Mentioned in a Few Outlets

McPherson was interviewed 31 October 2014 in New Zealand. Podcast is here.

McPherson is the “Bad-news bearer” according to today’s Chico News-Review


McPherson’s work is mentioned in this article: Will humans go quietly into extinction — and soon? It was written by Patricia Randolph for The Cap Times and published 9 November 2014.

Comments 119

  • In case you missed it the first time; Guy states an average global 0.8°C temperature rise since the 1750s, but I cannot confirm it.

    The best estimate I find is a Berkeley study from 2012 showing global land temperatures increased by 1.5°C over the past 250 years and over half of that (0.9°C) in the past 50 years.

    Can someone provide a better reference?

  • Well, finally someone says what most of us have thought along the way to extinction. Thanks Will for at least acknowledging that the “right” way to protect the environment – the only one that has any chance of working or actually stopping the destruction – is to become an eco-warrior (labeled ‘eco-terrorist’ now, since anyone going against the grain of the vested interest groups profiting from all this destruction is now a terrorist – in the media and eyes of the corporate controllers). It’s time to blow shit up, wreck machinery, and destroy the very systems that support us. The police and their types (all the way up to the NSA, FBI, etc) will be sent to nip it in the bud, shoot you on sight or take you away to be ‘dealt with’ by the (kangaroo) courts.

    Actually it’s way past time for that and, as a matter of fact, it was all done before. I don’t know how old you are Will, but back in the 60’s and 70’s brave people would sabotage bulldozers (putting sugar or dirt in their tanks, among other tactics) burn down buildings under construction on ‘converted’ farmland, and sit in trees destined for removal by the powers that be, until the law came and hauled them off to jail. That’s all gone now and the destruction goes on unabated.

    So despite your desire to actually destroy the destroyers, it’s too late. Nothing can be done now to stop the pluming methane and CO2, the ocean acidification and dead zones, the oil spills and fracking waste mismanagement (these industries have to stop because it isn’t economically viable any more, and they will), the ice melting and the global heating.

    Worse – what’s going to stop human procreation? That’s the root of the problem – there’s too damn many of us and we’ve become a cancer to the living planet. The damage is done and there’s no ‘fix’ for it.

    I appreciate your sentiments and felt the same way myself once. Now, I spend my dwindling precious moments on my family and enjoying what’s left of the environment. I take comfort here, commiserating with the people who show up to NBL from all over the world, listening to their perspectives, commenting at times, and exploring links and items of interest posted by these people. They occasionally get into arguments about things that don’t make any difference any more, but I hear them out, taking no sides, just listening and trying to learn.

    It’s great to even have this site to come to and share the unfolding calamity that so many can’t or won’t see. Kudos to Guy for being brave enough to play the role of the ‘bad-news bearer!’

    Thanks, man. Enjoy your life.

    11/13/2014 — Underground methane explosion — Lava flow reaches Hawaiian Pond + transfer station

    11/12/2014 — 4.8M earthquake strikes Kansas fracking operation — Largest movement in 140 years

    International Energy Agency Says: Brace for Impact

    The customarily cheery International Energy Agency (IEA), created to advise the member nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has taken a more somber tone in its latest annual World Energy Outlook released today. The agency dismisses the wildly hyped shale-oil and -gas “boom” in the United States as a band-aid on a malignant tumor, a temporary mask distracting the world from the pervasive illness afflicting its oil supply. [read the rest]

  • Anyone who has delved into the world of politics, bureaucracy, banking and mainstream economics concludes that politics, bureaucracy, banking and mainstream economics operate through a combination of corruption, propaganda, manipulation and ineptitude, with bought-and-paid-for liars sponsored into key positions of power to facilitate the looting and polluting of local districts and the planet as a whole. And the general populace is lied to about practically everything by those in power on a more-or-less continuous basis.

    The level of corruption, manipulation. lies and ineptitude has reached the point of causing ‘the system’ is to implode. When I turned on my computer this morning and checked energy prices I saw the following:

    Crude Oil (WTI) USD/bbl. 75.38
    Crude Oil (Brent) USD/bbl. 78.38

    The fall in fuel prices that accompanies declining oil prices will be celebrated by ‘The Orcs’ because it will lead to higher levels of consumption than would occur if oil prices realistically reflected the energy content of oil (say $500 a barrel).

    What is particularly interesting is that persistently low oil prices below $80 will ‘annihilate’ tar sands extraction and much of the fracking ‘developments’.

    With the system, now seen to be so blatantly corrupt and broken, we should expect central bankers to print money at zero interest an ever faster rate and hand over hundreds of billions of dollars to their corrupt friends in the fossil fuel sector, to maintain the illusion of corporate profitability, to prevent collapse of local economies and to prevent collapse of the global economic system.

    One of the most recent pieces of nonsense churned out by my local council includes the headings: ‘Predicted Indigenous Vegetation Cover Pre Human Settlement in the New Plymouth District’ and ‘Predicted Indigenous Vegetation Cover 2008 in the New Plymouth District’.

    As Albert Bartlett pointed out many years ago, people involved in local government do not even know the meaning of words they use!

    Mayor Andrew Judd’s credibility imploded long ago, as did CEO Barbara McKerrow’s credibility; now the councils finances are imploding, as a direct consequence of past corruption and lies.

    Meanwhile, a 1920s bungalow in a fairly run-down district of Auckland recently sold for $1.7 million and an average Auckland home now costs around $660,000. “No bubble in Auckland,” declares Wheeler (NZ’s money-printer).

    These are ‘Interesting Times’.

  • Thanks a lot for the kind words, Tom, and for reading and reflecting on my essay.

    I’ve internalized the despair that accompanies the destruction of life on this planet in the worst ways. I’ve tried to kill myself twice in the last year and half.

    Surviving those attempts taught me that I can either give into the despair or I can accept the despair and go on resisting. It was only when I made the decision – despite the hopelessness of our predicament – to resist in tangible ways that I was able to pull myself from the major depression underlying my suicide attempts.

    Coming of out a dark period in my life, I left San Diego to volunteer at the Unist’ot’en Camp – a pipeline blockade in British Columbia. I know we may be finished, but I have never had more fun in my life.

    I mean no disrespect, but there is a movement brewing in British Columbia on unceded First Nations territory that has proved willing to engage in direct action tactics like the ones you mentioned from the 60s and 70s.

    For example, Secwepemc warriors burned down a mining access bridge just a few weeks ago to keep Imperial Metals (the corp responsible for the Mt. Polley disaster) from accessing a proposed mining site.

    It may be too little, too late, but I want to face our destruction with the peace that I truly did everything I could to stop the madness.

  • Kevin,

    you write in the previous thread “Sorry I jumped down your throat”. I was very surprised by this, since we seem to be in violent agreement.
    Elzeard: “Methane is indeed oxidized completely in less than 100 years, but it is constantly replenished by new emissions”
    Kevin: “every molecule of methane that is oxidised is replaced by another”
    Elzeard: “it doesn’t make sense to assume that methane gets less dangerous over time”
    Kevin: “it is the instantaneous warming factor of methane [] that governs warming”

    We say exactly the same thing: it doesn’t make sense to integrate over 100 years, only the instantaneous warming potential matters. The main point of the Edwards and Trancik paper is also that GWP(100 years) is inadequate: “We find that using the GWP(100) leads to a significant overshoot of radiative forcing stabilization targets”.

    We quote different values for the instantaneous warming potential of CH4. I found 102 and 103. You say 250. But maybe we are using different definitions. If you include all indirect effects of CH4 through feedback loops, I have no trouble believing it is 2.5 times the “raw” value.

    I made a mistake in my previous message, because the 400 ppm CO2 is a mole fraction whereas the GWP definition uses mass not moles. However it doesn’t affect our agreement on the need to use instantaneous GWP.

    After viewing your whole interview with Vinny Eastwood I was struck by how similar we were (age, high level scientific education, understanding of today’s world…). I didn’t like the interviewer but I couldn’t find a single disagreement with you, which is rare :-) Hence my surprise at your jumping to my throat. I still have high respect for you though.

  • Elzeard.

    Apologies again. It’s just that over the past 25 years I have had raging arguments with people who have declared that ‘CO2 is an essential nutrient and has no effect on temperature’ (one of the worst being the bought-and-and-paid-for liar Chris De Freitus, supposed head of Environmental Studies at Auckland University, who declared that ‘CO2 was harmless and there we should continue to burn coal’: that battle went as far as the Vice Chancellors Office, which advised me that he could teach whatever he wanted under the auspices of ‘academic freedom’), people who have argued that ‘peak oil is a load of rubbish’ and people who have argued that ‘debts and deficits don’t matter’. So when I see someone quote MIT I get a bit twitchy.

    As you will have noted, I had quite a battle with Vinny Eastwood, since he was seriously into peak-oil-denial and climate-change-denial (and perhaps still is). ‘Never mind the fact, stick with the ideology’.

    It is now abundantly clear to many of us that even the UNIPCC cannot be relied upon, and much of what is presented is either fraudulent or is so watered-down it is irrelevant. But that is not surprising, since the UN doesn’t even abide by its own charter.

  • Man fails two suicide attempts, but succeeds in becoming an Eco-warrior!?!?! Now there is a story that’s got some legs!
    Mr. Falk, I would suggest dropping the prescriptive essay and rewrite your narrative from the bowls of how that exactly came to be. Congratulations on surviving the depression. 

  • While Tom is correct that population is a very important factor in the overall environmental impact,we shouldn’t forget that the basic reason for the climate disruption problem is industrial civilisation.(and the deforesting of the planet).
    If we had a steady state economy of 80 million people or less,we would still reach our present predicament if that society relied on burning fossil fuels .It would just take longer to do so.

  • Dear Will; Thanks for putting your self into your article above. Humans won the energy lottery by evolving just enough smarts to enable us to harvest the fossil fuel energy of the planet and use it to exploit all of the resources of the earth, everywhere. Incredibly smart, incredibly stupid. So sad.

    We’re on the downward slope of our fossil fuels free-for-all, it may take a year or a century but we’ll let go of the earth one way or another. Maybe Guy’s worst case scenario will be what does it, who knows.

    Meanwhile, your comment regarding suicide needs to be addressed. I lost a brother to this a couple of years ago. I understand the pain and the sense of absolute necessity (to self-harm) that fear, anger, despair can create.

    Please know that this can be the result of any number of internal biological challenges that CAN be addressed. It may not be solely your reaction to all of the horrors of the day. Inflammatory agents in the body can drive an auto-immune attack of the brain, for example.

    If you ever need to reach out to someone to talk about this let me know. Just respond to this note or send me a note to But please, don’t do that thing. It matters to me.


  • Will, thank you for your well-written and heart-felt essay. Because I responded (internally) to your voice, I followed the link to DIY Resistance and started from the beginning of your recent series of writing. I’ve been moved to tears as I read.

    IMHO, you have a gift with words, infused with a passion for the land and all her creatures, and I (for one and for what it’s worth) encourage you to continue putting heart to mind, and pen to paper, while taking whatever action you are moved to take to protect this beautiful beleaguered planet.

    Earth needs you and I (for one) needed & need to hear from you – simply to know that a Will Falk is alive at this moment, taking on what matters most.

    I’m glad your having fun (now)doing what you are able to do to halt the juggernaut of destruction. I do what I can, knowing it is precious little…

    …anyway, just wanted to say thanks, fight the good fight and take care.

  • Even George Carlin acknowledged that we will be going extinct.

    From comments at the preceding post:

    “asking me (among others) to accept Jesus as my lord and savior”

    That’s fine and dandy; however Mr. J. Christ screwed up by saying:

    Matthew 10:16
    “be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

    Matthew 5:39
    “but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

    Fortunately Christians have enough sense to ignore such stupidity; otherwise North America would still be overrun with those primitive savages and one could daresay it wouldn’t even be known as North America. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

    “What is sustainability?”

    A very substantial load of male bovine faecal material, in view of The Heat Death of the Universe. Unless it includes an explicit pull date that is prior to that outcome.

    “So, what do we do to stop this environmental catastrophe?”

    Build a Time Machine. Go back to the late 1940s or the early 1950s and convince the folks that they were effing up badly.

    “Every day that passes brings us closer and closer to the black precipice of utter destruction.”

    Actually takes us further and further away from it. Once yer over the precipice yer not gonna get any closer to it.

  • Suicide is one’s way of being sorry for oneself. I always wondered why folks who attempt suicide do so at home or some place where others will be burdened with the cleanup. If one is unselfish about it, one should take care of as many loose ends as possible.

    Tradition has it that in one of his prior embodiments, the Buddha was a person in a time of drought and famine who looked over a precipice and saw a tigress and her cubs starving, near death. He fed them by jumping off and landing near them.

    That way good was done to others, and the need for a cleanup was obviated.

  • “Suicide is one’s way of being sorry for oneself.”

    A soldier throwing his body upon a grenade to protect his buddies is not feeling sorry himself.

    A person killing himself via police or “accident” in order to make sure his insurance policy is not declared void and thus providing for his family may be feeling sorry for himself, but he’s not being selfish about it.

    Killing yourself by refusing medical treatment to avoid costly medical expenses that end up saddling your family with debt is a smart move, not a desperate one.

    Starving yourself to death so your children might eat is not a selfish act.

    Thanks for bringing up suicide anyway. It remains the subject no one is willing to talk about.

  • Tom and others,

    You might be interested in checking out Deep Green Resistance and the Decisive Ecological Warfare strategy:

    The strategy is based on analysis of historical resistance efforts, what worked, what didn’t, and what is likely to work or not moving ahead. As you point out, a few people doing tree-sits or sabotaging bulldozers won’t stop the overall juggernaut of industrial civilization (though it has been and can be effective for stopping specific destruction). But a few people strategically attacking critical nodes of industrial infrastructure might help bring the whole system down, especially if their success were to inspire others currently sitting on the sidelines because all the other strategies sold to us are clearly inadequate.

    You’re absolutely correct that the police and FBI will come knocking – in fact, they’ve already been harassing members of Deep Green Resistance. For that reason, those like Will participating in aboveground organizing and advocating the need for underground resistance can *not* carry out direct attacks themselves. A strict firewall is necessary so that, short of planting or concocting incriminating evidence, law enforcement won’t have anything for which to prosecute the obvious targets.

    The Deep Green Resistance book, organization, and strategy are worth a serious look by anyone who’s withdrawn from the idea of resistance because it seem hopeless. They have the potential to inspire meaningful action, so desperately needed at individual and planetary levels.

  • “You might be saying, but do I have to become a radical to engage in effective resistance? Well, yes and no.”

    Naomi Klein is saying there are no more non-radical solutions. Lakota are saying “Dead or In Jail”. Methinks time is up. Not being radical will only be good for the next 25-40 minutes or so. To be blunt, we are out of time by several years if not decades. With consideration towards those just coming out of hibernation, being sweet and civil anymore is as close to a nightmarish collective torture and death sentence as I can imagine.

  • @Tom,
    Yes I do remember the sixties;I live next to where a pop-festival took place in ’70. I felt a lot freer then than I do today. For three days at least, people could smoke whatever they wanted to, wear or not wear anything and be around over 300,000 peaceful souls. But most folks decided to go back to what has now become a corporate, surveillance state, and politicians that depend on the wealthy’s contributions to keep their jobs.
    Today the world is worse than ever, even as the Vietnam War has ended. Politicians just start new wars to keep the capitalist machine running and using lies to get the young to enlist while keeping their own sons and daughters far away from the destruction they started.
    I see no end to the misery.

  • ,
    “Chronic anxiety is a state more undesirable than any other, and we will try almost any maneuver to eliminate it. Modern man is living in anxious anticipation of destruction. Such anxiety can be easily eliminated by self-destruction. As a German saying puts it: ‘Better an end with terror than a terror without end.”
    ― Robert E. Neale, The Art of Dying
    …a breakdown of society could arise from rapid global population growth and unsustainable resource exploitation.
    Just ridin’ on this runaway train, staring out the window, with a cat on my lap.

    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.
    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • Will,

    I suppose that for the most part I agree with Tom (as usual). You wrote, “We wouldn’t write letters to a known serial killer asking him to stop murdering; we’d just go and stop him. Why aren’t we doing the same thing for the planet?” Great question. I wonder: have you thought seriously about some probable answers to it?

    How about this as a possible, indeed, a highly probable answer? (I do not presume infallibly to “know”.) The most recent anthropological and archaeological evidence shows that THE SERIAL KILLER CONSISTS OF PRETTY MUCH ALL HUMANS, not just some small group of bad, pathological, mostly white guys somewhere over there, as good as it may feel self-righteously to have and angrily to blame, rage against, and attack such a scapegoat. The ecological destruction we find today fits into patterns of human behavior that have gone on for millions of years. With only a few, short-term exceptions, humans have destroyed their environments over a very long period of time and continue to do so today for the same reasons they did in the far-distant past.

    Since the beginnings of our species, humans have remained unable to live in ecological balance. No matter where we have lived on Earth, we eventually outstrip the environment. This has inevitably led to competition as a means of survival, and warfare has inevitably resulted as a consequence of our over-population/ ecological impact propensities. In other words, the demands imposed on the environment as a result of our population growth over the long term damages the local environment, and this has inevitably resulted in competition between groups of people for the necessities of life, most fundamentally, shelter, fuel, water, and food. Sure, some periods of relative stability have occurred in various places for up to a few hundred years—while populations grew to the carrying capacity of the region, after which competition, ecological degradation, and warfare occurred. With this ecologically imposed competition as a result of population growth, much more often than not people have, and will, kill other people and other species in order to live. Meanwhile, all of this probably works at the most fundamental physical, biological levels as expressions of the underlying non-equilibrium thermodynamics and maximum power principles, with the big-picture, long-term patterns best described with complexity theory.

    What you call for involves humans behaving exactly opposite our behaviors, in general, for our entire evolutionary history. Again, with the ecologically imposed competition that occurs as a result of population growth, much more often than not people have, and will, kill other people and other species in order to LIVE, not, usually, in order to die, as we now must, and will, by the billions. We have become deeply, profoundly dependent on extracting matter and energy from Earth at a far greater rate than Earth’s living biosphere can make it available to us in a long-term, stable way. What you propose involves nothing less than our proactively killing billions of people. How many must die and with what conditions in order to produce an ecologically stable situation on Earth? Probably about 6.5 billion, with the survivors living at a near Stone Age level of technology, AND, critically, with changes in the human nervous system such that we can reliably control our population. (Lacking this change, the expand/exploit cycle would almost certainly continue.) Critically, this ALSO assumes a viable climate for a sufficiently complex biosphere to support human life, now highly unlikely. Meanwhile, presumably, we will do this with no direct, conscious awareness or intent of the mass human killing, and we will do it in direct opposition to how evolution has “wired” our brains to work? I don’t think so.

    While I agree that industrial civilization, including cities, need to end ASAP in order to maximize the probability of the greatest number of species surviving the rapidly emerging global heating, ecological, and nuclear collapse bottle neck, and I agree that a very high probability exists that they WILL soon end, I doubt that many rational people will proactively and horrifically kill their friends, their families, and themselves by destroying the food and energy systems that the greatest percentage of us now depend on daily for our lives. Furthermore, it seems certain that your friends and families will protect themselves in whatever way they can from the consequences of your agenda, including any level of violence that they consider necessary, just as humans have throughout all of our evolutionary history. If you and others wish passionately to work and fight toward this end of bringing down industrial civilization ASAP, as needed and as will soon happen anyway with or without your efforts, I definitely applaud your efforts. I just don’t foresee a significant percentage of humans proactively killing the serial killer: our families, our friends, and ourselves.

    Related to all of this, I propose another question for your consideration: How do you know how life and death presumably should best unfold on Earth? Even though I deeply believe that a living planet serves as THE platinum moral value, I also recognize that that exists only as MY symbolizing, my thinking and valuing as an infinitely small, massively ignorant, highly fallible, mere human being. It does NOT exist as any kind of fundamental law of nature! I do NOT have the omniscience of a god in order arrogantly to say what mass extinctions presumably should or should not occur on Earth, when they should occur, nor by what biological and physical processes they supposedly should occur. Yet, if I have understood you and many others who think as you do, correctly, you seem to believe that you do know how life and death should unfold on Earth. I feel curious to know: How do you come by this god-like knowledge? Because some authority that you trust has said so? Through your own reasoning? If so, what allegedly infallible authority and/or by what reasoning?

  • It pays to cultivate objectivity in attempting to iunderstqand the conditions that hav’e led us as a species, to this juncture rather thanh speculate. After all, we in the Wets have presided over the violent oftentiles extension of a wa

  • Whoops….typos.

    To conclude, we in the West have presided over a violent globalisation process that now threatens us all.

  • “Since the beginnings of our species, humans have remained unable to live in ecological balance.” Except for most of the entire continent of North America. Incas excepted in the South. Tollowa and Winimum Wintu existed for 12,000 years in California and were fine until they were assaulted, plundered and all but genocided. Same for Creek, Miami, Lakota, Dakota, Apache, Cheyenne, Dine and Ute. Anasazi were the only ones who technically failed in the North and that wasn’t exactly their fault.

    Taking your civilization as the default setting for every society that ever existed is stretching. I’d say one needs to get out and about more and see what the supposed gurgling and drooling ostensibly fully-automated human robots are up to, even if it might cost a little carbon, the results may be surprising and worth it.

  • There is a world of difference between an act with the primary intention of ending one’s own life (suicide) and an act with some other intent that entails the loss of one’s own life (sacrifice).

  • as kevin points out, ‘they’ aren’t going to let go of power willingly and will do everything possible to keep their positions, like this:

    Report: The U.S. is putting fake cell towers in planes to spy on people

    The U.S. Department of Justice is putting devices that emulate cellphone towers in Cessna aircraft and flying them around the country to track the locations of cell phones, a practice that targets criminal suspects but may also affect thousands of U.S. citizens, according to a news report Thursday.

    The program is run by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Marshals Service and has been in operation since at least 2007, according to the report in the Wall Street Journal, which cited two unnamed sources. The aircraft are flown out of at least five metropolitan-area airports and can cover most of the U.S. population, it said.

    Cell phones are programmed to connect to whichever nearby cell tower has the strongest signal. The fake cell towers trick phones into thinking they have the strongest signal, then read the devices’ unique registration numbers when they connect, the Journal report says.

    The goal is to locate cell phones linked to people under investigation for crimes like selling drugs, but in the process the program collects data about people not suspected of any crime, the report says. The fake cell towers determine which phones belong to criminal suspects and “let go” of those that aren’t.

    The Journal quoted a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union who called it an inexcusable “dragnet surveillance program.”

    A DOJ official wouldn’t confirm or deny the program but said Justice Department agencies “comply with federal law, including by seeking court approval,” the Journal said. [and who writes and passes them?]

    A side effect is that the towers can sometimes cause cell phone calls to be dropped. “Authorities have tried to minimize the potential for harm, including modifying the software to ensure the fake tower doesn’t interrupt anyone calling 911 for emergency help,” one source told the Journal.

    There have been several reports in the last few months about phony cell phone towers being detected around the U.S. It’s not clear whether the fake cell towers used by the DOJ, dubbed “dirtboxes” by law enforcement officials, are the ones that have been detected.


    and of course keeping information from the masses keeps them uninformed:

    As species decline, so does research funding – ‘How many cards can you remove before the entire house falls down?’


    The public was misinformed about science and scientists.

    How this will reverberate among funding agencies and the next generation of wildlife biologists is unknown. Currently, the funding level for animal biology at the National Science Foundation — the primary agency supporting biological research on marine and terrestrial wildlife — is at an all-time low. Less than 10% of grant proposals submitted to the biological division of the agency get funded. The level is even more dismal for proposals focusing on large animals such as lions, wolves, pandas, dolphins or elephants. The fact is, grant proposals on single-celled organisms are 26 to 44 times more likely to be funded than those studying big wild animals.

    This lack of funding has created a deficit in knowledge that has left humans in the dark about the basic biology of large wild animals and how to live with them. More than 25% of the world’s mammals are threatened with extinction. More than half of all mammalian species populations are now in decline, with the largest mammals disappearing at exceptionally high rates. River dolphins, African lions, monk seals, cheetahs, mountain gorillas and vaquitas — the rarest porpoise that lives in the northern Gulf of California — are slipping away before our eyes. The cost to our ecosystem from the loss of so many species is unknown. [read the entire article if interested]

  • Wherever ewe go there ewe are.

  • Okay, let’s say I’m at the conference. The minister is right, but he lives like a yuppie so its just words. What is in our heads hardly matters. What matters is if our lifestyle is connected,
    not our “hearts.”

    The scientist has a better answer because if everyone voted, everyone
    would be examining their information better. Then people would be actively seeking good information, and might bring the soldiers home and then everything else would be brought home also and the pipelines would dry up and people would be looking at the pollution in their own backyards and in their own kid’s bloodstreams.

    The native american woman is only native in blood, but she lives like a yuppie. She loves the supermarket. She actually brings nothing to the conference.

    Of the panel there is only one person approaching indigenous lifestyle and that is the farmer. He brings the most to conference.

    And the writer, in my opinion, is waiting for the wrong answer. There is no “answer”, there is a tide, and the “utter destruction” is not going to happen. You who are afraid of methane have a mechanical view of life on Earth. There is much more going on than can be seen or measured. Don’t take pathetic measurements so seriously. The 6th mass extinction might take out most of humanity, but not all, and if it takes all, then the surviving species will continue on. Mother Earth is not going to stop living. She has tides. So the question is not “what is the answer?” The question is where is the boat of my own lifestyle? The writer didn’t identify himself on the yuppie scale. He conveniently didn’t locate himself. But each of us must.

    The writer is also afraid to say exactly what he means. Did the Iraqis who set oil wells on fire, stop the pipelines? No. What roots need to be yanked? By not identifying his own lifestyle the writer is just pointing fingers at the “insane civilization.”

    For me, I see that the madness he speaks of, is a question of values that were spun to us with intentional social engineering programs for over a century. That is where the voting could get interesting as more people realize this.

    So lets look for the innocent? Who lives the simplest and closest to the ground? 51% of human beings are now urban. They suck.

    I think the farmer is right. The farmer is the most independent. But even more right are the people who never heard of the conference because they have their nose to the grind stone and live simply and aren’t pushing the pedal of the machine. “The meek shall inherit the Earth,” not the rich, not the high and mighty, not the techies.

    Things are already answering the madness. Resource depletion is happening. The supermarkets are getting less super. So with less resources burned there will be less pollution. That, then, is being solved. The problem is choking itself.

    What about human well being? There is no “human well being” unless one thinks like a globalist. The story of well being as resources decline, depends on where one lives on the yuppie gauge. If one is rich, Sayonara. If one is poor, and connected to some land and foraging, probably very little will happen to that person’s well being. They are living indigenous lifestyle. The most connected people will continue connecting and somewhere people will carry on.

    Is the writer teaching his grand children survival skills? Or like the minister and the native american woman is he stuck in the head and part of the problem?

    The scientist actually is right on. When things get tight enough, what will replace the American Dream? Will people let some globalist decide, or vote? And when they realize voting won’t feed their kids, they will leave the cities. The ecovillage will replace the corporate farms. And there will be very short supply chains and very little pollution.

    Everyone, stop thinking, and get on to some land.

    Ray Songtree

  • Is this the bargaining stretch of the 5 stages of grief, or is it the anger part? Anyhow, I’m glad we seem to have turned the page on the feeling sorry myself part. The wallowing in despair was tough wading. I truly admire the DGR, but recruitment must be a bitch — talk about your soft-sell. Maybe we could repackage recruitment as Soft Green Resistance, after which the hardcore freaks could move on to the sister organs.

    There are 2 kinds of collapse; economic and ecological. DGR may reach critical mass enough to cause economic collapse further ahead of ecological collapse than otherwise assumed. I did not read the army manual, but it would seen a fitting legacy for Michael Ruppert if DGR used the Dark Net to sell drugs to fund their “nefarious” activities.

    START >

  • “There is a world of difference between an act with the primary intention of ending one’s own life (suicide) and an act with some other intent that entails the loss of one’s own life (sacrifice).”

    Yet you still end up dead. Sorry this lovely distinction between suicide and sacrifice wasn’t post scripted to the Buddha feeding tigers story as well, but I always thought that Buddha tale was a joke, much like Samson slaughtering a village with the jawbone of an ass. Getting killed is often funny and slapstick violence has been popular since the discovery of fire as a tool.

    But then the subject was suicide, so naturally it is being avoided completely.

  • I think the first place DGR should start is to eliminate cookie jars that have too narrow openings that only allow 3 cookies to come out at the same time. I’m always stymied by the dilemma of letting go of the fourth cookie to allow my hand to come out.

  • Grant, I’ve followed your posts since your early Commie Dreams days. Your suicide post was probably the best thing you ever wrote.

  • Rob: Damnit, WHICH suicide post? I keep trying but it never sticks.

    Pat signs off with “The Church of Euthanasia Save the planet, kill yourself.” But the only person to really dive into it was so frightened by suicide he deemed the entire site a Death Cult.

    We are rapidly approaching a point where suicide, (“self-sacrifice” for the squeamish), will be considered a noble act. And once that happens, State Sponsored Suicide won’t be far behind and all manner of people of various degrees of worthlessness will be “self-sacrificed” for the greater good. Who knows? Maybe people will kill themselves to feed the tigers at the zoo. After all, Buddha did.

    Jesus sacrificed himself and shot straight up to heaven. (After a couple of days). Judas committed suicide and went to hell. But then Jesus was a Christian and Judas was a treacherous Jew. It does get confusing…

    Once people in the First World really start feeling the pressure brought upon by climate upheaval, watch as suicide rates soar. Suicide is already a leading cause of death among men in their fifties, surpassing heart disease. More soldiers from the “all volunteer” army kill themselves than die in combat. Suicide is a lot more common than we realize, but still is tainted with a society taboo indicating that only cowards, weaklings and crazy people kill themselves. This despite knowing full well that cowards, weaklings and crazy people become elected officials.

  • Apologies to Grant.
    The post about self-sacrifice vs. self-sorrow.
    Struck home – clean, concise writing.

  • Stairway To Heaven
    Energy demand is going to up 50% at the same time emissions have to down 80% and also at the same time that post peak minerals forces recognition of the obvious, we are fucked and there is nothing we can do about it. We can’t recycle our way out because of what Ugo Bardi calls “downcycling”, which is the degradation of quality recycled materials deliver. We’ve mined 50% of all the copper ever mined in human history in just the last 30 years. We are on track for copper to peak between 2030 and 2040. We do not have anywheres near enough copper for our green energy fantasies, and copper is only one example of many. After peak minerals, we cannot accelerate post peak mineral production no matter what the price of that mineral is. Our monetary-military culture grew up from minerals and will flame out because of them. We are buying a stairway to hell. Going to wikipedia to look up mineral reserves is as reliable as getting your palm read at a county fair. I predict this flash in the pan may not be deleted by our moderating masters.

    Math Made Easy: The Confluence of Crises Formula

    Minerals overshoot +
    Climate overshoot +
    Ecological overshoot +
    Population overshoot =
    Near Term Mass Extinction

  • @Callaghan

    Math much¿

    Thank me later.

    Paradise by John Prine

    Thanks for your contribution to NBL Will Falk.

  • “Since the beginnings of our species, humans have remained unable to live in ecological balance.” Except for most of the entire continent of North America. Incas excepted in the South. Tollowa and Winimum Wintu existed for 12,000 years in California and were fine until they were assaulted, plundered and all but genocided. Same for Creek, Miami, Lakota, Dakota, Apache, Cheyenne, Dine and Ute. Anasazi were the only ones who technically failed in the North and that wasn’t exactly their fault.”

    You forgot Aztecs, and quite a few other collapsed societies in the Americas. “Fine” is great if you weren’t one of the countless victims of tribal warfare killed, tortured and enslaved – by the Creek, Miami, Lakota, Dakota, Apache, Cheyenne, Dine and Ute.

    Personally I don’t posit ecosystem overshoot as “fault”, which infers a moral judgment. It just happens to any species that enjoys abundant resources until they are used up or otherwise reduced by natural disaster – periodically, eventually, inevitably.

  • Thanks, Will. I appreciate your emphasis on land. To nit pick slightly: I wouldn’t say that stopping car production will stop roads being built. Stopping road construction leads to stopping car production; we keep the emphasis on the land, where it belongs. With the roads, cars will come, with all the necessary dependence on civilization. Without the roads, all dependence goes onto the land. I personally could not survive once thrown into the wilderness, but many people can. My 2 cents…

  • i wish i were my birthweight

    Stairway To Heaven
    Energy demand is going to go up 50% at the exact same time emissions have to go down 80% and also at the very same time that post peak minerals forces recognition of the obvious, we are fucked and there is nothing we can do about it. We can’t recycle our way out because of what Ugo Bardi calls “downcycling”, which is the degradation of quality recycled materials deliver. Research into recycling is promising, but dwindles compared to post peak production dynamics.

    We’ve mined 50% of all the copper ever mined in human history in just the last 30 years. We are on track for copper to peak between 2030 and 2040. We do not have anywheres near enough copper for our green energy fantasies, and copper is only one example of many. After peak minerals, we cannot accelerate post peak mineral production no matter what the price of that mineral is. We already move some 3 billion tons of earth for 15 million tons of copper, and we will soon have to move lots more for much less. This can’t go on.

    And no, you cannot substitute your way out of this. Aluminum is brittle, fire-prone and costs 5 times the energy of copper. Aluminum wire costs twice as much to produce as copper wire. Our faith in material substitutes has to break before it breaks us. We have to have a low-carbon plan that is realistically achievable, and not trillions of batteries, blades and panels. To power Britain today with 100% green energy, you would have to cover 25% of their country with green energy materials. This is plainly as stupid as it is materially mass foolish, or pound foolish as they say.

    Our monetary-military culture grew up from minerals and will flame out because of them. We are buying a stairway straight to hell. Going to wikipedia to look up mineral reserves is as reliable as getting your palm read at a county fair. Money is the root of all evil. This is why any future carbon tax dividends should be 100% all yours in a new direct deposit world wide e-currency powered by nuclear thorium because we can’t mine green energy minerals without digging up already radioactive thorium.

    Green energy demands we flood the world with billions of tons of batteries. The thorium power will pay for the green energy minerals and destruct battery mass demand. This will change only the mineral-energy imbalance but not any other environmental overshoots. I do not like this reality, but anything is better than the nonsense we engage intellectually now.

    Math Made Easy: The Confluence of Crises Formula

    Minerals overshoot +
    Climate overshoot +
    Ecological overshoot +
    Population overshoot =
    Near Term Mass Extinction

    next chapter: lunch money; diamonds are for heifers extinctions are for evers

  • Bud Nye gets a thumbs-up for being one of the most rational, objective and broadly-informed individuals posting on this site. That was an excellent comment, Bud – I agree wholeheartedly.

  • “I personally could not survive once thrown into the wilderness, but many people can.”

    Correction: This sounds like what matters most is humans convenience. But I’ve been saying instead that people should stay where they are and refrain from expanding the human footprint beyond that.

  • Gail and Bud Nye, you are simply incorrect: there are countless species of organisms that don’t overshoot even given abundant resources since the overall network of life keeps them from doing so. From various species of dinosaurs to viruses to bacteria to fungi to insects to plants—life has been about complex equilibria, not overshoot. Why isn’t the world covered with bacteria? Or plants? Or fungi? Dinosaurs existed for hundreds of millions of years and they didn’t die out because of overshoot. Why do viruses like herpes not kill off the host and instead enter into a symbiotic relationship with them? Or agrobacterium and Arabidopsis? Or our microbiomes – why don’t they go off into overshoot mode all the time? I have observed this phenomenon myself in experiments of viral infections in cell culture where a virus mutates to a less virulent or less lethal strain over multiple rounds of growth and a natural balance is established in some colonies. I have seen this in simulations of complex systems (usually 1-5/1000,0000 trajectories perpetuate arbitrarily).

    When life evolved, it didn’t just evolve to maximise resources – the organisms that did were selected against (as in the case of the cell cultures where the virus kills off all the cells). Life couldn’t have evolved if it had adopted your paradigm. It was a balance between the various interacting networks (interactomes) that made life possible, and even so-called complex (multicellular) life possible. Why don’t all cells in your body become cancers? What you are talking about is cancer. Life and cancer are not synonymous.

    In terms of humans, Wester’s examples, and others such as the aboriginals, though not on the same time frame as hundreds of millions of years or billions of years, are compelling as far as humans are concerned. There are several human groups that existed until they were wiped out by an external force, that’s what matters. Perfection or lack of cruelty isn’t a feature of complex systems equilibria, neither is a lack of warfare, killing, torture, or enslavement. What matters is that resource use is subexponential—I haven’t done the explicit calculations but from my observations of my simulations I’d say this is a feature of complex systems that seem to go on arbitrarily, that collapse is always observed when resource use is exponential and linear or quadratic use MAY cause stagnation but sometimes the correct balance between the various feedbacks is established to allow these systems to perpetuate arbitrarily.

    You say “Personally I don’t posit ecosystem overshoot as “fault”, which infers a moral judgment.”, but then you wrote: ” ‘”Fine” is great if you weren’t one of the countless victims of tribal warfare killed, tortured and enslaved – by the Creek, Miami, Lakota, Dakota, Apache, Cheyenne, Dine and Ute.’

    What is your latter comment, if not a moral judgement about killing, torturing and enslavement?

    Anyways, we can debate about the proclivity of humans to do something since we’re talking about a several order magnitude difference between how long humans and dinosaurs (say) have lived, but it is simply incorrect to invoke “nonequilibrium thermodynamics” (which covers all of life) and “complexity theory” as being in support of your position. I’ve done the research myself and it does not support your position. I’d say do the research: find a viral strain that is really aggressive to a cell or a bacterium and plate multiple colonies (hundreds at least) and see if any survive and what happens to the viral strain in the ones that do. Do simulations of complex systems to understand their behaviour, even human-like systems as the Club of Rome people did in Limits to Growth. You can get a good idea for the parametres needed for sustainability. It’s difficult but doable, and some groups of humans did seem to satisfy all the boundary conditions

  • Bud, you ask by what authority do I know how I think life will/should unfold on this planet. I only speak in general probabilistic terms but I’ve published over 120 papers (100 of them original research papers in peer reviewed journals including Science, Nature, JAMA, etc.) all falling under the general topic of “biological complex systems.” Some include papers on biological evolution, but in a way they’re ALL about evolution. A lot of it is biophysics and computational biology. My mentor shared the Nobel in Chemistry in 2013 for “multiscale modelling of complex chemical systems” for being the first to do it in the 1960s and, together in the late 1990s, we were the first to do it right (see CASP competitions and my papers published at the first three CASPs). Do a PubMed search with “Samudrala R” and see what you get. We’ve published on the origin of life, on systems biology or network biology, and on protein structure, function, interaction, and design, with a focus on application in medicine (drug discovery) and engineering (nanotechnology). Proteins are the simplest example of complex biological systems.

    So I’ve done a lot of original research on these topics myself, and many of my friends and colleagues have done a lot of it also. It’s all about understanding life (my academic web page has been stating this as the goal of our group for a LONG time). So it’s incorrect to say our brains were hard wired for this even if I agreed with you that all your anthropological evidence was right. There’s no evidence of any biological trait at play here—that would be the easy answer. I also have said earlier that complex systems don’t behave like this: their trajectories are unpredictable and if you compare two trajectories with slight changes in initial conditions, they are exponentially different. We even mathematically quantify the separation (it’s called a Lyapunov exponent, look it up).

    I agree the current trajectory of humanity appears to be most likely unsustainable, but again, because of complexity and the chaos involved in the trajectories, you can’t predict anything with 100% certainty (even though that’s what your claim sounds like, that it applies to all and any humans that have EVER lived). And like I said, I’ve done the original research and I urge you to do the same: plate an aggressive virus that attacks its host cells using hundreds or thousands of colonies and allow multiple rounds of replication. Yes, the virus will kill a lot and probably even the majority of the colonies off completely and kill itself. But some in some colonies, the virus will mutate into a less virulent/lethal strain and the colony and the virus will both grow together symbiotically. Your argument is like looking at ONE of these colonies where the virus is killing of all its host cells and saying “hey, look, this virus always behaves the same way in every instance” whereas I’m saying look at the colonies where the virus hasn’t killed off the host and learn from that.

    In our email discussions, you agreed that it may have been possible for another way for human life to unfold. That’s where the knowledge is, not in the failures but in the successes. Are there any successes to human groups? It’s hard for me to say too but I think there are enough examples of human groups that have NOT been wiped out due to their own actions and we can see what they were doing before that happened. If your point is that one human group would always overpower and assimilate another, perhaps that’s true, but then still your argument would have to limit yourself to humanity (not to other organisms) and not invoke complexity (which is simply incorrect).

    I am one of the first to say that humanity currently is behaving like an aggressive virus. But I also think it is a problem of individual humans—there is a small fraction that is responsible for the mess. It’s not about the white people vs. the natives (though some view it like that) but it is about the exponential resource use enablers vs. the people who want to live sustainably if provided the means. Part of the problem with humanity is a lemming culture (human “ape” is an apt phrase here) where people follow others blindly without thinking for themselves, but in general there are people willing to make the sacrifices and there are people that never will, no matter what.

    Limits to Growth actually quantifies what parametres are needed for the human population to have a comfortable existence, and they do it using complexity theory in a proper way. There are others who’ve done better world models since then. Those models give you a good idea of what the population size should be, what kind of resource use there should be, etc. for humans to live sustainable. They’re a far better reference IMO than any past data since they apply to the human condition as it is in recent years. Initially they predicted that the human population around 1976? I believe was the maximal carrying capacity but it’s really about exponential resource use as others have pointed out. Identify the key sections of the global interactome that are responsible for the exponential use and take them out and then you will get another try (which may not mean much, since as I’ve said, in complex systems you need to try about a million trajectories to get one to become sustainable). That may be how it works out here also, and indeed all the feedbacks that Guy has identified is just the system correcting itself and if that means wiping out humanity, that’s what it is. But life will continue and perhaps sentient life will arise again (I think the ability to do directed genetic engineering is selectively advantageous, so if it is present/arises as a trait in other species, it will continue to be selected for rapidly and I think this ability is what gives us our greater “intelligence”).

    These are my two posts for today. Followup on the forum.

  • Will, I have a copy of Deep Green Resistance, highlighted and dog eared. I support all efforts to end the insanity.

    At the same time, I also accept that it’s too late to do much to change the trajectory. Humans will go extinct when they do. I can’t mourn us; we deserve our fate. What really bothers me is who and what we take with us.

    Now, if someone, anyone has any ideas of what the average person can do to help other species get past all of our toxic wastes, I am all ears!

    And Grant, will be more than happy to talk suicide. As I’ve mentioned before, my sister killed herself after many tries, my mother made a pretty good attempt, and I’ve planned mine at least twice now.

    Exit strategies are necessary. We are arriving at a point when taking our lives is probably the most radical thing we can do. But, I don’t think we are there yet. There is still a lot of beauty left.

  • Tom Says:
    November 13th, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Well, finally someone says what most of us have thought along the way to extinction.
    Well said. Even taking marijuana smokers out of prison and putting Oil-Qaeda in jail one at a time won’t stop the collapse.

    Like you said, too far gone.

  • Ram,

    Of course, you are correct in your first paragraph of your November 14th, 2014 at 9:51 am comment. Nothing I have written suggests otherwise. A population or organisms will increase until some limiting factor stops its growth (food, water, oxygen, CO2, space, temperature, etc.). I would pose a mirror image question to you: why do any of the species you mention level off at some equilibrium population count x and not ½ x, or 1/10 x? Clearly, because at those lower population levels they have not yet reached the carrying capacity of their environment with respect to some limiting factor (which changes frequently over time). Again, nothing I have written suggests otherwise, so I don’t understand your point in this first paragraph. Meanwhile, my comment relates to HUMANS, and NOT to all other species, as your first sentence implies.

    In your second paragraph you wrote “What you are talking about is cancer. Life and cancer are not synonymous.” Last I heard, we DO have cancer, and it remains part of life and death within Earth’s biosphere, so in many cases, contrary to your claim, life and cancer clearly “are synonymous”. Meanwhile, yes, I agree: comparing humans with cancer works quite well as an analogy for the self-annihilation trap that we have constructed for ourselves and most, if not all, other life on Earth.

    In your third paragraph, I don’t find Wester’s examples compelling at all. Based on reading LeBlanc, Keely, and others I find him simply mistaken in his claims. No doubt sincere; but nonetheless mistaken based on the most up-to-date anthropology and archaeology.

    I cannot really comment on your fourth and fifth paragraphs because they do not relate to my comments, but instead to Gail’s. But regarding this topic, and related to the last paragraph of my November 13th, 2014 at 11:45 pm comment, I wonder: Do you know how life and death presumably should best unfold on Earth? If you do know this, will you help me to understand how you know it, how you come by this knowledge?

    It appears to me that you contradict yourself pretty dramatically in your last paragraph. You wrote: “…but it is simply incorrect to invoke “nonequilibrium thermodynamics” (which covers all of life) and “complexity theory” as being in support of your position.” If nonequilibrium thermodynamics (and presumably also complexity theory) “cover all life”, as I enthusiastically agree they do, then they must also cover human life—and this remains exactly the point I tried to make regarding nonequilibrium thermodynamics, the maximum power principle, and complexity theory. Those remain FUNDAMENTAL principles that apply, to the best of our knowledge, to all life on Earth, therefore human evolution up to this moment serves as an expression of them.

  • @ogardener:

    Thanks for tne YouTube video Paradise by John Prine. Yes, “once upon a time” I worked at the Muhlenberg Cuunty Hospital in Greenville, kentucky; the Logan County Hospital in Russellville, KY, and drove many times through Powderly. The coldest I experienced was a -26°F winter night in Russellville. A retiring general practitioner in Greenville asked me to take over his practice and his clinic: I might have made a ton of money there, but I had my sights set on nuts, fruits and flakes – not Granola cereal, but California.

    Alas I did not realise at that time the value of community.

    Those microbes that evolved a lifestyle of repeated overshoot and collapse over innumerable cycles also evolved hardy forms to tide them over lean and harsh times: spores and cysts.

    Viruses that take up permanent residence in their hosts depend on intermittent small-scale transmission to propagate themselves. Such viruses on serial passage through a new host tend to attenuate. Rabies, herpes simplex and polio come to mind.

    Viruses that are cleared from the host have one chance to disseminate and propagate, and tend to produce more severe disease, do not attenuate on serial passage, and may even gain virulence, as in the case of human influenza virus in serial passage through ferrets. The classic one in this regard was variola.

    When human populations in the past remained stable, it was not through “demographic transition”, but through the interactome exercising its effects through disease, predation (including war), starvation, or cultural practices such as infanticide.

  • Ram Samudrala Says:
    November 14th, 2014 at 11:10 am

    My recommendation to all biotic evolutionists is to get in touch with the most of evolution, abiotic evolution.

    Loose the teleology and new discoveries emerge.

    Bill Nye the science guy was on explaining evolution on Morning Joe yesterday.

    He used DNA as the engine of life evolution … evidently not realizing that neither the pre-DNA RNA nor the most sophisticated DNA is alive.

    It evolved via abiotic evolution prior to biotic evolution.

  • Ram,

    Regarding your November 14th, 2014 at 12:26 pm comment:

    (1) I make NO claims about how human life presumably will, with certainty, unfold in the coming years. I do make claims about what seems by far most likely to happen, based on evidence of past behaviors and observations of current trends.

    (2) Your wrote, “In our email discussions, you agreed that it may have been possible for another way for human life to unfold. That’s where the knowledge is, not in the failures but in the successes. Are there any successes to human groups? It’s hard for me to say too but I think there are enough examples of human groups that have NOT been wiped out due to their own actions and we can see what they were doing before that happened. If your point is that one human group would always overpower and assimilate another, perhaps that’s true, but then still your argument would have to limit yourself to humanity (not to other organisms) and not invoke complexity (which is simply incorrect).” By this logic, I take it that you must spend a significant percentage of your disposable income on lotteries and other forms of gambling—because they MIGHT pay off in a very big way? If you do not do this, I wonder: Why do you reason one way concerning the probabilities of humanity’s future, and in a dramatically opposite way concerning how you best spend your money? Presumably you don’t live your day-to-day life based on optimistic thinking about extremely low probability events (indeed, you would not survive for long if you did), and yet you seem to wish to invoke this kind of positive, optimistic reasoning regarding the future of our species. I wonder why.

    (3) It appears that we have a fundamental difference in our perspectives on life and death on Earth and humanity’s role in it. If I have understood you correctly (and of course I may not have), you believe, in a distinctly human supremacist way, that through natural science at least some humans can and do know enough that these people can, with both omniscience and infallibility, confidently say how life and death presumably should unfold on Earth. (You SEEM to suggest that academic credentials and a Nobel Prize confer a god-like, omniscient Authority.) I disagree completely. I agree with ecologist David Ehrenfeld that “The world is not only more complex than we think, it is more complex than we are capable of thinking.” In contrast with you, I do not think that any humans know anywhere nearly enough to say how life and death should unfold on Earth, and it seems to me close to certain, though not 1.0, that no mere humans ever will. Sure, we may construct our arrogantly humanist moral principles, our symbolic maps of how the world supposedly “should” work, and then we can attempt to impose them onto the territory, the universe. But from my perspective, as only infinitely small parts of the whole of the universe we cannot possibly ever understand the infinitely large whole. Or so it seems to me. Perhaps I have it all wrong.

  • Bud, no, not because of external limiting factors. Sometimes the factors that arise are self limiting, such as contact inhibition during development or programmed cell death (apoptosis; see below). Why does this happen? No one really knows at this point, but I think it is a matter of chance. Some complex trajectories do well (are “lucky”) and perpetuate arbitrarily. Some don’t. We don’t know the causal reasons but we do know that the ones that succeed are the ones that are naturally selected for. But in terms of correlations, we do see what happens in failed trajectories consistently and what happens in successful trajectories somewhat consistently, but in general, there’s no clear rule on how trajectories evolve because they are complex/chaotic and therefore hard to predict from one to the other There are attractors that trajectories gravitate toward to that gives us some general idea but it’s not possible to say in any given case why things work out the way they do. That’s the nature of these systems.

    We have cancers, but cancers are a rarity if you include all cells that behave normally without becoming cancerous. So you look at ALL the cells in your body, and how long they live and replicate, and that the VAST majority of them do not become cancerous, you can appreciate how rare it is. So just because we have cancer, it doesn’t make cancer synonymous with life. That is a severe logical fallacy. Think about it: you are claiming life and cancer are synonymous just because SOME cancer exists within the VAST amount of life. Cancer is (eternal) life, but life is NOT cancer. The vast majority of cells do not become cancerous.

    As a side question for you to ponder, why does a cell become cancerous and why doesn’t a cell NOT become cancerous? There’s programmed cell death – it is part of the programming of a cell to die, a process called apoptosis. If the various theses about life always maximising resources is right, why is there programmed cell death or apoptosis? How did this process involve?

    I was responding to both you and Gail, and she was talking more generally, as you figured out. Sorry about any confusion doing that.

    I don’t know how life and death should best unfold on earth. I think I have a good idea on how life evolved thusfar, and how life is likely to evolve, and I’ve come by this knowledge via my own original research on biological evolution, which involved also becoming a perpetual student on it, but how it *should* unfold? I don’t see the point of speculating on that, since life is a complex system and it’s going to unfold the way it will unfold. What matters most to me is what the scientific evidence says, and by this I mean the evidence of controlled research.

    Finally, there is no contradiction at all and that you think there is one is due to a logical fallacy on your part. Tthe point is that nonequilibrium thermodynamics and complexity cover all life, not just human life, and not just one human trajectory. This “human life” is ONE example, ONE trajectory. I already said that in complex systems, multiple trajectories can behave in multiple ways. Just because you have ONE example doesn’t mean it applies to ALL cases (in in terms of biological evolution, over 4 billion years, this human trajectory is really mostly one big trajectory—there may be a few forks but it’s hard to tell). It is a logical fallacy to think that one instance would apply to ALL cases, indeed ALL of life. It’s only across zillions of cells and billions of years of replication that you can examine the different evolutionary trajectories taken and when you do this, you see that life that has gone on for 4 billion years would not be possible if what you claim about humans were true for all of life. All the research I have personally done on complex systems also contradicts your claims.

    Sorry for the overpost. For sure, next one’s on the forum! The question is whether everyone else will overpost or not. :)

  • “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” — Henry Thoreau , written, oh, 170 years ago, and in very plain, modern, American English.

    Most people just want to look good and get patted on the back “for trying”, so, social conformity and approval will be the death of us all.

    No one wants to face the fact that it is our NEIGHBOR that we must stop from driving, and burning carbon, which has made out of us all the “little Eichmanns” of Ward’s misplaced phrase.

    And it is our CHILDREN who must block the highways, if they wish to live. And these may yet occur, in one final, futile gesture, as humans frequently do.

  • Ram, we are a cancer. The technological complex adaptive system with humans as a key component, is a cancerous entity. This particular emergence has only happened once, and for a while it sure seemed that we had drawn evolution’s lucky lottery combination. Our tools unlocked every resource gradient, dead or alive, which we greedily consumed or converted into tumor infrastructure on our path towards infinite growth. I’ll have a paper up at (no posts yet) soon and you can peruse the details.

  • Every day that passes brings us closer and closer to the black precipice of utter destruction.”

    Actually takes us further and further away from it. Once yer over the precipice yer not gonna get any closer to it.

    Oh now, that was just awesome. Thank you.

  • Actually, I think the problem is the really smart people. If not for them (us?) then the rest of humanity, the whole 2 million, 2 digit IQ lot of them, would still be bumbling along hunting, gathering and waiting for the errant lightning strike to set a fire. A pox on the best and the brightest, I say.

  • I will post this comment in a couple of sections,because this tablet seems faulty.
    Since the conversation continues anyway,I might as well make a couple of points.
    Industrial civilisation looks mighty like a cancer to me.I look forward to reading your essay,James.
    I listed some reasons why industrial civilisation has unavoidable,systemic flaws which mean it cannot have long term sustainability on the previous thread.Those flaws did not exist under a hunter gatherer system.
    Are we supposed to ignore empirical evidence because it contradicts ones favoured hypothesis?
    We have the evidence that humans can live in a hunter gatherer society of many tribes and leave the environment in superb condition after 50,000 years,and that those tribes were not in a state of
    ‘Constant Battles’.
    I have mentioned the book ‘The Biggest Estate on Earth’ by Bill Gammage.Highly recommended.
    That book provides abundant evidence to support what I stated above.
    Yesterday I received a book titled’True light and Shade’by John Maynard.

  • The Maynard book I mentioned was published this month.It contains beautiful paintings of Aboriginal Australian activities and ceremonies,including funeral processions.The paintings were done in the first decade or so after the invasion of Europeans,and are mainly of the area around Newcastle.There are also records of the environment of that area and about the aboriginal customs.
    The records quoted there confirm Gammage’s book.The Europeans were astounded at the abundance of sea and bird life ,and the vibrant health of the environment.
    There were fairly frequent beachings of whales there,and when this occurred,the tribes who lived there sent messengers to the adjoung inland tribes,to come and feast on the whale.
    I have mentioned this before,how there were multi-tribal festivities when seasonally abundant food such as Bunya nuts became available.
    No doubt in other parts of the world a less cooperative relationship occurred between tribes,but the point is that at least some societies were not in a state of ‘Constant Battles’.

  • Kevin, thanks.

    Kelly, your question “wouldn’t people trying to survive simply move the seeds and plant their crops manually in cooler places?” is insightful. Let me try to complement answers already given.

    First you may need to move more than seeds, but entire ecosystems, including pollinators and what these pollinators feed on, etc… It took nature a looong time to build ecosystems. We don’t have such time.

    Also, we already have chaotic weather at 0.8C; it will be a lot worse in a few years time once the Arctic ice disappears completely in summer. The melting ice currently absorbs a lot of heat. Once the ice is gone, the heat will instead warm the atmosphere much faster. The temperature difference between the equator and the north pole will be much reduced. This will weaken the jet stream further, which will make the climate a lot more chaotic. The warmer atmosphere will also hold more water vapor, storms will be much more severe. Once we reach 4C, extreme weather events (droughts, floods, huge storms, …) will be the norm, not the exception. How can you reliably grow anything in such conditions? See the Six degrees could change the world video to get an idea of these conditions.

    Finally, the global temperature increase cannot stop at 4C. 4C guarantees massive releases of methane in the Arctic, which will cause further warming. Nobody knows where exactly this will stop, but it could be 12C or more. The Climate change is simple video explains this in simple terms. Whatever equilibrium temperature is finally reached, it will be hell for all large mammals.

    So the answer to your question is yes, people will try. But their chance of continuous success until global temperature has stabilized (way above 4C) is very low. Your “simply” is a bit optimistic.

