Mentioned in a Few Outlets

McPherson was interviewed 31 October 2014 in New Zealand. Podcast is here.
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McPherson is the “Bad-news bearer” according to today’s Chico News-Review

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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

  • Those are the stark choices,apologies for the typos….struggling with an Azerty keyboard.

  • “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.

    For some, nothing will suffice in this lifetime. Others are are in-between …

    “I Am That” by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

  • Dredd, you are making arbitrary connections to justify your pet idea of abiotic evolution that are both illogical and incorrect. Have you done any original scientific research (controlled experiments) on evolution, abiotic or otherwise? I pointed you to my theory of abiotic evolution that goes all the way to the Bang Bang and beyond.

    Evolutionary biologists have been talking about the non-supremacy of humanity for as long as I can remember. When I was a student at Stanford, Stephen Gould (visiting) talked about the Age of Bacteria (he published an influential book on it I believe) where he provided a compelling case for the bacterial lineage being the evolutionarily dominant one, with humans just being random offshoots of this lineage and largely being vessels for bacteria. Today, as a consequence of this type of thinking, the sciences of metagenomics and the microbiome seek to understand the role of microorganisms in the context of evolution. The study of biological evolution is what came first: If you have a theory of abiotic evolution, do the science (controlled experiments) to provide evidence for it and publish them in peer reviewed journals instead of making armchair comments on a random Internet forum. The latter is what is pseudo science. Anyone who has done proper controlled experiments hasn’t engaged in pseudoscience.

    It’s unfortunate that treating infectious disease came to be viewed as an arms race, which has been recognised as an incorrect paradigm, and is slowly being changed, by scientists, including myself, doing controlled experiments. It’s unfortunate we relied so much on our knowledge of electromagnetism to devise means of transportation and other utility, instead of properly understanding, say, gravity, first. But that’s just how it came to be. The science of evolution actually contradicts the human supremacy viewpoint and has generally done so: I don’t think the focus on abiotic evolution would’ve changed anything without a change in focus on utilising electromagnetism.

    What “Early biological evolution” did was enable bacterial lineages to develop that produced random offshoots one of which related in sentient primates that became capable of writing statements like “Early biological evolution was pseudo-science which propelled civilization down hopium road, a.k.a. Highway 61.” :)

  • Will, I just finished reading your Do-It-Yourself Resistance series. I wish I had your talent for writing.

    Kelly, you are at the bargaining phase with the quote “Northern Canada becomes one of the planet’s most bountiful agricultural zones” :-) You didn’t pick the quote at 1:21:30 “It’s certainly fair to assume that if temperature soar by 6 degrees within less than a century, we are going to face nothing less than a global wipeout”.

    Warming doesn’t occur uniformly across the globe. High latitudes are more affected than low latitudes. For a 4C temperature increase in world average, Northern Canada will experience a much larger increase in average temperature, and even greater temperature fluctuations. Boreal forest fires will be uncontrollable. Isn’t it a bit optimistic to assert that agriculture will be bountiful? And since temperature increase cannot be stopped at 4C, will agriculture stay bountiful at 8 or 12C?

    I don’t think it’s a random coincidence that agriculture was developed when the climate stabilized around 10,000 years ago. Agriculture needs a stable climate.

  • .
    yes, we can dismantle the toxic infrastructure of industrial civilization, decommission all nuclear power plants, safely dispose of all nuclear weapons, and enforce world-wide birth control… Yes, we can.
    .
    …plant no crops, build no cities…
    .
    …kill nothing, live only on that which falls from the trees, sleep on the ground, drink from the river…

    …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.
    ,

    .

  • Hey Dredd: here’s one for you –

    http://www.sott.net/article/288990-New-study-suggests-hailstones-form-around-a-biological-embryo

    phys.org
    Fri, 14 Nov 2014

    Hailstones from three Rocky Mountain storms formed around biological material, then bounced around the clouds picking up layers of ice, according to a new Montana State University study.

    The discovery of a biological embryo extends previous findings about the formation of snow and rain, applies to hailstones globally and provides basic information about a little-studied topic, said the researchers who published their findings Nov. 6 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

    “This is the first paper to really show that biological material makes hailstones,” said John Priscu, a renowned polar scientist and professor in MSU’s Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences. “Despite the millions in dollars of damage the storm caused in Bozeman (Mont.), the damaging hailstones provided us with a better understanding of hailstone formation, which will help us understand the role of aerosol particles in the formation of precipitation.”

    Alex Michaud – MSU doctoral student and first author of the paper – normally studies Antarctic microorganisms with Priscu, but he took on a side project after hailstones pummeled Bozeman, Mont., on June 30, 2010.

