would have had a different opinion than the one you expressed..like it was a scam or something but I wasn’t expecting you to be conspiracy theorist.

    Having read your posts, i thought you’d have a completely different view of this subject matter…

    You seem angry…

    Would you like me to stop writing on your blog, because I will if it’s upsetting you so..

    I never meant any harm or ill will, just an interesting debate.

    Take care,

    and good luck

    sissie

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