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Whether or not people can actually change, Levitt and Dubner don't even want to consider it. It's just too inconvenient and uncomfortable for their sad little minds.

John D

Both the horseshit and global warming are symptoms of a problem-overdevelopment and overpopulation- and not root causes. Any time you try to solve a symptom rather than a root cause you wind up making the system more complex and eventually having to up the ante with further, more complex cures for the next symptom.

Dave Cohen

No, Wanooski.

Levitt and Dubner did consider it. And they concluded that--

We [humans] don't want to stop [what we're doing], or aren’t willing to pay the price

Which is correct. People don't want to change. That's the whole point, which you seem to be avoiding.

-- Dave

john c. wilson

Friends have recommended Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics many times. If you see a copy lying about in a waiting room and you've never read these guys before by all means give it a try. Levitt and Dubner are real authorities on horseshit. I think I made two pages. Gasps of wonderment and incredulity began within the first sentence.

If you can write that sort of horseshit you make the best-seller list.


People may or may not be willing to change, but they WILL pay a price whether they are willing or not!

John Theodorou

To paraphrase; There's an economist born every minute!


I have long admired Elizabeth Kolbert, she is one of the few journalists who can talk and write about our predicament without suger-coating it with hope. Here's a radio interview with her, and a little of the transcript: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2011/02/eliabeth-kolbert-laughs-at-extinction.html

Dave Cohen

I read some of these comments, and I wonder, I really do --

Why do I bother to write this blog?

Sorry, but that's just the way it is.

Most commenters here (with a few exceptions) said anything which discusses things at the level where I want the discussion to go, the level I was talking about in my post.

You know, eventually, all this human horseshit is going to end. The only question is when.

It makes people uncomfortable -- doesn't it? -- when I talk about Human Nature.

You know, my view of what humans are is simply based on what I see humans do. It is certainly not based on the things that humans say, the fantastic stories they tell themselves.

Saying does not equal Doing. This is the essence of human horseshit.

-- Dave

Anywhere But Here Is Better

Schopenhauer said we are nothing but prisoners of our blind and selfish Will, and it's virtually impossible to escape the power of the Will to "be" - except in brief flashes of artistic creativity (painting, musical composition, writing etc).

By this reasoning, the Will is driving us towards extinction, aptly represented by the unwillingness to stop what we're doing that is wrecking our biosphere, even though we know it to be detrimental.

Homo unsapiens is fundamentally incapable of the meaningful cooperation that would have resulted in equilibrium in the biosphere, because of the individual Will controlling our "social" behaviour. To this extent, we are beating a dead horse expecting the horseshit to stop.

Brian M

Increasingly, it seems obvious that humans (as a group) are short-sighted convenience-seekers. In fact, I think that short-term convenience is really the holy grail of modern industrialized society, perhaps of humanity itself. In my observation, there is just no way that modern humans (as a group) will give up either the conveniences they have or the pursuit of further convenience, at least voluntarily.

Of course, since these conveniences virtually all rest on the back of fossil fuels, they will eventually have to go. As you point out, the only question in that regard is when. Of course, that's not a particularly meaningful question, since the answer certainly falls within a single human lifetime from now... geologically speaking, it's basically happening now. So, perhaps a more interesting question is what these short-sighted convenience-seeking primates are going to do when their deified conveniences begin to disappear? What will their reaction be?

Frankly, I shudder to think because my gut instinct is to say that they will not deal well with it. Our nature is to be short-sighted and to seek greater convenience. Given that, humans will trade whatever they have left to preserve existing convenience or garner greater convenience. Since, for humans, this is generally a trade-off of long-term impacts (worse outcomes on future generations) or accelerated impacts (bad outcomes sooner) for some kind of short-term, technology-driven convenience, I assume they will do the same thing. We are one trick ponies. Left to our own devices we will surely make a bad future worse and push it forward in the vain desire to avoid inconveniencing our entitlement to our cherished "way of life".

Runaway Train

We will use up all the remaining fossil fuels trying to either "replace" them or "manage" them. Then billions of people accross the Earth shall parish, and what's left will look very much like the 1860s and the horseshit problem will be back front and center.

I just hope this great disaster hits about 45 years from now, when I am quite certain I will no longer be around to experience it.

In the meantime, I intend to consume everything I can because even if I make changes in my personal sphere of influence, I know someone over in India or China or Africa or Detroit will use that which I otherwise would have. My reduction is not being "banked" or "saved" or preserved, it's ALL being CONSUMED at a rapid pace, so I want to enjoy what I can.

Maybe there is a magical being that created all this (doG if you will) but I tend to think that such a magical being that created all this is one fucked up sadistic fuck that I have no desire to run into.

Perhaps the greatest thing was that we were never able to colonize other planets and spread our human condition further than this self-contained world.


It's good to sell books. Pays for the kids' education.

True? False? Unsupported by fact or critical thinking? It doesn't matter. Sell those books.

Bertrand Russel

“Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.”


Easter Island.
What was the man who cut down the last tree on that island thinking as he did it?
And what will be the "last tree" for the rest of us?

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