    “If it weren’t for his inquisitive nature of how things work, no good would have come from the devastating storm,” Priscu said.

    Once the storm subsided, Michaud collected hailstones and stored them in an MSU freezer at minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit. The hailstones averaged 1.5 inches in diameter. Then Michaud gathered hailstones from two more area storms that occurred in 2010 and 2011. Those averaged about half an inch in diameter.

    Examining some 200 hailstones in MSU’s Subzero Science and Engineering Research Facility showed that the hailstones formed around a biological embryo, Michaud said. Analyzing stable isotopes of water in an Ohio State University laboratory showed that most of the hailstone embryos froze at relatively warm temperatures, generally above 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit, which corroborates freezing temperatures of biological embryos recovered from the middle of hailstones.

    Two different research methods showed that a warm temperature of ice nucleation indicates biological material is the likely nuclei, Michaud said. He added that hailstones grow in such a way that makes them a nice model system for studying atmospheric ice nucleation and cloud processes. [there’s more, mostly about the research team]

    More information: Alexander B. Michaud et al: “Biological ice nucleation initializes hailstone formation.” Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres 2014; DOI: 10.1002/2014JD022004

  • Pipelines don’t burn oil. Consumers burn oil. When is someone going to be honest enough to tell people (including most of those reading this) that it is their lifestyle that is killing the planet.

    You’re not going to hear it from anyone trying to raise money from those very same people is my guess.

    Stop the pipelines and they’ll ship it by train or truck. Stop all transportation of oil and we go into depression and everyone will be crying to bring back the oil because nobody told them what stopping the oil would mean.

  • Ram, you mentioned Americans as a particularly greedy bunch of people.
    I believe this may be due to the history of American colonization. In the 17th & 18th centuries, many people who emigrated to America did so because they hoped to become rich. If they did not believe that the “Streets were paved with gold” they did believe that fortunes were to be made in a land emerging from a wilderness where acres of land were available for a very small price. They were ambitious, intelligent and often realized that their circumstances of a “lowly” birth made the accumulation of any kind of fortune
    Impossible. In the Americas, they were able to use their knowledge (and sometimes
    a tendency to ruthlessness) to become wealthy and powerful.

    Later immigrants often followed the same pattern. It was not often those who
    were content with their circumstances who risked the voyage to an unsettled
    frontier. Those who were persecuted for their religious convictions, or who
    were the victims of a defeat in war which resulted in a change in regimes
    also settled in America, but usually did not display the aggressive tendencies
    of the money-seekers.

    In the 20th century, industries such as coal mine owners, went to countries
    Then part of the Austria-Hungarian empire and hired young men to come to
    America to work in their industries. The deal was that that when the men
    grew too old to work, they could return back to Europe and live in luxury.
    That never happened.

  • Dredd, the only way we can take teleology out of the equation is to talk in mathematics, or really in terms of data/evidence (which also has its problems when words are used). English and common language is problematic when talking about any of these issues due to differing semantics. I personally think the issue of teleology is a distraction from the bigger picture. There’s no way to avoid it when discussing science and scientific discoveries in an informal forum like this on the Web.

    And before RNA, it was a small molecule world: http://ram.org/ramblings/science/its_a_small_molecule_world_after_all.html – we even published a paper on it in the Journal of Biomedical and Biomedical Sciences: http://omicsonline.org/the-promise-and-challenge-of-digital-biology-2155-9538.1000e118.php?aid=21823 and our paper published recently in Drug Discovery Today (peer reviewed original research) uses a lot of these ideas in an applied context with much better success than current methods: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359644614002530

    Regarding your comment about evolutionary biology, it is largely true when it comes to textbook science, but not to the actual research done by evolutionary biologists, especially the huge portion of evolutionary biology that is quantitative biology. All of natural sciences is evolutionary biology (in a sense) but not all of natural sciences have the problem of teleology you talk about. Equations and data are not susceptible to teleological factors. Interpretation is.

    Yes, you are right that these problems you identify exists in some fields. But just because it exists it doesn’t mean it is ALL like that, or even dominated by that. I’d only respond by saying “but not all these fields are as you describe.” Take the best, leave out the rest.

    There is a misunderstanding of QM if you think a telelogical component is necessary. It is only in a form of interpretation. The measurement can be done by an instrument independent of an observer. The “observer” doesn’t need to be human. This has been explicitly demonstrated just to avoid the very criticism that is being levelled against it.

    In the Big Evolution, what I proposed was starting at the beginning of the beginning from the Big Bang and treating everything from an information theoretic viewpoint, with evolution thereby preceding all of biotic evolution on this planet. Before proton tunnelling came the expansion of space and the creation of time, also susceptible to evolution. Even the small molecule world must’ve predated the RNA world (not 100% certain it came first but let’s say it’s the likely idea), both describing abiotic evolution.