  • Not the last words on suicide, but some funny ones…

  • Although I’ve been following the block regularly I decided to forgo posting here for many reasons.

    This post was of particular interest to me as the author seemed to capture a set of feelings and emotions while he described the speakers and the delivery of their “solutions” at the event. Waiting on the edge of the chair each time only to realize those at the front of the room (the “experts) probably know as much as, and maybe even less than those in the audience.

    To me it’s so similar to the experiences I’ve had in my life from my years in finance as a Programmer/Systems Analyst/Project Mgr to the parallel life I led within the left side of the equation. To me they really do equal out.

    What I’ve found is that each group or side lives within their own set of parameters and keeps their walls up to prevent information from penetrating from any issue they don’t to address. In my case a sprinkling of the issues I’m talking about include, but are not limited to Peak Oil, Permaculture, Worker’s Coops, Intentional Communities, Politics, Climate Change, gay suicide, gay marriage,etc. etc. .
    Frackers rarely understand or address Peak Oil, worker coop groups simply do not understand Limits to Growth, Dulas do not recommend adoption of permanent birth control or speak about overpopulation from my experience For the most part within each group most have blinders on that prevent them from hearing and seeing something brought to them by others which challenges their tightly held beliefs.

    Although I’m able to cross over issues most people don’t, can’t and will never (I’m aware I’m talking absolutes here).That’s why I’m unwelcome in every group as I speak up about issues they don’t want raised for their particular issue.

    An example from my life was my being banished from Scribbler’s blog.
    I only posted once there before the content of my comments became too radical or too subversive for those on that blog. You see I challenged the group think there regarding the obsession and addiction to BAU using solar and wind.

    I tried to bring up Ozzie Zehner, his book, “Green Illusions” and his presentations on youtube that focus on the fallacy that solar and wind can ever replace fossil fuels or could exist with them. Scribbler labels me one of the doomsters and refuses to address his own narrow scope he functions within all the while believing his is an objective scientist.

    So my comments were filtered through Scribbler and deemed something that would create too much chaos within the group structure.

    That is why the experience of the speakers all holding onto their limited and safe view was not a surprise to me. It’s the norm.

    I’d just finished reading Dave Cohen’s piece which this piece nicely complemented. Recently Dave Cohen of Decline of the Empire has been writing a series of essays under the banner of “Adventures in Flatland.” Part 3 of the series is now up and available for your reading pleasure and the focus is human sociality. It’s a long piece but well worth it especially as it addresses the why we are going to continue on the road we are on.

    Many ideas were developed there, but one piece of information that floored me is that in public Naomi Klein is saying one thing, but within her new book her opinion is vastly different from her public statements. She is very much aware of the situation in Germany and it’s increased use of coal, yet she states in person that Germany is a shinning example of sustainable energy using solar and wind.

    Had I not read Dave’s piece I never would have known that as I had no intention of reading this book of hers as I’ve grown disgusted with her attitude being so similar to McKibben’s. I still won’t read the book, but I see how groups will do anything to keep themselves from losing cohesion, even if that means saying the Sun revolves around the Earth and that the Jews killed Jesus Christ.

    I’ve also been trying to explain why I believe that it really doesn’t matter how innocent or less destructive you have been towards the planet. All of the actions being taken by those more destructive forces ripple outwards from the center and will eventually taken everything down with them.

    Here’s the link to Dave’s piece:

    I too had waited to see if people could bring up the topic of suicide on this blog in a way that allows some real conversation. It hasn’t happened yet. I’m not sure it ever will.

    I came across two stories that happened in England last year and followed the dialogue that occurred on line after the articles were published. The first story appeared in February in the Guardian and was about a son who discussed the decision by his parents to bring their lives to closure. The father was ill and wanted a death with dignity and his wife did not wish to continue living without her mate. It was a touching story that showed the planning and discussion which went on among the family members.

    The second story appeared in April appearing in the Independent and was about an 89 year old healty woman named Annie who had been an art teacher for most of her life. She had just grew tired of “swimming against the current” of the modern world which she did not feel a part of. She made use of Dignitis to bring her life to and end.

    In both cases all parties had planned thoroughly and researched what preparations were necessary so no one would be implicated in a legal case. They obtained the proper materials make the end of their life peaceful and calm. (I only wish that Mike Ruppert had chosen to go in this way himself.)

    There was a well of information in those pieces and have been previously mentioned on NBL so that others can do the same preparation if they so choose. Whatever plans I’ve made or not made I’ve lived too close to death to many time that to leave myself at the mercy of a system that doesn’t have my best interest at heart is lunacy.

    The blow back from each article was easily seen in the comments section, especially in the case of Annie. All the focus was on Annie being “ill” (mentally, not physically) and what she should have done. Who she should have reached out to, etc., etc. The decision she made, no matter how serene it was offended most people. The vitriol and venom flowed freely like wine with little compassion, empathy or understanding that the woman lived a long, satisfying and happy life and had had enough. Damm it, by God she was going to keep living if she knew what was good for her was the sentiment of many.

    For those interested in starting to learn about the difficult topics of watching your parents age , move towards a life filled with pain and suffering and eventually die the stories in the following graphic novels may provide a place to start. One even deals with a suicide. Of course none address the issues of overpopulation, climate change and peak oil and the affects these situations will have on our existence. I am in the middle of Climate Changed, another graphic novel by a Frenchman. It’s huge over 400 pages and not something to easily be gone through.

    1) Allison Bechtel – Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy

    2) Special Exits – Joyce Famer

    3) Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant – Rox Chast

    4) Stitches – David Small

  • My first post on Nov 15, 2014:

    In response to Dredd:

    Check out It’s still a work in progress but it arises out of my research on complexity, protein structure, etc. I want to emphasise that our published papers ( represents the true science we do (controlled research). Everything else is speculation/opinion (I apply the same standard to everyone else). Anyways, I started it mostly as an exercise in pop science, in the vein of G”odel, Escher, Bach, etc. To get people to think about different topics under one rubric. Not enough time right now to work on it more unfortunately.

    So, do you think the Big Evolution concept loses enough of the teleology? The idea is that instead of a Big Bang, we had a Big Evolution, and that everything (both biotic and abiotic sets of interactomes) is evolving information.

    I think people speak of genes/DNA as being alive since it’s easy to communicate and Dawkins compounded this meme with his Selfish Gene reductionism. It’s hard to talk about genes being transcribed and translated to proteins as being the functional units and even then proteins are not what I’d call “alive” but I would call them the simplest example of complex systems.

    In response to James (plus additional comment):

    In general, I’ve made statements like humanity is a virus and humanity is a cancer—certainly our current growth-based model for civilisation would fit the definitions of biological cancer quite well. But who is this “we” you’re referring to? All of humanity past and present? Every single human?

    My point was that life (not human life) isn’t cancerous the vast majority of the time and life itself is inconsistent with cancer (a cancer model for life, as proposed by some here, would have been selectively disadvantageous). Humanity’s current incarnation also appears to be inconsistent with life but humans are part of the Earth system for better or worse and our actions will have consequences for all of life on this planet. I don’t think all human races past and present are the same, and I don’t think all humans past and present are equally responsible for the predicament we’re in and while the trajectory we’re on today may be a cancerous one, it wasn’t always like this. Just like some thing going wrong in cell signalling or some mutation or some other thing resulting in a cancer, something happened with humanity to make it cancerous.

    Finally, thinking abstractly, I think it greed for material things that has led to this cancer state. From my observations of humans, some, perhaps most, humans are greedy. By greedy I mean people who are never satisfied with material things. Most of the world worships at the altar of greed in different ways but it is most explicit in America. But there are humans that are not greedy and always content with what they have, no matter what. I don’t mean these people don’t want for something, but they don’t crave it, or seek it out aggressively, etc. One group is more easily satisfied than the other with whatever they have, at least in material terms. It’s a shame this philosophy didn’t become the dominant one but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and there’s a significant minority who are not greedy. I think the argument can be made that a greed for knowledge also has contributed to this state of affairs (we need faster computers to do better calculations, etc.), but I think one could be greedy for knowledge and still lead a minimally material life. It’s the exponential material resource abuse that’s the problem as identified by the Limits to Growth people.

  • PMB: i wonder if this is why David Cohen has been banished from the pages of Resilience, which has gone all out into solar/wind promo and has run several pieces trying to make the US-China BS climate deal look like a big thing.

    Scribbler never posted my comment about fusion power to his article promoting a Lockheed Martin PR baseless claim of fusion breakthrough, my comment was nothing more than a URL of and a quote from a UK Guardian article, hardly something radical, though it did unmask the Lockheed Martin claim as BS.

  • “you seem to wish to invoke this kind of positive, optimistic reasoning regarding the future of our species. I wonder why.”

    No need to wonder. Just keep the daughter in mind: enough of an influence on the nonverbal, nonrational emotional, valuational reptilian brain that controls subordinate rational, verbal mammalian and primate brain. The mammalian and primate brain inspite of even a most extensive résumé is but the chauffeur for the reptilian boss. Perhaps also the reason for the situation with Dr. McPherson’s neighbour, who had a young son.

    Contact inhibition has machinery evolved specifically for the situation, that suits the overall plan of the organism; it helps propagate the genes that are shared by the inhibited cell. And it needs contact.

    Apoptosis is again the result of evolved machinery, but again in this case is controlled by signals (even if they be internal products of viral infection) that have their origin external to the cell.

    Metazoa and metaphyta have highly abnormal cells; it is reversion to the normal replicative behaviour of unicellular eukaryotes that constitutes neoplasia.

    The cells of multicellular organisms have been “domesticated” by biological evolution through time since the Cambrian explosion just as humans living in hierarchical systems (=societies), domestic flora and fauna have been domesticated by humans, and other multicellular social organisms such as bees and wolves through more recent biological evolution.

    Cells with normal behaviour are unicellular organisms and cancer cells. Unicellular (normal) organtsms vastly exceed multicellular (domesticated) organisms in biomass and numbers of cells. Cancer cells are cells that revert to normality. But they cannot survive outside their host. So too are rebels and dissidents to a state: they are suppressed just like cancer. Anarchists are persons with visions of how to restore normality with balance and equipoise.

    The cooperative behaviour is seen even prior to Porifera, exemplified in slime mould fruiting bodies, and in even earlier in unicellular eukaryotes that come together for a while and then go their sepaate ways.

    “Just like some thing going wrong in cell signalling or some mutation or some other thing resulting in a cancer, something happened with humanity to make it cancerous.”

    Nothing made it cancerous. It defeated limits, by regimenting current photosynthesis to do its bidding through agriculture; and by extracting and exploiting fossil photosynthesis in the form of fossil fuels. Hunter-gatherers: gathered current sunlight thruugh agriculture, and hunted down or rather hunted up fossil sunlight through engineering.

  • if you weren’t one of the countless victims of tribal warfare killed, tortured and enslaved – by the Creek, Miami, Lakota, Dakota, Apache, Cheyenne, Dine and Ute.

    Examples? Citations of slavery and warfare? For these specific groups? The last book you recommended from Harvard was one of the most atrocious pieces of scholarship with the weakest possible selection of supporting data I have ever encountered from Harvard. We have been over the so-called warfare of the so-called savages for years now. Do you per chance have any other supporting documents other than this one, especially ones that don’t use the word “savage” in the title or subtitle?

  • PMB — So many good thoughts, as usual, from you.

    That was the idea of Acid, to open your mind as completely as possible (at 19, in this case) to both the madness of society and the beauty of life around.

    Then, to live on the knife edge of madness in oneself until gaining wisdom could tell you which avenues of thought might be bypassed. But understanding all the while, sympathizing, how others might remain stuck in them. “There but for..”

    Like you, I believe that most of the groups of which I am a member would likely hate each other, and me, were I to reveal my various memberships to them. To remain, most likely, always the Outsider, yet trying to stay alert to meet those like minds who might teach me what I do not know, and help me by illuminating my own blind spots to me.

    As my experience of multiple decades now shows, I had almost no idea 10 years ago of who I would be now, or what I would be doing, so I must assume the same for 10 years from now. And that is cause for great humility in ALL pronouncements, and decisions.

  • Wildwoman writes “Exit strategies are necessary. We are arriving at a point when taking our lives is probably the most radical thing we can do. But, I don’t think we are there yet. There is still a lot of beauty left.”

    It’s a tightrope act. I believe anyone who doesn’t consider suicide or homicide at least once a month has something wrong with them. On the other hand, life is certainly worth embracing fully including every heartbreak and sorrow. Being dead takes all of one’s time.

    I am resolved to see this whole thing through. I have sat through a number of terrible movies, there’s no reason to exit this life in any hurry. But yes, exit plans are necessary. I am unwilling to die of radiation poisoning and would rather not die of starvation.

    My fear is the specter of State Assisted Suicide, or whatever catchy name they give it, when culling the population so that the wealthy can keep on top for a little bit longer comes into play. As the nation slides ever so gracelessly into fascism finding scapegoats to remove in a final solution gets easier all the time. If there is agriculture collapse in California at what point does feeding prisoners become a “waste of time”?

    It doesn’t take much imagination to see the State using tax returns and pension rolls to find those who are “draining the system” and removing that drain.

    Of course, this scenario is based upon a steady decline instead of a rapid one. If everything goes up for grabs then being killed in a food riot certainly becomes more likely than being snuffed out by police order. But dead is dead. Choosing one’s own exit may be the last act of full control one has in life. There is comfort in that.

  • “taking note Says:
    November 14th, 2014 at 4:34 pm
    Actually, I think the problem is the really smart people. If not for them (us?) then the rest of humanity, the whole 2 million, 2 digit IQ lot of them, would still be bumbling along hunting, gathering and waiting for the errant lightning strike to set a fire. A pox on the best and the brightest, I say.”

    I wonder about this too. Smart people weren’t able to foresee and avert our predicament; yet we are expected to worship them.

  • Re smart people, if the world and reality were a machine and exclusively material, “smart” people would indeed be the demi-gods that they perceive themselves to be.

    The world is not a machine, nor is it exclusively material. And we are animals with limited capacity for understanding the universe and consciousness, especially if we believe that ” objective measurements” are the standard for reality when the world is populated entirely by subjects. Language allows a certain type of communication that facilitates cooperation, and at the same time obscures greater truths that are crucial for understanding life.

    That awesome Socratic method, “What is virtue, what is courage,” etc., all human attributes.

    Crowfoot statement on his deathbed: “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

    Note the difference in focus? One asks about the ever elusive self, and the other about the ever elusive Life force that is everywhere.

    Yet, the claim that “biology” rules is lost in the philosophical, intellectual, consciousness discussion of virtue, etc. While the dying Native American is still pondering biology, and his connection to the whole were his last words.

    Oh, but they were so primitive, and they just razed everything, you can tell.

    Nothing Gail ever mention regarding the evils of Native societies can compare in the least to what has occurred in this land in just the last few hundred years, where it is estimated that somewhere between 16 to 25 or more MILLION people were exterminated relentlessly and everything they owned stolen from them. When did Native Americans ever kill unknown millions of people that exceeded 16 million at least and could have been much higher.

    It was not just the Native Americans, either. It was the trees, the waters, the animals driven to extinction, and this was in the early days when guns and metal tools were the only “technological advantage” the people had. Tell me when Native Americans ever effected so much abject desolation to ANYTHING? There are no historical instances of such devastating destruction, no matter how much you may personally disapprove of any of their cultural or social practices. No accounts exist of Native people ever, ever acting as Western Civilization has here, not even the Aztecs, who were seriously bad in a couple of ways. But even they did not have the widespread social depravity of Europe at the time. There was no instance in the Western Hemisphere where huge populations of tens of millions of people were butchered for their land, nor is there any proof whatsoever that Native people drove anything to extinction, whatever proof there may have been that they hunted species that became extinct, uh worldwide, uh at generally the same time, and so on.

    Nothing anyone says about what native peoples “would have” done “if such and such had happened” has anywhere near as much weight as what HAS happened. What IS and WAS trumps what “would have happened if they’d blah, blah.” However, when it suits the WC perspective, the native people were very capable of doing damage if they chose, and examples are offered.

    Which is it? Because at the time of Columbus the technological advantage was not that great. Columbus found the Holocene, huh? Then why were Native Americans cross-pollinating and hybridizing crops for desired traits, observing genetic dominance, when Europe didn’t understand plant pollination or reproduction? I’ve said it before, the Europeans may have had telescopes, but the Mayans were better astronomers even without them. The Indians bathed daily, Europeans were filthy in their habits. The Aztec city of Monteczuma was as large as any European city, and far, far cleaner, with an ingenious system of canals meeting the city’s needs. There were no great masses of poor people who suffered continually at the hands of the rich, something that had been going on in WC for thousands of years.

    Columbus stepped into the Holocene? Columbus was a filthy, deluded psychopath who murdered millions of people for fun and pleasure.

    No, the demi-gods are not nearly as smart as they think they are. Their thinking is linear, narcissistic, mechanistic, and lacking integration between human consciousness and biological forces. It’s why everything is so very, very fucked up. It has poured from the hands of human beings who think their death march is the best of all possible worlds, no matter how bad it really is, because they are the smartest monkeys ever, and everyone else was so “primitive,” like those Native Americans and Australian peoples who had really beautiful lands that were not poisoned, something that had existed in Europe by the Middle Ages. Their medicine was better, their herbal remedies extensive.

    I guess people have different definitions for “primitive.” I happen to think that filthy, violent, plundering and murderous are pretty “primitive.” But some people think Columbus was the “advanced” guy. Now that is really, really messed up.

  • Second post of Nov 15, 2014. Any responses to my posts today will be on the forum. :-/

    Robin: your stereotypical character analysis of my specific situation is incorrect: My daughter not only is aware of NTHE age six, just like I was at age 5, but is accepting of it. Death isn’t something to be feared—it is the price of living. It’s true that in my case, as it is in yours, that the reptilian brain largely dominates on any given situation, but for some same strange reason, the fear of death of seems to have be lacking in my father’s side of the family and in general there’s a lot of risk taking (ergo the HRHR life: thrillseeking, skydiving, hang gliding, loss of organs, multiple fractures, business/scientific risks, etc.). It’s a wonder my father’s lineage made it this far, but they they seem to have thrived (though many did die young, as I almost did) nonetheless, variation is common in complex systems and so not only are not all people the same as you describe, there’s a broad spectrum of acceptance of issues on topics like personal death, from which accepting NTHE is easy.

    As I said, not only do I believe that NTHE Is almost certainly the outcome but if you asked me to place a bet on the future of humanity, even though I like to take extreme risks, I’d not bet on them. I just hesitate to speak in the absolutist terms that Bud does, tarring all humans past and present ever with the same brush and that logic is based on scientific evidence. Stereotyping and generalisations have their place, but they also have its limits. I think the points raised by Wester, oldgrowthforest, and David Higham regarding the Native Americans and aboriginals have been compelling and I don’t see anything offered in this forum that would contradict the claim that some human clusters didn’t overuse their environment. All you need is one counter example to call it stereotyping.

    You provide adequate explanations of contact inhibition and apoptosis, but recall that these are mechanisms that have been around for hundreds of millions of years and selected by evolution. These are both methods of self-regulating the behaviour of a cell. Your characterisation of what is normal and what is not just to make point is interesting as a medical doctor. Are you going to tell your patient with cancer that it is “normal”? That the rest of her body is doing something abnormal, but the cancer cells are doing the normal thing? They are the anarchists and have gotten it right? Have you ever treated a patient with cancer? :)

    That is really stretching it. You seem to think that unicellular organisms, and cancer cells have gotten it right even though both contact inhibition and apoptosis are both mechanisms selected by evolution and have existed for hundreds of millions of years across zillions of cells. And what about plants? Or fungi? Plants also have contact inhibition and apoptosis, but their cells can grow uncontrollably; in that case the plant may die due to nutrients being diverted and is that the right thing? These are evolutionary decrees—one can’t escape the outcome of evolution just like one can’t escape the tug of the reptilian brain and in multilcellular organisms, an uncommon failure of the evolutionarily selected system that has existed for hundreds of millions of years is abnormal. The human system resembles cancer since a small group of humans have managed to direct the flow of resources toward them (how much do the richest 600 humans have relative to the bottom 60000000000?).

    You also have failed to consider community once again. How unicellular organisms form communities and biofilms is just being well understood (one of my close friends, former colleague and collaborator, is considered as the founder of sociomicrobiology) and how they cooperate is well established and variations on cooperativity that consign nutrients to a small groups of cells is abnormal, just as it happens in humanity.

    A multicellular organism is already an anarchy but the cells are working together for a common purpose. There is nothing to stop each cell from becoming cancerous and they are free to do so, as you have indicated by your explanations of apoptosis and contact inhibition. They benefit in the short term but fail in the long term since both the host and cancer cells die if things go the way cancer cells want. It is an evolutionary variation and perhaps one time by chance they may all decide to work together as an organ and contribute to the benefit of the host and thus a new organ is formed. But otherwise they are the selfish cells. They are not like the free agent unicellular cells that don’t function in microbial communities. Each cell that arises in a multicellular organism is part of a division of a preexisting cell starting with the zygote and there is an implicit contract.

    You say nothing made humanity cancerous, but then go on to provide an explanation. “It defeated limits…” – sounds like apoptosis signalling and contact inhibition being overridden to divert nutrients to a select group of cells. Actually this analysis was useful and supports another post I made. That it is greed that is responsible for humanity’s cancer-like behaviour. If, from the beginning, the benefits of fossil fuels had been distributed more equally to all members of humanity, birth rates may have naturally stabilised and humans might’ve proceeded in a direction more compatible with the type of analyses made by the Club of Rome people in Limits to Growth.

    Finally, I will say that the Limits to Growth simulations are really the key here about the balance between hope and despair. Robin likes to think that I hold out hope for humanity but I agree roughly with the parametres outlined in Limits to Growth. As population increases, quality of life decreases for the final stable population to a point where it becomes NTHE. I view most thing in life as a continuum and we’re on the NTHE curve for certain but where we’ll stop depends on what happens in the Arctic I think.

  • PMB: I’ve also been trying to explain why I believe that it really doesn’t matter how innocent or less destructive you have been towards the planet. All of the actions being taken by those more destructive forces ripple outwards from the center and will eventually taken everything down with them.

    I know I’m picking one piece out of a large pie, but I think in terms of individuals, and in terms, perhaps, of suicide, it really does matter. “being green”, however you define it, is not going to save civilization at this point. But knowing I have done what I can, that I have been mindful and paying attention and following my heart and conscience … it exonerates me in my own mind. Are my hands clean? No. But they’ve been washed with what soap I have, and that is enough for me to accept fate that is beyond me without the agitated despair of a Michael Rupert. I feel despair comes when you believe it could be fixed and you failed to fix it, acceptance comes with moving beyond culpability for things you cannot fix.

  • The key phrase for me in all of this is “cascading systems failure”.

    A well-organized and coordinated resistance movement could achieve this goal — it’s quite possible. From conversations with U.S. special forces veterans, it’s a good strategy.

    If the industrial economy is induced to collapse, I think we would all be amazed at the carbon sequestration capacity of the recovering land.

  • artleads

    Although it was the ‘best and brightest’ who set humanity on its disastrous course, it is not the ‘best and brightest’ who have driven humanity at an ever faster pace towards self-destruction over the past 40 years (since all the fundamental issues that had to be dealt with were identified) but the self-serving lairs, bought-and-paid-for liars, criminal and clowns that have constituted most governments over the past 40 years, particularly in the so-called developed world.

    Many years ago we conjectured that as everything got worse the lies told by those in power would get bigger, and that has certainly proven to e the case.

    Any society in which criminals and clowns can get themselves into positions of power through the use of money and mendacity in order to loot and pollute the commons for short-term gain is bound to collapse. We are seeing it happen right now.

    In many respects there is no need for ‘deep green resistance’, putting spanners in the works etc. because the system is its own worse enemy -in so far as it promotes greed and stupidity- and becomes the prime agent of its own collapse.

    Acts of ‘resistance’ may or may not influence the rate of collapse at this point of time: there is a huge amount of evidence that the major institutions have become so corrupt and dysfunctional they will not be able to function for more than a few more years; one follower of dysfunction told me on Friday he expects it all to fall over by Christmas [2014]. But I personally think the criminals that comprise most western governments. central bankers etc. will come up with a few more ‘magic fixes’ to keep the show on the road for another couple of years.

    With a near complete stranglehold on what the public sees and hears, the maniacs in charge can continue to lie to the masses until it becomes physically impossible to do so.

    An interesting item from ZeroHedge:

    ‘In a historic move showing just how profound the collapse in global commodity demand and trade is, earlier today the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australia’s biggest coal exporter Glencore, which last year concluded its merger with miner Xstrata creating the world’s fourth largest mining company and world’s biggest commodity trader, will suspend its Australian coal business for three weeks “in a move never before seen in the Australian market, to avoid pumping tonnes into a heavily oversupplied market at depressed prices.” Putting this shocking move in context, it is something that was avoided even during the depths of the global depression in the aftermath of Lehman’s collapse, and takes place at a time when the punditry will have you believe that the US will decouple from the rest of the world and grow at 3% in the current quarter and in 2015.’

    And, with oil prices below $80, we know the frackers and tar sands mobs are in deep trouble, clearly a justification for proceeding with construction of yet more pipelines if you are a maniac and have shares in a pipeline construction company.

  • This is an excellent article and neatly sums up why action and not sentimentality is the only option if we are going to even remotely hope to have a whistling chance of survival as a species. Capitalism needs to go…like yesterday.

  • Just so “we’re” clear, “shutting down” IC, globally, “sentences” at least 100 million people, but probably closer to 1 Billion, scattered throughout EVERY country on the planet, to a most excruciating death within a year, yet most of them will die in significantly less time! Furthermore, of course, without IC, a large percentage of those bodies will just rot and fester where they drop. Is that something “we” really want to see AND be responsible for? Just askin’!

  • Max — Short, simple… and sweet!

    There’s a lot of room for a lotta trees (at 20-60 lbs carbon per year each) where cows waiting to die anyway now graze.

    Think — it was once all like the pure air of Hoh and LaPush, EVERYWHERE, and once you’ve breathed that in, you don’t give up.

  • Trying to acknowledge many points made today. Can’t really do them justice but hope a lame attempt beats nothing:

    Gradualism of Collapse: Like the so slowly boiling frog that can’t discern the worsening situation till it’s too late. But TPTB are not the only ones to potentially gain from gradualism. It gives resistance more, and much needed, time to enact its program as well. It’s a race of paradigms.

    Smart People: Are we talking about evil smart people or good smart people? Intellectual smarts or wisdom? Or both? If we’re looking at both, their work isn’t over because they lived in the past. Their works are there to be continued in the present. Maybe their works are works in progress…

    I’ve occasionally felt the need to look away when scrutinized by babies, so penetrating and knowing is their regard. So maybe they know stuff even though they don’t write books and propose theories…or even speak. I assume that babies know something of importance. Maybe so-called stupid people and uneducated people know something of value too. Maybe the only crime is for one not to believe in oneself…and to make others define who h/she is.

    I think intellectual smarts, baby smarts, “stupid” smarts are all grist for the same mill. AFAICS, one does not trump the others.


    Thanks always for your teaching.

  • Artleads

    The comments on smart people reminds me of a quote from Albert Einstein: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”

    Unfortunately, greed and self-preservation trumps courage most of the time.

  • First, some points directly connected to this discussion:
    The gist of Will’s article is pretty much what i said in the piece posted here in May 2013, Resistance: The only ethical response to near-term extinction. So for sure i agree.

    “Gradualism of Collapse: Like the so slowly boiling frog that can’t discern the worsening situation till it’s too late.”
    This is a myth. Frogs are smarter than that. It’s HUMANS who act this way. Including humans who hang on to the notion that a process which will lead to extinction in some two decades is “gradual.”

    Suicide is a hard one for me, given that two of my closest friends, a married couple, took the step at the end of September. This after she had been bed-ridden for 28 years with chronic fatigue syndrome and had recently taken a drastic turn for the worse after what seemed like a year of promising improvement. They were impoverished by the health expenses, beyond broke. He didn’t wanna stick around without her, and besides had no viable future. I still feel like they left a huge thing for me and our friends to deal with. {He was my website partner, by the way] I myself have no intention of helping the powers-that-be do accomplish their goal of ridding the world of people like me by doing it for them.

    And here’s a pretty good article about the US-China “climate deal.”
    The US/China Climate Pact: a Requiem for the Kyoto Treaty, Why the Deal is Not a Hallelujah for the Planet,
    Peter Lee, 11.13.14. Not the greatest source for anything, especially given that Counterpunch’s founder Alex Cockburn, now dead, was a global warming denier. But this is good, finally someone tackles the reality behind this sham “deal.”

    I suppose the fact that I can still be amazed at the magnitude of botched mainstream misreporting is a sign that I still retain a sense of childlike wonder.
    A HUGE deal is being made out of the US-China climate change agreement. The hoopla is ludicrous. The U.S. makes a statement about its determination to achieve non-binding targets, the PRC talks about its determination to achieve non-binding targets.
    At least the Chinese are promising to do something they’re already planning to do and capable of doing: peaking CO2 emissions by 2030. Going green and, in particular, dealing with the horrific smog problems in Beijing and other major Chinese cities is a key element in the social and political pact the CCP wants to make with China’s urban middle class, so the PRC, even if it is ready to see the rest of the planet go to hell, has strong domestic political imperatives driving its greenhouse gas policies.
    As for the U.S. goal–26%-28% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2025–it’s strictly voluntary and subject to the tender mercies of the now Republican-controlled Congress.
    What happens when you combine the aspirations of the world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases?
    Well, if the U.S. lives up to its commitments, it might be able to shave off 2 trillion tons from its annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. At the same date, the PRC will add around 5 trillion tons per annum.
    [Two charts. You can easily figure out that this amounts to an INCREASE in emissions of 3 trillion tons per year]
    The net result is not victory; it’s probably the recipe for a global temperature rise of 4 degrees which is much higher than the 2 degree rise that everybody said would be very, very bad………
    The optimistic assumption is that the United States will be able to halve its 1990 levels by 2050. For the PRC, a similar goal would involve peaking CO2 emissions in 2030…and then cutting them 90% to get back down 50% below 1990 levels. I don’t see that happening. And there’s India.
    In 2050, I don’t think we’ll be partying like it’s “half of 1990″, CO2-wise. Might look more like this:[Chart]……..
    Even as China’s emissions climb as a matter of absolute tonnage released, it is praised for “reducing its carbon intensity” i.e. the amount of carbon reduced per unit of GDP.
    As for President Obama, enviros rightfully regard him as a leader genuinely concerned about the environment, fighting the forces of climate change evil i.e. the Republicans and their buddies in the energy industry, and struggling to move climate change legislation forward one painful step at a time.
    So President Obama has gained outsized kudos for a rather puny deal with China. Hopefully, bigger things down the road. Maybe another non-binding deal with India. Clap harder for Tinkerbell!
    A less attractive side of the climate change debate is the political cover provided to President Obama for his most questionable and arguably catastrophic climate change gambit: the decision to kill Kyoto i.e. gut the Kyoto Treaty…and hope that something better might get cobbled together in an atmosphere of heightened urgency before it was Too Late……
    The United States showed up at Copenhagen [for the 2009 global climate summit] with the conviction that Kyoto had to go, that the United States, even though it had no prospect of passing binding domestic legislation, would claim to have enough leadership juice to create a viable successor system…and the PRC would be the designated fall guy in the necessary but politically wrenching drama of knocking off Kyoto (and spurning the needs and moral claims of the at-risk nations that had not contributed significantly to global warming but would bear the brunt of its effects, and were a major focus of the Kyoto treaty)………
    The significance of the US-China agreement, and why I’m assuming it is trumpeted with such desperate enthusiasm in the US is that the PRC, by bilaterally coming to climate change terms with the United States, has simultaneously spurned the Kyoto Treaty, the BASIC bloc, and the at-risk nations (known as the G-77 bloc).
    So, instead of demanding that the United States help reform the binding Kyoto regime, the PRC has now acquiesced in the US strategy of Kyoto destruction without making provisions for a binding successor agreement.
    Whatever the PRC does or does not do on climate change, the bilateral meeting of the minds with President Obama is a rather momentous political step for the PRC and one is invited to wonder what luscious quid pro quo the United States offered in return.
    I’ve written extensively on the US-China climate change gyrations since Copenhagen. This piece at China Matters provides a solid introduction to the issues and links for further reading, as well as a vigorous rip on Hillary Clinton, whose politically-driven vision of diplomacy–and the cynical “We must destroy the village in order to save it” approach to climate change policy– I see at the heart of the problem.

  • Colin

    Though what you say is true, not shutting down industrial civilisation sentences an even greater number of people to even more suffering (plus sentencing greater numbers of other species to greater suffering).

    I thought we had clarified that point quite a long time ago.

  • Colin

    No one is capable of shutting down IC on their own so that is a rather stupid question. Implicit in any change of social relations will be mass revolution vis a vis system and its social economy.

  • Oh and it should be understood that we cannot undo industrialism as we cannot undo the wheel. What we can do is dismantle capitalism which is a rather reckless use of the additional dexterity the new tools in industrialism gave us. We cannot reverse these tools borne of our logic just as we cannot revisit our childhood.

  • LeBlanc’s work is “Pre-Historic Warfare in the American Southwest.”
    Dine Navajo are not pre-historic. They are modern and historic. Humans beating the crap out of each other tens of thousands of years ago pertains how, exactly, to 15th-21st century Navajo, Havasupai, Hopi and Apache?

    Navajo – the one group I have some direct knowledge of from working at Grand Canyon – have a huge land base in Arizona and Southern Utah. Directly within their territory lies the much smaller Hopi community, an entirely separate organized culture and national identity. Same for the Havasupai who live in a specific canyon of the Colorado river within Navajo territory. If the Navajo are, supposedly like all humans, hopeless warmakers, slavers and destroyers, then why do the Hopi and Havasupai exist? How does the War in ancient pre-historic past translate directly to this undeniable reality that pertains and manifested in the modern Pre-Columbian southwest? Where are the written testimonies or direct oral histories from Navajo, Lakota, Cheyenne, Shawnee, Haudnoshone etc of their slaves? Or of their great scorched earth victories over de-humanized other groups? Where are they? I did extensive research on Navajos and Lakota and found none.

    I have not had a chance to download LeBlanc’s book, but I can tell you that his name translates directly from the French as “The White”. {cough, hack} I can’t find an accessible copy of Keeley’s book, “War Before Civilization – The Myth of the Peaceful Savage”…but I assume that the title means war before the real planet destroying omnicidal so-called civilization got started. And again: are there any titles that support this world view that don’t contain the word SAVAGE in the title? I did see that there are claims from Keeley of a mass grave of 500 was found in South Dakota, which means I guess no matter what their land stewardship practices were like, it’s therefore perfectly OK for them to be utterly Genocided on levels much worse than the Nazis, and incidentally have the entire planet fed into the maw of a black hole because, you know, they’re just as bad as us. 500 dead in a mass grave for whatever reason equates out pretty well with all life on earth, doesn’t it?

    I will have to get ahold of this book and find out what the deal is from these settler colonial academics before I make any final decisions. But then again I am no longer a rich 1st worlder with lots of money to blow to find rationalizations that ostensibly remove my complicity and responsibility, or to help me manage a warped conception of my own identity.

    Incidentally, I am of that culture and the more I really learn about it in actuality, the more I recoil in terror and horror before what I am, where I came from, what I at one time believed and practiced, and the implications of all this for the world and the other people I share it with.

    If making wild generalizations is your gig as far as removing the cognitive dissonance, then that’s your business. It is no longer mine. Just be aware that what’s going on over there seems rather obvious and transparent, not to mention cultural par for the course from the notorious Anglo N. American/Australian/NZ colonial enterprises.


    Further, I’ll say that rounding off at the edges, saying that 95.8% is close enough to 100%, that we’ll just go ahead and call 95.8% as equal to 100% because it’s just easier on the privileged old brain cells, and besides I could use another case of beer from Wal-Mart, equally lands like a lead balloon out here in the hinterlands among very real people who take it up one side and down the other day after day because you all can’t be bothered to deal with an extra 4.2% of whatever because it’s just too dam much trouble.

    I find this kind of scholarship and self-serving mental gymnastics incredibly questionable. When things that happened pre-historically now are supposed to inform chapter and verse of every cultural manifestation today. When the Harvard anthropology work referenced
    last year was so incredibly flawed, with the thesis being – all indigenous are just as bad as we pathetic US Americans. Read: One farming community in South America overgrazed an areas therefore all indigenous are overgrazers. One tribe in Guyana beat the crap out of another – therefore all indigenous are world destroying maniacs. Once group in the Caribbean overfished a few hundred years back – therefore all indigenous are hopeless overfishers. Etc etc.

    This kind of well-sponsored, so-called scholarship carries weight in the US among the privileged, for very obvious reasons. But out in the world, it seems rather obvious what’s going on.

    Last, let me say that the obsession with human arrogance – anthropocentrism – as a cover for responsibility, complicity and so-called non-existence of power over, falls flat. People who do so need to dig up the grave of Mr. Heisenberg and explain to him that despite all his direct observations and despite the most exhaustive experimental evidence in the history of science, that gosh if Newton wasn’t right and his uncertainty principle is utter bunk, and that human observation of phenomenon doesn’t in fact directly effect that being interacted with. Now I’ll be waiting for the orbit of elections to collapse into the nucleus of atoms because of Newton’s deterministic conservation of energy & motion, and waiting for the entire universe to implode any minute now.

    Thank you and good day.

  • I wanted to give a warm thank you to everyone who responded to my question and helped me understand the issue better. Colin has been especially generous with his time as well as extremely patient and knowledgeable; I thank him for that!

    I just watched the film Elzeard mentioned, Six Degrees Could Change The World. At 1:01.55, in reference to 4C, the film states, “Northern Canada becomes one of the planet’s most bountiful agricultural zones.”

    I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that statement, especially in light of what I’ve been learning recently. Does anyone have thoughts on that statement or the film, perhaps?

  • Ram Samudrala Says:
    November 14th, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    My first post on Nov 15, 2014:

    In response to Dredd:

    Check out It’s still a work in progress but it arises out of my research on complexity, protein structure, etc. I want to emphasise that our published papers ( represents the true science we do (controlled research). Everything else is speculation/opinion (I apply the same standard to everyone else). Anyways, I started it mostly as an exercise in pop science, in the vein of G”odel, Escher, Bach, etc. To get people to think about different topics under one rubric. Not enough time right now to work on it more unfortunately.

    So, do you think the Big Evolution concept loses enough of the teleology? The idea is that instead of a Big Bang, we had a Big Evolution, and that everything (both biotic and abiotic sets of interactomes) is evolving information.

    I think people speak of genes/DNA as being alive since it’s easy to communicate and Dawkins compounded this meme with his Selfish Gene reductionism. It’s hard to talk about genes being transcribed and translated to proteins as being the functional units and even then proteins are not what I’d call “alive” but I would call them the simplest example of complex systems.
    “I think people speak of genes/DNA as being alive since it’s easy to communicate and Dawkins compounded this meme with his Selfish Gene reductionism.”

    No doubt.

    “So, do you think the Big Evolution concept loses enough of the teleology?”

    We have to start somewhere.

    Our culture’s scientific languages are contaminated with teleology.

    So much so that physicists have to struggle against it.

    Proto-RNA and RNA evolved in an abiotic evolutionary dynamic well before carbon and carbon-based life forms.

    Those dynamic areas are a good place to start to kick the teleology habit so rife in the languages of biotic evolution.

    “Since at least the 17th century (and mostly because of Newton), natural scientists have stopped using formal or final causes to explain natural phenomena … except in biology. This was first pointed out by Colin Pittendrigh (Pittendrigh, C. S. Behavior and Evolution) (ed. by A. Rose and G. G. Simpson), Yale University Press, 1958), who coined the term “teleonomy” to refer to the kind of teleological phenomena observed in biological processes.

    The modern evolutionary synthesis is a 20th-century union of ideas from several biological specialties which provides a widely accepted account of evolution. It is also referred to as the new synthesis, the modern synthesis, the evolutionary synthesis, millennium synthesis and the neo-Darwinian synthesis.

    The synthesis, produced between 1936 and 1947, reflects the consensus about how evolution proceeds. The previous development of population genetics, between 1918 and 1932, was a stimulus, as it showed that Mendelian genetics was consistent with natural selection and gradual evolution. The synthesis is still, to a large extent, the current paradigm in evolutionary biology.

    The modern synthesis solved difficulties and confusions caused by the specialisation and poor communication between biologists in the early years of the 20th century.

    A teleology is any philosophical account that holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that, analogous to purposes found in human actions, nature inherently tends toward definite ends.

    Some disciplines, in particular within evolutionary biology, are still prone to use language that appears teleological when they describe natural tendencies towards certain end conditions …

    [a physicist struggles against teleonomy …]

    Expressed differently, how does a quantum superposition recognize that it has “discovered” life and initiate the said collapse? There seems to be an unavoidable teleological component involved: the system somehow “selects” life from the vastly greater number of states that are nonliving … But this implies the environment somehow favours life—that life is “built into” nature in a preordained manner. So an element of teleology remains. (p. 11) … an element of teleology is required; namely that the molecule must somehow know before hand what it is aiming for. (p. 42) There is no teleology needed here since we describe the measurement as a two-step process … (p. 45) … there’s the teleological point that, hey, we search for something … (p. 357) … As far as the teleological aspects are concerned (p. 360) … Teleological aspects and the fast-track to life … there is a teleological issue here … (p. 392)
    ” (The Uncertain Gene – 2).

    My suggested exercise is to explain several abiotic evolutionary events beginning with proton tunnelling (The Uncertain Gene).

  • Kelly: that’s the ‘hopium’ part of every dire movie so they don’t spook the herd of humanity. [McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ is probably closer to the truth.] See, it’s not just agriculture, it’s pollinators, birds, earthworms, wild swings in temperatures (unpredictable weather), hail and ice storms, drought and flooding, volcano, earthquake activity and tornados, the steady increase in noxious gases now pluming [from the ocean, lakes, streams, the perm-frost regions, etc.], increasing radiation, lack of electricity, diseases (plant, animal, and human), lack of trees and vegetation, soil content, the collapse of the medical establishment, POLLUTION etc. In fact it’s so complex that it’s practically a miracle that we happened to be here during the glory days and are now seeing what happens when any species squanders its resources and overpopulates its environment.
    It’s nice to hear that you’re ‘coming to terms’ with it all.

    The problem is that we fail to recognize that we’re already on the down-hill slide, ie. “the fact that there isn’t a sinkhole in MY town shows that there will never be one here” kind of logic is the typical denial we all go through. “Just because the electrical grid is deteriorating and exploding in many coastal large cities, it won’t effect me here” – is another. These are biases we humans exhibit that have to be ‘unlearned’ in order to perceive the reality.

    Beer: a magical mixture of hops, barley, and tiny pieces of plastic

    By Liz Core
    10 September 2014

    (Grist) – Plastics are everywhere: on the street, in our refrigerators, all over the oceans — you name it. But now they’re hitting us where it really hurts. Authors of a new study published in the latest edition of Food Additives and Contaminants found traces of plastic particles (and other debris … we’ll get to this later) in beer.

    This is how the study worked: Researchers lab-tested samples of 24 varieties of German beers, including 10 of the nation’s most popular brands. Through their superpowers of microscopic analysis, the team discovered plastic microfibers in 100 percent of the tested beer samples.

    Reads the study:

    The small numbers of microplastic items in beer in themselves may not be alarming, but their occurrence in a beverage as common as beer indicates that the human environment is contaminated by micro-sized synthetic polymers to a far-reaching extent.

    It’s not breaking news that plastics don’t just vanish into the ether when we’re finished with them. Unless you haven’t heard, in which case … BREAKING NEWS: The plastics we use today will stick around longer than your great-great-great-great (and then some) grandchildren.

    Water bottles and sandwich bags could potentially take up to 500 years to decompose. Here’s why: plastics don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade (or, when exposed to light, disintegrate into a million little pieces). Those pieces stick around for centuries, making their way into any and all ecosystems on the planet — and, apparently, into the amber contents of our steins. [read the rest if interested; there are at least two more articles at this site that are relevant]

  • you know what we need to “do”?
    we need to STOP DOING.
    Doing, productivity, expansion, moving around, are things that are destroying us.
    We need to look differently at laziness and sloth. People who are lazy do far less damage to the earth than “productive” workers.
    what are we producing after all? Destruction.
    we need to be still for a while.
    Imagine if 10% of the work force, decided to stay home one day, or if 10% of the workers, just slowed down.
    who tells you you have to be more productive, that you have to do more in less time in order to be patted on the head and praised for doing a “good job”?
    think about it.
    we need to rethink some things and learn to be still.

  • kevin & Karl,

    Yes, of course, you are both correct. Nonetheless, I wrote my comment and began with “[j]ust so we’re clear” for the benefit(?!) of any “newbs” who may have happened across this NBL article/thread without having read much of the earlier work on this site. Moreover, I think it is exceedingly obvious that “no one person/group/army” can shutdown IC in any one country, let alone, all the countries where it is firmly entrenched and/or growing by leaps and bounds. Therefore, the above article and subsequent “discussion” is a non sequitur and, as such, isn’t even valid as an “intellectual exercise.” Yet, the collapse/shutdown of IC will happen of its own accord and there really isn’t anything that can or will be done to avert it.

  • Tom Says:
    November 16th, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Kelly: that’s the ‘hopium’ part of every dire movie so they don’t spook the herd of humanity.

    Your comment elucidates some of my problem with evolutionary biologists.

    The early daze in that discipline glorified racism and human triumph, then led to Eugenics and a teleological word-storm posing as scientific advances.

    It had a great deal to do with the extinctions now ongoing around us (“if we can kill all those buffalo they are not fit to survive”, “let the most fit nations survive this world war”).

    Had science focused on abiotic evolution we would have eventually developed a realistic biological evolutionary doctrine devoid of the human super-species ideology.

    One that recognized the doom of all Earth species … unless

    Early biological evolution was pseudo-science which propelled civilization down hopium road, a.k.a. Highway 61.

  • artleads writes “Smart people weren’t able to foresee and avert our predicament; yet we are expected to worship them.”

    But you have forgotten that “smart” now means “rich.” Wealth is the yardstick in which all things are measured. Why should we listen to Bill Gates on education? Not because he’s smart, but because he’s rich. That Gates is turning schools into money making machines for him is not to be discussed. Why should we listen to the Koch brothers on environmental issues? Because they are so rich. It’s not like any buffoon without a clear idea in his head can suddenly gain a fortune overnight, is there?

    Look at Donald Trump. All he got was seven buildings in Manhattan a couple million dollars and told not to blow it. Look at Rush Limbaugh. All he got was a radio station, an excuse to avoid Vietnam and an AM band that desperately needed to fill up air time. Is that smart? It’s gotta be! They are both so rich!

  • Jeff S writes: “Suicide is a hard one for me, given that two of my closest friends, a married couple, took the step at the end of September. This after she had been bed-ridden for 28 years with chronic fatigue syndrome and had recently taken a drastic turn for the worse after what seemed like a year of promising improvement. They were impoverished by the health expenses, beyond broke. He didn’t wanna stick around without her, and besides had no viable future.”

    Despite whatever personal loss you feel from the double suicide, these appear to be perfect reasons to end one’s life. Being bed ridden for 28 years certainly has to suck much enjoyment out of any life. Why go on? Not wanting to live without his love is the whole point to Romero and Juliet and thousands of other acts. Good for them. Especially as this was their choice, and not one made for them.

    I’ve posted this before, but it worth reading and thinking about.

  • Artleads — Those babies are looking around for someone — anyone — who knows what’s going on, as they gradually figure out that their parents, while useful in pushing their strollers, etc., are part of the clueless majority. I try to give them back as much of a look of recognition as they wish to hold, and they usually acknowledge, as they have not yet cloaked themselves in humanity’s willed ignorance.

    It’s always a refreshing moment for me, one that confirms that I’ve never “matured”, at least in all the usual ways. I hit those late teens, took a look around, and made a sharp U-turn. I suspect you’re closer to this than you let on, too.

    Wouldn’t Robin or someone else like that tell us this is something like “Original Mind”?

    I’m in a vacation resort now, watching young couples enjoying their babies, some of whom are terminally cute. (Not so many older kids; maybe they can’t afford when the real bills hit?)

    “Except you become…”

  • “‘Gradualism of Collapse: Like the so slowly boiling frog that can’t discern the worsening situation till it’s too late.’

    This is a myth. Frogs are smarter than that. It’s HUMANS who act this way. Including humans who hang on to the notion that a process which will lead to extinction in some two decades is ‘gradual.’”

    I know it’s a myth. It’s a little fable intended to make a complex syndrome more understandable. I was responding to a post by Grant emphasizing the slow-enough collapse (fully supported by the misinformation media) that staves off social disruption until it’s too late for it to matter.


    Have you read, In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell? I read it in HS, but don’t remember it enough to know if it applies here.


    I’m pretty much with you. Always being the youngest one around growing up, it suited me (I thought) to play the baby for all it was worth. So I never figured out how not to be a child. I think you’ve done more research on baby-hood than I. Thanks for sharing your insights. I keep saying that I don’t like children, but it’s only the pathetic vulnerability of children that can make me break out in uncontrollable weeping.

  • Most of us know all of the below (plus a lot more). Nevertheless, it is good to see some aspects of the mass delusion listed.

    People seem to believe their governments are almighty beings capable of performing magic—water into wine, debt into wealth.

    Here are some of the biggest myths we see in the system today:

    1. The dollar will continue to be the dominant currency.

    This is a total farce. Grumblings grow louder around the world to establish a new non-dollar financial system, and China has taken the lead to make this a reality.

    2. The US is still the dominant military power in the world.

    If you measure by the quality of trained personnel, this is true. But what good is all of that military power if you can’t afford to do anything with it?

    3. The police exist to protect the people.

    Wrong again. With so much civil asset forfeiture taking place at the point of a gun (federally funded assault rifles), it’s clear they’re far more concerned about protecting those that maintain the status quo than protecting you.

    4. Elections make a difference

    Completely false. Most Western governments borrow money to pay interest on the money they’ve already borrowed.

    In the US, they spend so much on mandatory entitlements and interest they could eliminate almost the entire government and still not run a balanced budget.

    At that level of desperation, it matters not who’s in power.

    5. Your bank is safe

    Your bank might HAVE a safe. But if you look at objective data, many banks in the West have incredibly thin levels of capital and liquidity—the exact opposite of what a safe bank is supposed to have.

    Oh yeah, they’re backed by poorly capitalized deposit insurance funds, which are guaranteed by insolvent governments.

    And bear in mind that even if your bank is reasonably capitalized, you are still guaranteed to lose money on a tax adjusted, inflation adjusted basis if you you’re holding your savings there.

    6. You have to go to college in order to get ahead

    Quite the opposite—going to college in many cases can get you behind; just ask any 36-year old still paying down that $100,000 student loan debt.

    The world is a big place full of opportunity. Skills and experience matter more than pieces of paper.

    Here’s a better option, especially for young people: head overseas, and become an apprentice to a successful, knowledgeable individual that you respect.

    Any young person who thinks that going to college is a good idea should just ask any of their unemployed friends saddled with $100,000 of debt if it was worth it.

    7. I saw it on TV so it must be true.

    Ufff. The mainstream media exist to paint a distorted version of reality so that people are kept placated, docile and largely clueless about what really goes on in the world.

    8. Debt doesn’t matter because we owe it to ourselves

    Whoever first said this must have a lot of whips and chains in his closet because he seems to enjoy pain.

    If we owe the debt to ‘ourselves,’ that means that we will need to default on ourselves.

    This means no more Social Security, Medicare, etc. It means causing the US Federal Reserve to become insolvent and spark a currency crisis. It means causing the collapse of every bank in the country.

    Sure, no biggie.

    9. The United States is the Land of the Free

    Draconian surveillance efforts on its citizens. Punitive taxes, fines and regulation. Rising police state. Telling people what they can or can’t put in their bodies, how to grow their food, who to adore, who to hate. Preventing them to collect their own rainwater and live off the grid.

  • Not that it change anything, but the ‘homeland’ generation speaks out… err, makes a statement… err, takes action! Yeah that’s it, TAKES ACTION. Ho hum.

    My name is Itzcuauhtli (Eat-Squat-Lee) and I am 11 years old. I am on a silence strike until world leaders take action on Climate Change.

    By world leaders I mean you! We have waited too long for the people called leaders to take action. We now face a crisis that threatens everyone’s future. I wanted to do something, so I stopped talking on October 27, 2014.

    The so-called “leaders” are failing. Maybe it’s up to youth to lead. Maybe each one of us has to be a world leader.

    If you feel the way I do and are ready to be a leader join us December 10th for a Silence Strike. Refuse to speak for a day – or even an hour . When the silence strike is complete — speak up about climate change and never stop. There will be more actions leading up to the UN summit in Paris on 12/15 you
    can join in on… so stay tuned. Our voices must be heard!

    1. Click on this link to sign up or go to our take action page now

    2. Wear a grean band, cord, rope, yarn or string whatever you can find on your left wrist to show your solidarity

    3. Share pictures of you wearing your green band and share your action with your friends, email pics and stories to us and we will post them on this site and our facebook page.

    4. Share on your social media pages and use #climatesilencenow and #ourfuturematters

    May our silence amplify the voices of children everywhere calling for climate action now.

  • I would be wary of zerohedge. He is one of those not too bright who believes that we can cure many of our ills with more of the same poison.

    It does not take a great deal to determine our folly…..operating a set of social relations based around wants on a finite planet. What matters is the remedy being put forward. For the moment, no one appears willing to confront the folly of our current set of relations and time marches on.

  • An extremely low-density human population exterminated New Zealand moa
    “Here we show that the Polynesian population of New Zealand would not have exceeded 2,000 individuals before extinction of moa populations in the habitable areas of the eastern South Island. During a brief (<150 years) period and at population densities that never exceeded ~0.01 km(-2), Polynesians exterminated viable populations of moa by hunting and removal of habitat. High human population densities are not required in models of megafaunal extinction."

  • “Wouldn’t Robin or someone else like that tell us this is something like “Original Mind”?”

    Much depends on the preparation of the learner. To one with the ultimate degree of preparation, all that needs to be said is “You are That” or “You are the Buddha” or some such, just once.

    And for some, nothing will suffice in this lifetime. And there are those in-between …
    “I Am That” by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

  • I’d be wary of anyone who tells you that we can do away with capitalism but keep industrialism, which has capitalist logic stamped into its innermost fibers, the logic which places the machine above all human needs and which sees the machine as a metaphor for all physical phenomena, and seeks to reduce all human activity to machine-like motions.

  • Lidia.


    The Maori living in the South Island may have been smoking moa meat and exporting to the North Island, where most people lived (and still do) because it’s so much warmer there. Or maybe they killed the [large flightless] birds to get the bones. :)


    Yes, of course. ZeroHedge has its own agenda, focused on a different form of business-as-usual. Nevertheless it’s a great supplier of information one might otherwise spend ours searching for.

    ‘Only 22 years ago’:

  • 15.11.2014 20:00 Major warming in the Pacific Ocean has driven up global temperatures, impacted El Nino, affected weather systems and could signal the end of the so called global warming pause, say two leading climate scientists

    …during 2014 the waters of the northern, north eastern and central Pacific have all warmed significantly. This has had the effect of raising the global average surface temperature to record levels which will almost certainly result in 2014 being reported as the warmest year on record.

    Trenberth explained that there have been widespread impacts on the weather as storm systems – such as the recent Typhoon Nuri – moved further northwards than usual, drought conditions in California persist while a mass of cold air moved south across central and eastern North America in November.

    Meanwhile waters off the coast of Hawaii reached 29oC or 30oC through the summer, according to Timmermann, causing corals to die and bleach. “We have seen temperature anomalies of 4oC in some area – very extreme. This warming is bad news for salmon fisheries and also for coral. Fish and sea life are experiencing this year what we are projecting for 100 years time,” said Timmermann.

    It is as if climate is susceptible to unpredictable, abrupt, non-linear, changes. Ho Hum.

  • Kevin

    I am simply advising puirdence.


    You suyffer from a massive dose of subjectivity as do all of us. Ideally we would like to see a world more human centred and not machine. But no sooner did we start top manipulate our environment in amm sorts of exotic ways, the forces of objective dialecticism moved up a notch in terms of our impact on habitat. Disregarding that is foolish. However, recognising these tendencies and objectively addressing them holds out some hope. To wring our hands in despair from the heart of the global region, the West, the primary driver of these cultural developments is rather seeking to stqabmle the horse after it has bolted. The chances of remedying the follies of the past are slim but expecting the end of industrialisation is equally slim. We will either arrange our lives sensibly around it or take the planet down with us. Those are the st