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John Kennard

The Great Experiment: Are Humans Smarter as a Species than Algae?

Partial preliminary results indicate "No."



John D

I think one of the problems is that deep down, most scientists are also that dreaded sub-species called the techno-optimist.

Regarding how scientists timidly dance around the stark results of their analyses, my favorite is from a few years ago regarding the green revolution. I can't remember the scientist's name, and I can't find the article, but I remember it was a long and detailed analysis of agriculture, its dependence on fossil fuel and how it has sparked a population explosion. Buried at the bottom of his conclusion are the words that 'due to a projected shortfall in agricultural output in relation to global food requirements, a population correction will necessarily result.' Talk about subtle!!


I'm sure you've embedded or linked to this before...



Dave, I submit for you a recent article by Gwynne Dyer. He is a Canadian war journalist who in the last few years has taken to speaking about climate science. He has a sufficiently stark and clear-minded personality that I think you would perhaps approve. Anyway, I did find his article interesting, wherein he suggests a potential world war of climate geo-engineering: http://t.co/E23IWMm

P.S. If you are familiar with Dyer, you will know that his final paragraph is sarcasm.

Brian M

It seems to me that this is life, not just human instinct. Living things expand to use up their available energy. Yeast. Reindeer. Humans. For the most part, the only difference is that humans have money, guns and lawyers. We do also have the ability to talk endlessly (and, generally, uselessly), allowing us to explain to ourselves why we are really much smarter than yeast or reindeer. As a result of these human "capabilities", we will surely make the final reckoning as painful as possible. But, unlike yeast or reindeer, we will be telling ourselves how smart we are (and believing every word), all the way down.


Yeah, if the "natural state" were so great, I doubt we would spend the entirety of our existence (and history) actively trying to avoid it. To paraphrase, life in such an environ tends to be nasty, brutish, and short. I prefer material comforts like shelter, stable food, medicine, etc. to proving what a "clever" bipedal animal I am (hint: I am clever enough to not want to run around in the wild where my dumb, slow, monkey butt gets killed). Besides, those survivors would do everything in their power to try to regain what was lost and climb back on the pedestal, make spears, guns, cities, etc. A solution to every problem! It's not just what we do- it's who we are, despite our attempts to deny it. Kinda the whole point of the post.

>The Earth is not "fucked' in any sense. It is the humans who are fucked (in every sense).

Pretty much. But you know what? We have some nice statues to leave behind!


Despite our best efforts at destabilizing the Earth's ability to sustain a multitude of life-forms, we are puny beings in reality and we ought to come down off our high horses and admit it. Never was a truer thing said than your statement:

...in a few millions of years the Earth will recover, once again playing host to a thriving biosphere full of life.

Our epitaph is easy to frame (although we won't be lamented) - Veni, vidi, vici, extincti - all in an infinitesimally small passage of time that barely registers on the geological scale.

Aboc Zed

if interested i'd like to contact you over e-mail to discuss your comment and possible follow-up thanks, za

Aboc Zed


i am not quite sure how to interpret your statement of "this planet as we know it, is build on knowledge created by thinking"

if i follow my knee-jerk interpretation of your words i do not see why this whould "trouble" anyone

i know first impressions may be misleading

rather than launch into lengthy discussion here i would like to follow up over e-mail separately if you don't mind

please confirm at my account of "dh_er84(at)yahoo(dot)com"

thank you



You know, I thought the same thing of the two coin solution. Showing up with 2oz of platinum and declaring them worth $2T is ludicrous. I mean if you are just inventing value by declaration, why make them out of platinum? Why not make them out of plastic or chocolate? Why not show up with 2 of those gold foil covered chocolate coins and declare they are worth $100 quadrillion dollars a piece. For that fact, should we even bother with real numbers? Why not declare them worth 3 hundred billion-gazillion-hadrillion dollars like a 3 year old would do? Problem solved!

Would you keep US dollars if you knew it was backed by chocolate? Well on the bright side, being backed by chocolate is still more than it is backed by now.


Rapid de-carbonizaton of the energy suppy is not necessary. I think all we need is a global carbon cap and trade system. This makes carbon sequestration and storage (CCS) into a valuable service. IEA estimates that CCS will be as successful as renewables. Perhaps market forces might lead to some de-carbonization of the energy supply, but it's not really necessary.

I tend to agree that activist are not going to solve the problem. They tend more wedded to in-the-box thinking than many establishment think tanks.

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