  • I’ve posted a new essay. It’s by me, and it’s here.

  • This was emailed to me:

    Grant Schreiber,

    The attachments folder at Nature Bats Last Forum is almost full. Please visit the forum to resolve this problem.

    Once the attachments folder reaches it’s maximum permitted size users will not be able to continue to post attachments or upload custom avatars (If enabled).

    Regards,
    The Nature Bats Last Forum Team.

    Haven’t got a clue what to do with this information. As near as I can tell there isn’t an “attachment folder” unless that means all the posts. so is this a purge request for me to delete files or what?

  • Elzeard,

    I think you are probably right about the bargaining phase. I guess I’m hoping for a possible loophole, or something. I read Richard Heinberg’s book about peak oil “The Party’s Over” in 2008 and began prepping the family for lights out, getting emergency supplies, etc. I thought it was a geological certainty that peak oil would crash the global economy in short order. Each year I thought the crash would likely come that year but it didn’t. Seven years on and my family thinks I’m chicken little. Now when I mention what I’m learning about NTHE I’m met with eye-rolling. So I guess a part my brain hopes that if the crash from peak oil didn’t show up on the schedule expected, maybe NTHE won’t either.

    Any opinions or insights are always appreciated.

    Thank you for your patience and for responding to my questions.

  • @Ram
    You might find this interesting http://www.ecobiotics.com

    PS I seem to recall Pasteur recanting on his deathbed..’the germ is nothing.. the terrain is everything’

  • @artleads
    hey Artleads, no, never read that one but it sounds like something I’d be interested in.
    thank you. :D

  • .
    yes, we can dismantle the toxic infrastructure of industrial civilization, decommission all nuclear power plants, safely dispose of all nuclear weapons, and enforce world-wide birth control… Yes, we can.
    .
    …plant no crops, build no cities…
    .
    …kill nothing, live only on that which falls from the trees, sleep on the ground, drink from the river…

    …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.
    ,

    .

  • Here is a review of Keeley’s War Before Civilization, cited above, the one that is supposed to prove beyond all doubt that the entirety of humanity are a pack of megalomaniac warmongers and have been for all of history. This goes here on this thread and not the newer place for obvious reasons. I was not able to get ahold of LeBlanc’s “Pre-historic warfare in the American Southwest”, but after this one, I am not sure I want to. Here goes:

    -Keeley makes special mention “not to clutter the text with citations”

    -The index is less than four large type face pages long

    -Keely makes all kinds of claims about indigenous “groups” ~they~ raided at least twice a year. Some were warlike, some in the Great Basin were peaceful – without saying exactly who they are – Ute, Paiyute, Shoshone, Apache, Arapahoe? – who the hell knows, and really, who the hell cares since they are all according to Keely “Uncivilized” and not worth mentioning.

    Further there is no real documentation about where these claims came from, what the claims are based on, what constitutes a raid, a war, etc. It’s all just him saying “it’s this” without any backup citations of any real consequence.

    He does cite Wright “A study of war” (1942) which extensively quotes from Turney-High “Primitive War in Practice & Concept”(1920s) then Keeley goes on to say in footnotes that “clearly Turney loved war”, so I guess this primary source contains No embellishments? or flights of fancy? even by the author’s lenient standards? These quesitons are not addresses

    – Importance of funding – 3rd paragraph of preface Keeley states right up front that he embarks on his projects after he gets grant funding – which here is from the US government. So it’s pretty clear that this is a US gov sponsored project. And I am sure he delivered the expected product.

    Keeley in no way consults any original texts by any indigenous sources. None, zero, zip, nada. This is a white settler man dictating what indigenous are and are not, and what is and what is not in North America — with apparently no interest in the actual people or their words regarding themselves or that this glaring omission needs to matter.

    In an nice piece of war snuff porn in the icluded panels, we see a “US Cavalry” soldier with a bunch of arrows in him and his neck broken. Keely describes it as barbaric and over the top, giving absolutely ZERO context about the circumstances, namely US calvalry invasion of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapahoe territory (using the US law: a violation of their property rights). We’re just supossed to be awed by the sickness of the indians, not by defense of their homes.
    He makes a huge deal about the viciousness of the indians at Little BigHorn that would make the US military war department of the day proud.

    Another photo of the 500 body mass grave contains this caption (NO JOKE): Pre-historic (AD 1325) fortification ditch at Crow Creek

    1325 CE is pre-historic? Keeley is obvious on serious ideological and agenda driven drugs here. “Pre-historic” China at the same time was on it’s 12th dynasty. The eastern Roman empire was still Byzantium. But in North America, they were “Pre-Historic” because the ‘civilized’ white people had yet to come and bestow upon them their history.Only someone with utter and absolute, clueless, imperial European settler contempt for indeigenous of NOrth America could cook up a year as late as 1325 CE with an apalling, offensively hackneyed term like “Pre-Historic”. Like I said: par for the US course.

    Apparently by the timeline, Keely makes no real distinction about what constitutes modern North America except when I guess Columbus landed, and Keely seems to think that everyone living in Noth America prior to that did not count as either “civilized” or “historical”

    All the descriptions of indigenous societies – from Australia to South America etc – are little bite sized chunks with no substantive context and almost no direct citations saying for eample that achaeologist X found situation Y and came to conclusion Z through piecingtogether elements A, B, and C. Zip. Nada. Nothing like that. It’s just a white guy telling you about how the “uncivilized” were shockingly less civilized than our glorious US military who have the good manners and taste to line up in clean uniforms and salute each other before they slit your throat and rob you blind.

    Really, this book is an academic mess based on Keely’s imperial settler ideology and almost nothing else. War violence porn and blatantly, shamelessly orientalizing the people he’s talking about. Again, really lame scholarship. I’d call it a highly bigotted, unprofessionally prejudiced empire’s war mongering hack job. But then what other sort of enterprise is going to sell books to make money for your publisher in the glorious States of America? This is a tract that is supposed to rationalize stolen land claims and genocide.

    I’m telling you because when I do any paper on politics or social sciences, I am required to back up everything I say in mind numbingly exhaustive detial lest I get called out for some trivial minutae that will utterly discredit me. Apparently Keely is untroubled by such concerns in this book.

    And this is cited as THE definitive study, now nearly 20 years old, that “proves” that indigenous North Americans are just as sick in the head, wretched, twisted and damnable demons from hell as we are?

    OK Whatever.

  • ‘Each year I thought the crash would likely come that year but it didn’t. Seven years on and my family thinks I’m chicken little. Now when I mention what I’m learning about NTHE I’m met with eye-rolling. So I guess a part my brain hopes that if the crash from peak oil didn’t show up on the schedule expected, maybe NTHE won’t either.’

    nature doesn’t work according to human schedules or precise expectations. personally i cringe whenever i see dates like 2030 or 2031 bandied about here as a time frame for our extinction. kelly, i guess u weren’t reading this blog 2 or 3 years ago, when guy was predicting (and claiming many other prominent scientific informed thinkers were in agreement) that the global industrial economy would crash and burn before the end of 2012. goes to show that even very smart sheeple are prone to stupidity/delusion, imo.

    anyway, collapse is just taking longer than your unsurrealistic expectations that it would crash and burn almost instantaneously. gonna take a couple decades probably. extinction? who knows? if the damned fools in charge of massive stockpiles of wmd’s (weapons mass destruction) don’t hasten the process, i suspect a combination of pollution, eco-collapse and runaway climate change will get us in a few generations. certainly not a good time to bring more human life into the world. a few decades or a few generations, in either case, time flies when u’re not having fun!

  • speaking of time flying, a couple days ago kevin posted a viral video of a 12 year old girl who made a very moving, well informed, impassioned speech at the rio earth conference in ’92. (too bad that over 99% of adults are dumber and more delusional than the 12 year old!). i just investigated and that girl, severn suzuki, daughter of famed canadian author/environmentalist david suzuki, will be 35 this nov. 30. she made another speech at the rio+20 conference recently, in which it became clear she hasn’t gotten any smarter with age. in fact it seems she’s regressed, mind addled by the hopium that sheeple like herself will yet change the world and make it ‘sustainable’. so now she has a couple of young children. like i said, even very smart sheeple sometimes do/say very stupid things, it seems, sadly:

  • finally, flaunting the 2 post rule like virtually everyone else who posts here, i have this on-topic comment:

    just listening to pink floyd on the radio ‘comfortably numb’ made me think, ‘comfortably numb’ is a great description for how i feel mostly when i think of shit like how our hopelessly cluelesscrazycruelsickevildoomed society is destroying everything that should matter to us, like our children’s future. nothing i can do about it. nothing anyone can do about it, beyond rhetorical lamentations, or quixotic self sacrifice. i have mixed feelings about active deepgreenresistance, specifically industrial sabotage, because of my lack of hopium that a few fanatics can slay the great dragon of industrial civ.

    i couldn’t maintain my sanity or will to live if i remained in constant touch with the pain and anguish of this p.o.v.. thus i have become comfortably numb: