Edge of Extinction Episode #2

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Catch Nature Bats Last on the radio with Mike Sliwa and Guy McPherson. Tune in every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, or catch up in the archives here. If you prefer the iTunes version, including the option to subscribe, you can click here.

Pauline Schneider will serve as guest host of the show on Tuesday, 6 January 2015. She will interview nuclear activist Marilyn Elie.

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McPherson’s latest book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind is available.

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Find and join the Near-Term Human Extinction SUPPORT Group on Facebook here

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If you have registered, or you intend to register, please send an email message to guy.r.mcpherson@gmail.com. Include the online moniker you’d like to use in this space. I’ll approve your registration as quickly as possible. Thanks for your patience.
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Going Dark is available from the publisher here, from Amazon here, from Amazon on Kindle here, from Barnes & Noble on Nook here, and as a Google e-book here. Going Dark was reviewed by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power, Anne Pyterek at Blue Bus Books, and by more than three dozen readers at Amazon.

Comments 111

  • Hello there,

    Intersting thoughts Guy.

    I’m not convinced it will take as short as 2 years for things to get much worse but it seems that whatever the future holds it seems to be grim and challenging. Regardless if these changes takes 20 to 50 years it’s such a short timespan anyway that it really doesn’t matter if it takes 2, 20 or 50 years. Especially since noone have any technology ready to replace our existing coal/oil based energy resources anyway.

    Maybe something can happen if every country in the world just out of the blue decides to immediately shut down all oil- and coalplants and learn to suffer the consequences.

    I come from Sweden, which located in northern europe. The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) published that 2014 was on average 2-3 C warmer as compared to the average temperature records between 1961-1990.
    http://www.smhi.se/klimatdata/meteorologi/2.1353/showImg.php?par=tmpYrAvvPrevYr&yr=2014&mon=12&day=31

    The last weeks we’ve had a hotter period than usual; even up to 9-10 C above the norm. However since this is only during a few weeks I would obviously not attribute it to a general trend but some people here are starting to ask questions, including my parents who believe(d) global warming is(was) baloney, since the weather is no longer as it used to be.

    Anyway keep up the good work!

  • David, if every country in the world shut down all the fossil-fuel-fueled power plants, the temperature was rise rapidly because Earth would lose the attendant dimming. The outcome would be identical to collapse of industrial civilization. The consequences would include loss of habitat for humans within a couple years because global-average temperature would skyrocket within a matter of days, thus triggering the methane burp from the Arctic.

  • That is true Guy.

    But it could be an option if it’s combined with some experimental physics to the northern hemisphere (since we really do not have any other options) as proposed by Peter Wadhams:

  • Guy – I have noticed two distinct mindsets to the denials of your presentation which I have also experienced when I talk about collapse.

    First is what boils down to this statement; “How can you know, you can’t know”. Which is nothing more than an announcement of intellectual bankruptcy.

    Second is the totally failed logic that since nothing really bad has happened yet, after so many have said it would, it might never happen at all. This is essentially the equivalence of stating; “Since I haven’t died yet I probably never will”.

    It may be worth addressing these issues up front in your talks.

  • I find it fascinating that one of the most crucial factors in the mix that will determine the rate of overheating of the biosphere -the instantaneous warming factor for methane- apparently still remains ‘unknown’ and that nobody is at all interested in determining its value.

    Guy, I think your hypothesis that industrial civilisation will rapidly collapse because of the inability to grow grains is flawed. The average industrial human consumes twice as much food as is required to stay alive, and most of the excess is flushed down sewage systems, with a portion being converted into body fat -hence the continuing increase in obesity in industrialised nations. And in the US, a large portion of the grain crop is used to run vehicles and feed animals, neither of which is desirable or necessary. n other parts of the industrial world gains are not used for such absurd purposes. It is worth considering that average temperatures in Australia have been 1oC above normal, and maxima have been more than 1oC above normal, but Australia still grows grains. Indeed, the production of rice has increased as temperatures have risen over recent years, partly due to inundation associated with warmer waters off the coast of Australia.

    There is little doubt that worldwide starvation is coming, and a surge in temperature would eventually exacerbate the starvation rate. But does that mean industrial civilisation will quickly collapse? I think not. Take Egypt for instance. There are nearly 90 million people living in Egypt; how many of them contribute significantly to the functioning of industrial civilisation, and not being callous but who would miss them if half of them died? The psychopaths that comprise the Egyptian government certainly would not. Take Saudi Arabia, for instance; in my lifetime the population has risen from around 4 million to around 32 million. Just what are those extra 28 million doing to contribute to the maintenance of industrial civilisation, other than consuming imported food and imported Chinese-made consumer goods? (My guess is that only a few hundred thousand are working on maintaining the oil supply.)

    I believe the ‘lizard people’ who comprise TPTB will do everything in their means to keep their Ponzi schemes going and to ensure their lifestyles are no interrupted. If that means starving hundreds of millions of people to death, I’m sure that will not sit upon their consciences because they don’t have any. We have seen how authorities respond to civil unrest: shoot anyone who gets in the way.

    I still believe we will see death-by-a-thousand-cuts, socially, economically and environmentally over an extended period, with covert fascism continuing to morph into overt fascism.

    I’m sure we will have a clearer idea where this is all headed two years from now because everything I see indicates a major jolt to the system coming some time in the six to eighteen months.

  • For many years, mainstream climate scientists proclaimed 2 C as the death of civilization. This makes sense, because 2 C means at least 4 C within continental interiors, a temperature beyond which humans — much less civilization — have ever persisted. I’m not suggesting grain production will decline. Rather, I’m suggesting it will decline very rapidly.

    Of course, mainstream climate scientists no longer claim 2 C a death sentence for civilization. Since 2 C is locked in, they’ve shifted the baseline. Now otherwise-intelligent scientists claim habitat for humans will persist at 6 C, even if the rise happens within a few years.

  • Guy,

    I think that you probably characterize our predicament pretty accurately in your two Edge Of Extinction episodes to date. As empirical questions we will soon see. Your last comment in episode 2 CRACKED me UP!

    Jeff S.,

    You wrote: “To summarize: Yes, every human action necessarily involves physical activity, even if it’s just the fingers which move, or the tongue, and is the result of chemical/biological/physical processes in the brain and elsewhere in the body. But to take that and contend that this means all human activity is therefore ordained by natural laws is ABSURD IN THE EXTREME. And this is even more true when it comes to human social institutions and social systems.”

    What do you mean with “ordained by” here? “Ordained” means something to the effect of 1. Fixed or established especially by order or command [by someone, or some entity], 2. Invested with ministerial or priestly functions [by someone, or some entity], as a verb to 1. Order by virtue of superior authority; decree, 2. Appoint to a clerical post, 3. Invest with ministerial or priestly authority, or to 4. Issue an order. Meanwhile, nothing I have written suggests any such “ordaining” process or processes by anyone or any “higher” thing or entity. Again, in your summary on one hand you write that “Yes, every human action necessarily involves physical activity…” then you contradict yourself by insisting on the opposite, writing: “But to take that and contend that this means all human activity is therefore ordained by natural laws is ABSURD IN THE EXTREME.”

    I do not see how my points and questions qualify as “gobbeldegook”. In reviewing my comments, as best I can tell I made well reasoned and formulated points and questions. If not, please point to specific errors in my writing or reasoning so that I can make needed corrections. I find “gobbeldegook” too vague for any usefulness.

    Nothing I wrote suggests that “…outcomes are DICTATED BY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS…”. (“Dictated”, like “ordained”, suggests some conscious entity making things happen in a predetermined way.) I WROTE “…our choices, volition, ethics, social organization, capitalistic economics, and so on, work as expressions or functions of the fundamental laws of nature: of physics, chemistry, biology.” And I stressed the LACK OF any “ordaining” or “dictating”; I emphasized the unpredictability and lack of any predetermination of the sociobiological determinism I described. It seems to me that our biology plus our learning history up to this moment in the context of our present environment produce our thinking, emotions, and the decisions we make. My learning history, my biology, and my present environment produce the thoughts I presently have, every keystroke I make, every sentence I construct, every feeling and emotion I have, AND I have conscious awareness of only a very tiny fraction of what goes on in my nervous system, perhaps one millionth. How can I “choose” something I have only the slightest and infrequent awareness of?

    So, again, on one hand you strongly insist that choice DOES lie in the physical realm based on natural, physical processes, and THEN you insist, just as strongly, that it does NOT. Again, your reasoning here begs the question: If choice, volition, ethics, social organization, capitalist economics, and so on do not work as functions of, or as expressions of either natural, physical laws (chemistry, physics, biology, and so on) NOR do they occur in any mentalistic or metaphysical way, WHAT process or processes DO you invoke to account for your thinking, feeling, choices, ethics and so on? I remain lost and confused regarding this, as I expect other people reading this probably do too.

  • Remember H G Wells all it takes to make a panic is a scary message?And so what if the message this time is for real,And how bad does it have to get to spook the sheeplly? Will cheap gas really be enough to keep the wool over their eyes?

  • Dr. McPherson ,

    Your new ‘Edge of Extinction’ is good company we indigenous shamans hoped for. Brilliant, warm, fun, cojones :o)

    Came to enjoy again your EOE Premiere, and find that you have already given the world the 2nd session.

    I am your age, and picture this …— way back in grade school I was already experiencing/writing about this Great Extinction unfolding. And these notes I made as a child are here in my file cabinet —” creation needs a clean slate now because of humans…, any recipe the humans needs to be started all over…fresh… from scratch…” etc.

    And though I am Basque, those around me did not think/say/sense things about this Great Extinction.

    With individual death, even when it is accidental… I can sense when someone is about 5 years of leaving their body.

    But even as a ‘deathwalker’, it may not be possible for me to sense whether there are 2 years or 20 years left— because mass death exponentially alters all the alchemical equations !

    Eternal Thanks.

  • I think we are all in agreement that 0.8oC above the long-term average is way too much and that nothing whatsoever is being done by any government or mainstream organisation prevent rapid planetary meltdown. Indeed, everything governments and mainstream organisations do and promote is geared to making all of our predicaments far worse much faster.

    The time to deal with all this and prevent mayhem was when the disastrous trends were first clearly identified in the late 1960s to early 1970s. And we know why nothing was done.

    Our only areas of doubt now are with respect to how quickly planetary meltdown can occur and at what temperature a new equilibrium between trapped heat and radiation into space will be achieved, and whether the maniacs in charge will blow up the world rather than lose control.

  • I get uncomfortable when anybody gets that close to the camera, but it’s a lot better than the usual presentations.

    Two points, one relevant.

    If the great Russian heatwave of 2010 had parked its ass over America’s breadbasket instead of over there, the end of civilization would be 4 years old. That’s how fucking serious this is.

    A wind-power company wants to withhold information on how many bird deaths they cause each year because keeping the info secret keeps communication public channels open. Then the so-called greenies go ape shit in comments about how many other things kill birds besides windturbines as if that exonerates them. It’s fucking unreal.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/17/windfarm-company-pacificorp-sues-us-government-bird-deaths

  • Somewhat on/off topic, but for those still on the fence about geoengineering atmospheric chemtrails, you might want to watch this short fascinating video.

    http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/11/01/pilots-doctors-scientists-tell-the-truth-about-chemtrailsgeo-engineering/

  • No mention of abrupt climate change here. In fact no mention of any climate change. It’s all a bed of rose petals in the ‘brighter future’ to come:

    ‘Government groups and research agencies have chosen 2050 as the year to look towards. “It’s a nice round number,” as Kostas Stamoulis, the director of the Agricultural Development Economics Division of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization put it.

    Countless official predictions are pegged to that year, which has a cascading effect: Once a major organization sets their research parameters to that year, it makes good organizational sense for other organizations to use the basis of that research to do the same for their respective topic.

    The result? Lots of predictions for 2050 that suggest we will live in a very different world by mid-century. Let’s take a look.

    There Will Be a Lot More of Us

    There are roughly 7 billion people on the planet. By 2050, the U.N. predicts that number may be closer to 9.6 billion. That’s a leap of more than 30 percent. Put another way, that’s the equivalent of adding another India and China to the planet. The consequences, individually and societally, are not great, but there is still a lot we can do about it–like make birth control universally available to anyone who wants it.

    A Greater Share of Us Will Be Old

    The global population of old people is due to skyrocket by mid-century, as people live longer and fertility rates go down. By 2050, one in every six people on earth will be over 65, according to estimates by … and governments will have a hell of a time figuring out how to care for them. As people live longer, they will get more age-related diseases. Dementia cases globally are set to triple. Cancer rates are set to double. Diabetes in the U.S. may double or triple too, according to the Centers for Disease Control, hitting as many as one in every three adults.

    But, thankfully, medicine will also advance by 2050. Vaccines will likely be developed and widely distributed for diseases like malaria, which currently kills as many as 2 million people per year, and HIV, which, after 20 years of research, has proven notoriously difficult to effectively vaccinate against.

    We may even treating disease with medicine that has been grown in tobacco plants.

    Computers May be 1,000x Times Better – And Much Cheaper

    According to Ulrich Eberl, author of a 2011 book titled Life in 2050: How We Create the Future Today, we are only halfway through an era of rapid advancements in computing. Over the last 25 years or so, information technology has become 1,000 times better, Eberl says. In next 25 years, he predicts that scale of improvement will happen again.

    “We will see another 1,000-fold increase in computer power, data transmission rate, at the same price we see today,” Eberl told Newsweek. “If you spend, say, $500 dollars on a laptop today, you would get the same power and performance and computing quality in a small chip for 50 cents,” he says. “This means we will have computing power everywhere, because it is so cheap. We will have it in small chips in our jackets. We will see robots, we will see automotives driving themselves on the streets. It will be accessible for people because it will be so cheap.”

    In fact, by 2045, computers might be so good that we may be able to upload digital versions of our brains and live forever some speculate, though that brings up all manner of philosophical questions about what “living” really means.

    We’ll Need to Get Serious About Recycling for a Resource-Starved Planet

    Eberl says much of the biggest leaps and bounds in computer innovation will happen by roughly 2035, well before the century’s middle point. By 2050, the rate of technology innovation will slow down some. Innovative efforts will begin to focus instead on the reality of what will, by then, be our rapidly dwindling natural resources. On a planet with 9.6 billion people, resources will be stretched extremely thin.

    Eberl believes these new circumstances will result in an era focused on advancing what he calls “holistic health;” or the relationship between human health and environmental health. That will mean dramatically shifting how we think about consumption.

    Growing middle classes in countries like China, Brazil, Russia, and India will result in a swollen population of consumers, and a “very big hunger” for copper, oil, and other finite materials. “We don’t have enough resources on earth for 9.5 billion people with growing wealth. So there will be a new recycling. A reuse of molecules,” Eberl says. “For example there is now more weight in gold in your smartphones than in ore from a gold mine. There’s much we can do about that.”

    Eberl predicts that recycling technology will be improved so that the quality of the product never diminishes even after recycling, which is a major problem for recycling now. (In their book Cradle to Cradle, German chemist Michael Braungart and U.S. architect William McDonough predict a similar future, where products are designed explicitly for their ability to be “upcycled,” or recycled while retaining 100 percent of their original integrity.)

    Solar Power Might Be the World’s Biggest Energy Source

    Converting the sun’s rays into power is becoming cheaper and cheaper. The average cost of solar panels per watt in 1972 was $75, according to research compiled by Mother Jones. Today, it’s just shy of $1, with the price continuing to fall. By 2050, solar power could generate as much as 27 percent of the world’s energy, becoming the world’s largest source of electricity, according to recent research from the International Energy Agency.

    If that happens, the combined emissions savings could offset around 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year, which is roughly equal to all current carbon emissions from the U.S. energy sector combined, IEA reports.

    There Might Not Be Enough Food for Everyone, Unless We Play Our Cards Right

    The more of us there are, the more food and water we’ll need to survive. The worst consequences of climate change will still be in the future, but the rates of flooding and drought will have begun to increase, exacerbating food and water shortages. The swelling population will simultaneously exacerbate climate change, creating a dire feedback loop.

    Last year the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said that in order to feed a population of roughly 9 billion in 2050, the world will need to increase its food production by an average of 60 percent compared to current food production levels. Not doing so would risk serious food shortages, which could prompt major social upheaval, conflict, and civil wars. By comparison, wheat and rice production have grown at a rate of less than 1 percent for the past 20 years.

    By 2050, the FAO predicts the need for food will lead to an additional 70 million hectares being converted to agricultural land, especially in the developing world. But that’s not necessarily a good thing.

    “In theory, we have plenty of land to grow stuff,” says Kostas Stamoulis, the director of the FAO’s Agricultural Development Economics Division. “But the world may move in on land that they shouldn’t move in on.”

    About 75 percent of the land that may be newly farmed is in 35 countries in Africa and Latin America, and mostly in sensitive ecosystems, he says. “We are afraid a lot of this potential growing will go on in areas that are developing through deforestation, and on environmentally sensitive land, like wetlands.”

    “So in terms of global figures, we do have the land. But the world may move in on land that they shouldn’t move in on.”

    Stamoulis says global governments must intervene to give desperate farmers real alternatives to farming on places like wetlands or old-growth forests, and encourage multinational corporations to use sustainable farming methods.

    “Sometimes people expand into sensitive areas out of desperation because they have no other choice. Small farmers should get incentives and be given access to places to grow food in an environmentally sound way. We also need measures to prevent farmers from growing stuff in a way that’s not sustainable–different policies for the different types of producers.”

    But Stamoulis is also hopeful. He says the technology exists to fulfill 80 percent of the increased need for food by 2050 by simply increasing productivity. Methods like “double cropping” and “triple cropping,” or growing more than one crop on rotation in a single field, has already shown impressive returns in parts of India and China. Agriculture scientists also know how to prevent potentially devastating fertilizer overuse, and the methods for increasing productivity on dry land are improving all the time. The problem will be getting the technology and education to make some of these changes into the hands of everyone who needs it.

    “We need to take these technologies down to the small farmers,” he says. “We have to think about actions that have to be taken now for problems that will come 30, 40 years down the road,” Stamoulis says.

    “I’m optimistic that we’re looking at a brighter future than in the past. The world has an ability to respond.”

  • Bud Nye:

    I just posted a response to you in part 1, it didn’t register. So i will do it again.

    I’m through playing language games. There are two realms. There is the realm of unavoidable, coercive material necessity. Humans need to breathe in oxygen, take in nutrition, and drink water, as well as expel waste products, be they fluid, solid (more or less) and gas. They have to deal with the law of gravity, and with the consequences of processes occurring in the planet’s climate, geological and other systems. There are no ifs. One cannot print new oil sources, one cannot pretend that the average temp has not increased, one cannot cancel an earthquake or defer it for a year as if it’s debt, one cannot pretend there is oxygen or water where there are none.

    And there is the realm of choice. How one satisfies the need for food and liquid has a wide variety of possible outcomes. One cannot avoid urinating forever, but where one does so is a choice. And so on. Just because these activities, as well as the entire realm of actions which constitute human society, happen in the existing material world, and are the results of physical, biological and chemical processes occurring within and between people, does not make them part of the realm of unavoidable coercive necessity.

    this exchange started with my comment that mortgage payments and the Mounties are not “facts of nature,” by which i meant very clearly that they are not part of the realm of unavoidable coercive necessity. Neither is the very division of land into parcels of private property, or indeed the very notion of private property. In fact, private ownership of land is an anomaly in human history, with communal ownership of land surviving even in Europe into the late 19th Century.

    Your attempts to use obfuscate language and turns of the phrase to make capitalist social relations either as a fact of nature, a consequence of the laws of nature, or at the very least “an attractor” which humanity almost inevitably had to adopt, with little choice otherwise, will not succeed. End of game.

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    Guy: i think the phrase “it can go the other way” is not a good choice. It makes it seem as if a different outcome is possible. I think what you really mean is “it can go in a different way,” go due to processes already occurring within the physical world rather than be triggered by an economic collapse. Just my 7 cents worth.

  • @ Daniel Says:
    January 4th, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    That’s a pretty interesting video, sir, containing seemingly substantiated info I had not previously heard/read. Admittedly, I have devoted little-to-no attention, at best, to the chemtrail controversy. It would seem there is more to it than I had previously considered. Thank you for the link.

    As an aside, if anyone is interested, when referencing temperatures you can get the “degree-symbol” by holding the [Alt]-key and typing “0176” (sans quotes) on the numeric keypad on the keyboard. Example, 6°C is a global-average temperature increase to avoid. Of course, if you are not at a “real” keyboard this procedure may not work. I’m happy with my “dumb” [cell]phone and have no need for a “tablet.”

  • Hi Guy,
    Listened to your conversations with several interviewers in the last few months and must say that your philosophy with respect to near-term human extinction is attractive. I didn’t quite know which word to use so I suppose attractive comes as close as I can think of considering the dire scenario that ‘Nature Bats Lasts’ presents.

    I don’t believe you however, but having written that I do know that my disbelief is voluntary and not based on arguments that would refute your arguments. My immediate reaction was that you were wrong in your assessment of years left before NTHE and that we still have a few chances to avoid our collision with a terminal diagnosis. Your interview on the subject of ‘The Edge of Extinction” was particularly entertaining, and so was the wit and dynamic personality of the interviewer. Of particular interest was the assumption that we are hard-wired to basically live out the DNA strands with which we are endowed. Such a condition could lead to an acceptance that climate-change deniers for instance are simply hard-wired into belief systems over which no one is likely to have an influence — which by the way would concur with the obvious knowledge that even a few professionals in Earth Sciences would still deny the existence of climate change. I realize that such is hard to believe, aside of course with those who are paid by the fossil fuel industry to deny it, but such seems to be our lot. In actual probability, believers of any comprehensive domain must be wired as such… and so the chances of changing someone’s mind, most especially within religious enclaves for instance, is pretty slim…….

    Anyway, it is my hope that I can make a few comments now and then to make whatever contribution I can to your most interesting website, and philosophies.

  • Jeff S….
    You made a few comments in your response to Bill Nye which are particularly interesting. In particular, the paragraph which refers to mortgages, the RCMP, private property and so on. I think that these topics are absolutely essential components of changes which must be made if we have any chance whatsoever of avoiding an Armageddon event. It would be nice to read what you wrote about these topics…. Since I`m new here I wouldn`t know where to look. Thanks

  • Bud Nye (I brought this forward from the previous thread)

    1. Taking NO action has effects on and in the world just as TAKING action does! EMPTY SPACES count just as much as, indeed, they largely DEFINE particles in nature! A figure cannot exist without a contrasting background, nor can a background exist without a contrasting figure.

    2. Humans DO NOT and CANNOT exist without “intervening in the world”.

    I think the objections you raise are the result of a grave error that Kirkland made in excluding the concept of “wu-wei” from his discussion, in favour of addressing “wei” alone. The key to what he’s trying to get at seems to lie in the concept of wu-wei, an idea that goes to the heart of (and even deeper than) his concept of non-action:

    “A key principle in realizing our oneness with the Tao is that of wu-wei, or “non-doing.” Wu-wei refers to behavior that arises from a sense of oneself as connected to others and to one’s environment. It is not motivated by a sense of separateness. It is action that is spontaneous and effortless. At the same time it is not to be considered inertia, laziness, or mere passivity. Rather, it is the experience of going with the grain or swimming with the current. Our contemporary expression, “going with the flow,” is a direct expression of this fundamental Taoist principle, which in its most basic form refers to behavior occurring in response to the flow of the Tao.

    “The principle of wu-wei contains certain implications. Foremost among these is the need to consciously experience ourselves as part of the unity of life that is the Tao. Lao Tzu writes that we must be quiet and watchful, learning to listen to both our own inner voices and to the voices of our environment in a non-interfering, receptive manner. In this way we also learn to rely on more than just our intellect and logical mind to gather and assess information. We develop and trust our intuition as our direct connection to the Tao. We heed the intelligence of our whole body, not only our brain. And we learn through our own experience. All of this allows us to respond readily to the needs of the environment, which of course includes ourselves. And just as the Tao functions in a manner to promote harmony and balance, our own actions, performed in the spirit of wu-wei, produce the same result.”

    If one can understand the concept, should go a long way towards avoiding the negative reaction you had to the idea of non-action. The colonized Western mind is exceptionally resistant to the idea of non-action, and that resistance is difficult to dispel without an understanding of wu-wei. It goes without saying that most of us have no clue what it means.

    3. The alleged benign nature of Tao exists only as an arbitrary assumption that some people make. It makes just as much (arbitrary) sense to assume that the Tao has a negative, malevolent nature.

    Classical Taoism regards the Tao as beneficent. Fortunately, we are no longer in that historical period, so our interpretation of it can and must change to align with our current circumstances. I see Tao as being a lot like the Second Law of Thermodynamics in many ways, especially in that no human values like good, beneficial, bad or evil can be attached to it. Why would presumed universal forces like these need to be given human qualities? I think we are as justified in ignoring judgmental qualities when they are attached to the Tao as when they are attached to thermodynamics or gravity.

    4. In the near last paragraph he writes: “A person who practices sufficient restraint can achieve a state of tranquility that is qualitatively identical with that of the beneficent natural force called the Tao, a force that achieves its ends without taking action, benefitting all living things without involving itself actively with them, a force as imperceptible and insipid as the live-giving force of the natural substance called water. In ancient China, readers of these texts were taught to have faith in the imperceptible existence and inexhaustible potency of such powers, and to rely upon one’s cultivation of such powers to effect a positive transformation of all living things.” By introducing the problem of the ghost in the machine and suggesting that people can take action, after all, if done in the correct, ghostly way, this makes no sense to me. (How can a NON-physical ghost or other alleged entity or process have any effects in a PHYSICAL universe?)

    Again, we are different people of a different culture in a different era, so it’s hardly surprising that we would quibble with “ancient wisdom”. One question comes up in response to your final parenthetical comment – How can you be sure this is “really” a physical universe? I’m not saying it’s not, just that leaving that possibility open gives one a lot of philosophical maneuvering room. That can be a very good thing if one values exploration more than Truth…

    I have no quibble with your list of “elegant solutions”. I reserve for myself the right of sitting still if I wish. I find more truth in stillness than in bustle. But that’s just my view.

  • Jean Turcot:

    See this article by me which was posted at this site in May ’13,

    Resistance is the Only Ethical Response to Near-Term Extinction


    It is linked to a bunch of other things, including several articles by Jack Straw, “my twin brother,” (:-)), articles posted at my website, The Daily Battle, which has other things by me as well, and by my former website partner Tod Fletcher, now dead.
    In regards to this: “I don’t believe you however, but having written that I do know that my disbelief is voluntary and not based on arguments that would refute your arguments. My immediate reaction was that you were wrong in your assessment of years left before NTHE and that we still have a few chances to avoid our collision with a terminal diagnosis.”
    At this late point, i think that disbelief not based upon actual data and analysis, but on an unwillingness to believe that things can be so dire, is not a good thing to carry around in terms of future survival. If we do have time, it is very short, and the scale of action required is very HUGE, due to both how late it is in the game (the degree to which emissions already on the books or inevitably on their way have already baked in a temp rise which is certain) and how much resistance the managers of the existing system would offer to the fundamental changes necessary for us to even have a chance at survival.
    Regarding hard wiring by DNA. I don’t think Guy is saying that, i certainly do not believe it, DNA is not at all hard wiring anyway, it functions within a lattice of RNA, other portends and a general context conditioned by environmental factors. See The Spurious Foundations of Genetic Engineering by Barry Commoner in the Feb 2002 Harpers, easily found via web search.

  • “A key principle in realizing our oneness with the Tao is that of wu-wei, or “non-doing.” Wu-wei refers to behavior that arises from a sense of oneself as connected to others and to one’s environment. It is not motivated by a sense of separateness. It is action that is spontaneous and effortless. At the same time it is not to be considered inertia, laziness, or mere passivity. Rather, it is the experience of going with the grain or swimming with the current. Our contemporary expression, “going with the flow,” is a direct expression of this fundamental Taoist principle, which in its most basic form refers to behavior occurring in response to the flow of the Tao.”

    “Not doing” is also the cessation of the sense of agency, the “I am doing this”. Instead, there is the sense of “this is getting done by this body-mind complex”. This absence of a sense of agemcy is known as akarta bhava. The absence of a sense of agency comes with a sense of spontaneity and absence of effort. It also comes with a sense of having accomplished all that there was for one to do personally, even though action of the body-mind complex continues. This sense of having done all that one had to do is called krita kartitya.

    The absence of separteness, the absence of “not-I” (and absence of the “I”), is known as kaivalya. The continuing flow of action is referred to as prabapatita karyam, “actions fallen into”.

    The absence of passivity and inertness is referred to in the saying “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water”.

    All these characteristics (and others) pertain to the realised person; how to realise that one always was, is and will be there, is a whole ‘nuther matter.

    “no human values like good, beneficial, bad or evil can be attached to it”

    Actually no descriptors of any kind, including this one, can be attached to it. Yet it is referred to as the Void (Sunyata) and the Boundless Void (Ain Sof).

    “a force that achieves its ends without taking action”

    All of spacetime and all the contents thereof are implicit in it, as is the ground and substrate of all being and nonbeing, existence and nonexistence. It has no separation of pasts, presents and futures, and no ends and no means, yet includes all of them, and even linear time and dispersed space in which they appear separated.

    “As an aside, if anyone is interested, when referencing temperatures you can get the “degree-symbol” by holding the [Alt]-key and typing “0176” (sans quotes) on the numeric keypad on the keyboard.”

    Almost all ASCII symbols can be printed by holding down the alt key and typing in the numeric code for that symbol on the numeric keypad with Windows. It didn’t work it the Lindx distros that I tried – might work now. Don’t know about Mac or Android. IOS offers many alternate symbols on the native virtual Apple keyboards if the keys are held down. The range can be extended by using non-Apple keyboard apps such as Enjoli.

  • @Paul

    ‘The Tao that can be tao-ed is not the real Tao’.

    Ideas and concepts such as ‘non-doing’ and ‘non-action’ are approximate descriptions of the reality that is your actual nature ( ‘Tao’). Ultimately all descriptions fail- the act of description arises and falls WITHIN the reality that is YOU. When one goes into the matter experientially/empirically it becomes self-evident what all the descriptions are trying to get at and at the same time none are particularly useful in themselves – although the taoist utterances come closer in a lot of regards. My own experience is that there is no central controller that ‘acts’ to be found anywhere- but I say of what use is any attempt to understand that? – understanding comes AFTER. The truth is that nothing can be said about reality.

    The only real use I found in any of these teachings was as pointers in WHERE to look directly for myself. It’s no big deal really.
    My suggestion – to anyone that feels themselves to be dissatisfied with life or feels that life doesn’t live up to it’s promise:

    Try and get the direct experience (too strong a word) – ‘taste’ is better- of the FACT that you ‘are’ -that you are ‘here’ – just for a second- just touch off it out of the corner of your eye almost. Do this repeatedly whenever it occurs to do so and I tell you from my heart that over time all misery, suffering, fearfulness and dissatisfaction will vanish from your life and life will reveal itself to be sweet – exactly as it is.

  • Jeff S.
    Thanks for your response. I will indeed read your May 13th article. Disbelief is not a negative position. It simply offers a different perspective on the state of global warming, one that is not based on any scientific analysis, but rather on the hope, as you hope, that the final song of humankind has not yet been sung. I do agree however, like you, that time may be short to sort out what ails us, and that we had better do it big time. The existing system, as you have indicated, will not step aside very easily, and for very good reasons which would take too long to address in this short exchange.

    As far as our DNA or RNA hard-wiring, I don’t think that we have much of a choice in the paths we take in life. People are pretty much born with dedicated penchants from which it is very difficult to stray. There are animals for instance that will rule the roosts, and others that will not. I think our genes pretty much determine whether or not we will strongly believe in religions, in how we behave in society, and whether or not we prefer blondes, brunettes, or even the same sex. We have little choice in our DNA — RNA ( I really don’t know the difference)structures but we do have somewhat of a choice on how we handle our particular traits. Alpha wolves and political or economic tsars are born more than they are made.

    Which comes back to climate change, the reason why Nature Bats Lasts exists. Although I too fear that methane gas release may spell doom for us all, exacerbated by Global Dimming which would imply ‘We’re doomed if we do and we’re doomed if we don’t’, I also thought that our existence as humans would end under mushroom clouds. So far, 50 years after I first expressed my fears about nuclear wars, I was obviously wrong — for now anyway. I think Guy may be ahead of the curve when it comes to expressing his sincere belief that its too late, but as humans who can easily err in our estimates, I would prefer to think that we still have a chance.

  • Jeff S.
    Just read your rendition of the human condition. It was interesting and informative. Your life has mirrored mine to some extent but in different parts of the world. I do concur with the theory of the Hundredth Monkey in which the players, if exposed to a good idea, slowly adapt it in their lives and eventually change into a new paradigm of existence through a simple idea. In other words, a good idea will inevitably rise to the surface, and all we need is that good idea. From my perspectives, some people have touched on such an idea but have yet to exploit it. In his theories on the Evolution of Species, Darwin presented us with a blueprint of the animal world, and if we can study that blueprint in more detail I believe the answers to a long life for the human species are there for the taking — depending of course on the possibility that all is not yet lost. Just thoughts.

  • @ Jean

    I’ve given you the ‘good idea’ 🙂

  • Jean: wondering by the way in what part of the world you are.

    I have to strongly disagree with this, on your part:
    “As far as our DNA or RNA hard-wiring, I don’t think that we have much of a choice in the paths we take in life. People are pretty much born with dedicated penchants from which it is very difficult to stray. There are animals for instance that will rule the roosts, and others that will not. I think our genes pretty much determine whether or not we will strongly believe in religions, in how we behave in society, and whether or not we prefer blondes, brunettes, or even the same sex. We have little choice in our DNA — RNA ( I really don’t know the difference)structures but we do have somewhat of a choice on how we handle our particular traits. Alpha wolves and political or economic tsars are born more than they are made.”

    And you yourself provide a counterargument in your very next post, with the notion that if people are exposed enough to a good idea, they will adopt it. As i said, DNA and RNA are not determinative, and this has been demonstrated scientifically in the article by Barry Commoner which i mentioned in my last post. My own life experience is an excellent counterexample, growing up as i did being a hard core right winger and social conservative till my early 20s, in spite of growing up during the “Sixties,” i.e. in complete opposition to “my generation,” or at least the way it was presented. And then i underwent a fundamental shift in my views and values. How could DNA determination possibly explain that?

    I do agree with you to some extent regarding whether we prefer blondes or brunettes, or same sex. That’s largely determined before we are born. however i don’t think it’s a matter of genes, but rather of events inside the uterine during pregnancies, the various hormonal flows which create our various organs, including the hypothalamus part of the brain, where it is believed by many researchers that our sense of what constitutes being physically attractive is centered, and hence also such matters as same sex or opposite sex attraction. See the work of Simon LeVey, easy to find via web search. Per my own experience, i realized while growing up that i found many black women (though of course not all) to be quite attractive, n spite of what i was told by my parents and to a big extent by the dominant culture at the time i was a teen (early/mid ’60s). Totally not an exclusive thing, i’ve seen women of every ethnicity whom i found attractive, and not. Simply that skin color in itself is not a factor for me on that count.

    But political attitudes determined by genes, or determined before birth? I really don’t think so. That’s a matter of what information we get or for that matter don’t get as we go on living. Again, see the big change i went through.

    The notion that a good idea inevitably rise to the surface takes no account of the fact that the dissemination of ideas, good or bad, is an increasingly centralized process, controlled by forces whose very interest increasingly means the suppression of good ideas, because these might threaten their rule. I have seen good ideas increasingly suppressed and replaced by bad ideas, indeed often by versions of what used to be the good ideas which are totally twisted, perverted, and changed in such a basic way that they are unrecognizable, as with the notion of socialism, Marx’s analysis of capitalism, democracy,…..

  • I just saw the movies Rampage and Rampage: Capital Punishment and I thought of this forum again. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s atypical of an Uwe Boll movie. Paul, you may appreciate it (the second one particularly) since it fits with some of your comments about violence.

    The purpose of DNA when you talk about genes is to be transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA), and the purpose of mRNA is to be translated into proteins. That’s it. DNA and RNA representing genes don’t have any other function generally speaking. It’s the proteins that fold into complex shapes and go off to do different functions. These proteins interact with other proteins, DNA, RNA, and small molecules to complex assemblies of systems that then replicate in compartments called cells. We observe this and we call it life (and it’s obvious when you’re looking at viruses or bacteria how it happens). And of course, in so-callled “higher” organisms, these cells form tissues, and the hierarchy extends into organs, organisms, populations, etc.
    Evolution (mutation and selection) operates on all these levels.

    The feedbacks in biological systems are similar to the feedbacks observed in the Earth systems, including the climate systems. A gene made up of DNA is transcribed into mRNA which is translated into a protein which then transcribes the DNA to make RNA – this is the primordial feedback that I think constitutes life (as it has evolved on this planet). A single protein by itself is a complex system of interacting atoms (i.e., it is the simplest example of a complex systems) and follows what I’d say are “the laws of chaos.”

    The above operations are always happening, even as I type this—zillions of proteins are interacting to enable me to do this. But genetics could mean hereditary (as in traits inherited from your parents) or just the normal day to day operation of cells (also controlled by genetics, but not necessarily the genes that get passed on when you reproduce). This is generally referred to as epigenetics but that also has a specific meaning. Because geneticists don’t clarify what they mean when they say “genetics” (whether something is hereditary or epigenetic), there is a lot of confusion.

    As a geneticist, I don’t believe in genetic determinism much: the more complex the system of interacting biological objects we’re talking about, the less likely that genetic predisposition will play a role and the more likely that it is the environment that dictates behaviour. This is due to the chaotic nature of these trajectories (sensitive to initial conditions). Just recently there was a study published showing that most cancers don’t have a genetic basis and this is for a disease that sometimes does have a strong genetic component (see: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/02/health/cancer-random-mutation/index.html). And in general, the search for genes for complex behaviour has never produced simple answers and have resulted in numerous falsifications. Since science is always changing, this view too could change, but I’ve yet to see causal evidence proving otherwise.

    Chaos/complexity is what it’s about, once you get beyond the physics. The trajectory we’re on is most likely an unfortunate occurrence of a chaotic system gone awry and heading towards collapse or stagnation. It’s pure chance. Yes, there are points we can now identify with hindsight and say the trajectory could’ve gone another way, but that’s after the fact. It’s hard to predict the behaviour of these systems, let alone determine them. Yet a butterfly flapping its wings could end up causing ecological collapse—these are robust yet fragile systems. Humans are trying to impose their will upon these systems that have evolved over billions of years. We can either go with the flow or against it, and I think we’re here because we’re facing the consequences of going against the flow.

  • Discerning ‘blissful ignorance’ in our time

    Perhaps it is possible for us to discern what blissful ignorance looks like on our watch. As long as experts willfully ignore the “system causation factor” of the human population explosion, as is occurring in our time, then the increasing food supply which is literally fueling the human population explosion will go on and on until there no way to grow more food for human consumption. We will continue to see the promulgation of politically convenient thought, economically expedient, culturally prescribed happy talk about the soon to appear demographic transition, the automatic stabilization of human population numbers and the end of human population by the middle of Century XXI. Science regarding ‘why the human population is exploding’ will continue to be denied and endless preternatural, ideologically-driven chatter about ‘what is happening’ will pass for a complete sharing of scientific knowledge. ‘What is happening’ will be broadcast ubiquitously. ‘Why it is happening’ will be treated as the last taboo, about which no one speaks. Just for a moment, let us imagine that now we have all the greatest population experts speaking with one voice. They tell us that we are headed rapidly for 8 billion people on the surface of Earth, declining TFRs in many European countries and elsewhere notwithstanding. When that number is reached in the foreseeable future, we will have too much food, too little water and clean air, and no decent environment to speak of. Pollution will be visible to all, everywhere. In the meantime many species of birds and wildlife will go extinct because of the destruction of their habitat from land clearance to grow more food to support an exploding human population. What is happening is made evident. Why this situation is occurring with a vengeance now here is ignore, avoided and denied assiduously. Silence prevails over science. All this is good, they say, because things are getting better.

    All these top rank population experts, inside and outside the scientific community, then go on to say that in order to have more and more happy, healthy people we need more and more people who can be counted upon to increase the depletion and degradation that will rapidly subtract from the source of that happiness and well being, our planetary home, until such time as Earth is no longer able to function as a source of happiness and well being. More importantly, because the self-proclaimed experts are supposedly ‘free to know and to speak’ but talk only of what is deteumined by the powers that be to be best for the rest of us to know, some scientific research can be and will be denied. While these experts do not lie, they deliberately refuse to give voice to the whole of what is true to them, according to the lights and scientific knowledge they possess. By their conscious silence, these experts will ensure that the unsustainable growth of the human species, the reckless depletion of resources and the irreversible degradation of ecology of the planet happens as soon and efficiently as possible. All this is good, they say, because we are making things better and better for all those generations in future space-time who follow the greatest generation.

    “Speak out as if you were a million voices. It is silence that kills the world.” — St. Catherine of Siena, 1347-1380

  • @ Diarmuid Galvin

    “If you can talk about it,
    it ain’t Tao.
    If it has a name,
    it’s just another thing.”

    Your description rings true to me. I also prefer the term “flavour” when talking about the apprehension of thoughts, feelings or simple being. Others with different tastebuds may demur…

  • Somewhat off topic…

    January 05, 2015

    Sacrificed to Wall Street’s Gluttony
    The Coming War on Pensions
    by MICHAEL HUDSON

    When money has no value we’ll all be rich.

  • okay nerds, sharpen your crayons, new research has found that carbon based life evolved in warm conditions as a more efficient heat dissipation mechanism. The 99th monkey always drops the ball because there are still 98 bottles of beer on the wall.
    http://www.salon.com/2015/01/03/god_is_on_the_ropes_the_brilliant_new_science_that_has_creationists_and_the_christian_right_terrified/

  • WARNING: Self-delusion runs deep.

    The “truth shall make you free” ONLY from the LIE.

    Reality (still and always) bats last.

    If Reality (the Truth) is something unpleasant and undesirable, that will not change.

    ACCEPTANCE, like DENIAL, does not change Reality, it only changes how we see the Universe and our relationship to it.

    If it is the case that the Universe is such that the innocent suffer unjustly, we’ll still be living in an evil and unjust Universe, regardless of how much we accept (or deny) that fact.

    Our only option is to act according to our awareness of Reality, to the extent that we have the opportunity.

    “And in the end,” it truly might just be the case, that “the love (the justice) you get is (only) equal to the love (justice) you make.”

    You are what you do. What you do is your life.
    A just life is it own reward.
    Evil (injustice, causing suffering) is its own punishment, because by doing evil, you make your own life and yourself evil.
    No “god” necessary. No “god” there to let you off the hook.

  • Please PLEASE HELP.

    How do I interpret this graph showing NO change in mean global temps over the past five years.
    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/global-land-ocean-mntp-anom/201301-201312.png
    Thanks.

  • But the universe is not evil and unjust. It simply does not care about how you feel about anything. There is no tragedy if the lake water is cold. There is no underlying sinister plot if the river runs deep and fast. Events beyond your control are events beyond your control. Evil has nothing to do with it.

    If however, you bring in human greed and the lake water is not only cold but filled with mercury from the the silver mine and the river is choked with the pollution, invasive species, and no longer reaches the sea because so many demands are made upon it, one can start tossing around “evil” and “unjust” and especially “short-sighted” and “foolish.” The universe still doesn’t care. The extinction of the human race will not alter a single sunset, nor stop a single summer rain.

  • @ Tom:
    a) No.
    b) No.
    c) Being at ground zero is like falling asleep or going under anesthesia except you don’t wake up to remember it.

    @ infanttryrone: Haha fear and loathing oh yeah. And thanks! ☺
    ==

    Guy McPherson says: “methane”
    ==

    Suddenly: Last Bummer

    The time remaining is brief
    Before abrupt end of our grief;
    When the methane goes “boom,”
    We escape from the doom,
    And we finally get some relief.

  • Grant Schreiber, the Universe is as it does, as it creates, as what it contains. The Universe contains unjust suffering, causes and allows the innocent (which the Universe creates and contains) to suffer unjustly.

    The definition of “evil” that I use is ‘that which causes suffering unjustly’. Therefore, the Universe is evil (because it causes and allows the innocent to suffer unjustly).

    Not caring about the unjust suffering of the innocent does not absolve the Universe from creating unjust suffering.

    What is your point?

    Are saying that as long one does not care when one harms and violates innocent victims, that the one does nothing wrong or that no harm (evil) is done?

    Are you denying the existence of living entities that feel physical, emotional and psychological pain?

    “The God A-hole: By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know them. (I DON’T LOVE shIT)”
    by treenoise © 2014

  • kevin moore Says:
    January 4th, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    No mention of abrupt climate change here. In fact no mention of any climate change. It’s all a bed of rose petals in the ‘brighter future’ to come:”

    Reminds me of a speech given the day before the Stock Market Crash of the ‘Great’ Depression era:

    ON THE night of October 22, 1929, one of America’s most widely known economists addressed a great banquet of credit men. Not only were Wall Street prices not too high, he told his delighted hearers, but we were really only on the threshold of the greatest boom in the nation’s history. The prophecy evoked a burst of applause. Next morning, a few minutes after the great bell announced the opening of trading on the Stock Exchange, the storm broke. The greatest economic depression in our history was formally ushered in — though it had been in progress for some time. From this point on, as the country slowly roused itself to a consciousness of the far-spreading crisis, leaders in politics and business repeated with invincible optimism that it was all just a wholesome corrective. After several years a waggish commentator published a little volume called Oh, Yeah! It was a sardonic recording of the persistent and unconquerable stream of promises of quickly returning health. There you will find recorded the statements of statesmen, financiers, university professors, leading economists, and editors assuring the people that it was all a blessing in disguise, a corrective phenomenon, that the broad highway to renewed prosperity lay just ahead. All of which proved quite conclusively that these men did not know what they were talking about because they had no understanding of the economic system under which they lived. Then came the collapse of 1933 on the grand scale — and a resumption of the bright prophecies of happy days. ” (Myth Addiction Is Establishment’s LSD – 3, quoting “As We Go Marching”).

  • Jean Turcot Says:
    January 4th, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    As far as our DNA or RNA hard-wiring, I don’t think that we have much of a choice in the paths we take in life. People are pretty much born with dedicated penchants from which it is very difficult to stray.”

    That is now known to be as false as Eugenics (The “It’s In Your Genes” Myth).

    By far the most prevalent genes in, on, and around us are microbial and viral (On The New Meaning of “Human” – 2).

    What is “hard wired” are various cultural trances imposed upon us by our particular culture (Choose Your Trances Carefully).

    Those things you mentioned “from which it is very difficult to stray” are not birthmarks, but rather they are the marks of culture.

  • Jeremy,
    You asked how to interpret a graph which shows no global temperature rises in the last 5 years.. Then The above announcement from Guy re: the Japanese Meteorological Agency would differ from that graph..?? Moreover, much of the oceans are apparently getting warmer, and have thus absorbed much of the increasing heat.. As far as I know, that statement has been made many times in the last few months??

  • treenoise; “WARNING: Self-delusion runs deep.”

    and …

    “Self-deception makes monkeys out of all of us.”

    Richard Feynman warned; “BE CAREFUL NOT TO FOOL YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU ARE THE EASIEST ONE TO FOOL.”

  • Jeff & Ram, Thanks for explaining the difference between DNA and RNA. But to understand the difference one has to understand the mechanical processes involved in other phenomena, and so my ignorance is still more in limbo than not. But thanks anyway. I do however greatly differ with respect to the influence our inevitable inherited genes have on all of us and which, even though I know little about genetics, have a direct impact on our behavior during life. While we can control and channel our energies somewhat, my feelings, not knowledge, are that our hard-wiring pretty much determines the flow of our thoughts. The ‘pretty much’ is my point. If an idea comes along that can be good for the tribe, as in the theory of the Hundredth Monkey, then most if not all the tribe will follow suit. The automobile is an example of a good idea, and so we all drive one no matter what our genetics happens to be, environmental concerns notwithstanding.
    Thanks by the way for letting me in on these exchanges. There seems to be an uncommon civility in these parts.

  • Grant Schreiber,

    are you focusing on the illustrative example in my original posting in order to avoid the central point of my posting?

    My original posting
    with added {} and corrected typo:
    – – – – – – – –

    WARNING: Self-delusion runs deep.

    The “truth shall make you free” ONLY from the LIE.

    Reality (still and always) bats last.

    If Reality (the Truth) is something unpleasant and undesirable, that will not change.

    ACCEPTANCE, like DENIAL, does not change Reality, it only changes how we see the Universe and our relationship to it.

    {EXAMPLE – If it is the case that the Universe is such that the innocent suffer unjustly, we’ll still be living in an evil and unjust Universe, regardless of how much we accept (or deny) that fact.}

    Our only option is to act according to our awareness of Reality, to the extent that we have the opportunity.

    “And in the end,” it truly might just be the case, that “the love (the justice) you get is (only) equal to the love (justice) you make.”

    You are what you do. What you do is your life.
    A just life is its own reward.
    Evil (injustice, causing suffering) is its own punishment, because by doing evil, you make your own life and yourself evil.
    No “god” necessary. No “god” there to let you off the hook.

    – – – – – – – – –
    “The God A-hole: By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know them. (I DON’T LOVE shIT)”
    by treenoise © 2014

  • Ben: A+ for your answers and ditto for your latest limerick, especially the title that i laughed at (looking forward to volume 2).

    i was struck by a car (that i didn’t see when i blew through a stop sign on a bicycle) when i was 7 and didn’t feel a thing, until i woke up in hospital with a concussion, broken ribs, cuts and bruises aplenty. Awareness / consciousness seems to be a brain function, so no brain, no consciousness.

    http://dutchsinse.com/

    1/01/2015 — PROGRESSION OF EARTHQUAKES ACROSS THE NORTH PACIFIC IN 24 HOURS TIME — 3,800 MILES OF RELATED EVENTS

    “You may (or may not) have noticed the line of earthquakes spaced evenly from South Japan to West Alaska. All happening in the 4.0M+ range within 24 hours time. Clearly earthquakes are progressing across a vast area over a short amount of time.”

    [from seemorerocks Sat.]

    The collapsing world economy

    Ore Ships Seen Taken Out of Service If Earnings Drop Further

    [quotes]

    A deeper slump in earnings for ships that carry most of the world’s coal and ore cargoes would force owners to take vessels out of service, according to shipbroker RS Platou Markets AS.

    “At the moment, they’re barely covering their operating costs,” Hildan said by phone today from Oslo. “It doesn’t make sense for owners to participate in fixing vessels” if rates fall further.

    Signs of slowing growth in China, the world’s largest importer of thermal coal and iron ore, have caused a collapse in Capesize rates of about 90 percent this year. China’s economy will expand by 7 percent next year, the slowest growth in a quarter century, according to economist forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. Customs data showed a slump in ore imports in November.

    “It looks like the market is going to continue being a big disappointment” in 2015, Hildan said.

  • The best any of us can do in the face of whatever is coming upon us, whenever it arrives, is try to live a life of integrity – whatever that means to us individually.

    If we’re out of integrity within ourselves, there is an inevitable sense of moral and cognitive dissonance that will inevitably lead to suffering – mental, emotional, spiritual illness of one sort or another – even if we’re talking a big game.

    That’s true about individuals, and true about societies. If you ever happen to read the Tao Te Ching, that’s what it’s all about.

    Of course, for a few that’s not a problem at all. They are the conscienceless ones – the psychopaths – the Hannibal Lechters’ who will have you for dinner, literally. These types are sprinkled liberally throughout the organized corridors of societies – always have been, and always will be.

    Maybe they’re the lucky ones.

  • Paul Chefurka,

    Thanks for your thought-full comments. You wrote “How can you be sure this is ‘really’ a physical universe?” Of course I cannot. The one physical universe idea just makes best sense to me based on my experience to date, including some understanding of how strongly we reason emotionally, interpreting our experiences based on demands and shoulds regarding how we want the universe to work. (More about this in my response to Jeff S. below.)

    Jeff S.,

    You do NOT find me trying to “…use obfuscate language and turns of the phrase to make capitalist social relations either as a fact of nature, a consequence of the laws of nature, or at the very least ‘an attractor’ which humanity almost inevitably had to adopt, with little choice otherwise….” I simply wish to understand your views. I just keep trying to make consistent sense out of what you have written.

    I THINK you may have answered my question. You wrote “There are two realms. There is the realm of unavoidable, coercive material necessity. …And there is the realm of choice.” Given all that you have written regarding this, if I have understood you correctly you actually conceive of THREE realms: (1) A physical realm consisting of the natural, physical processes of physics, chemistry, biology, and so on (which operates according to its natural, physical “laws”), (2) a mentalistic, metaphysical, spiritual realm (which operates according to its unnatural, metaphysical “laws”), and (3) a realm of choice, volition, ethics, social organization, capitalist economics, and so on, which falls into NEITHER the physical NOR the metaphysical realm, but rather exist in a separate realm of their own (which operates according to its own, completely different “laws”, neither natural nor metaphysical—perhaps “non-metaphysical/non-natural” laws?).

    You certainly have a right to your beliefs and opinions. I just disagree with you. I think that everything—ALL matter and energy, all actions of all “living” and “non-living” things, EVERYTHING that they do (including thinking, feeling, symbolizing, moralizing, choosing, and so on)—exist in one physical realm that we know as the physical universe, and everything in that universe follows one, consistent, at least potentially knowable, understandable, and consistent set of “laws” of nature by which that universe functions. As I mentioned to Paul Chefurka above, I cannot “…be sure this is ‘really’ a physical universe.” I put my “faith” in the idea of that one, physical, natural universe and in the most reliable ways we have constructed, to date, for learning about it: the processes commonly known as “natural science”. I have no problem at all with agreeing to disagree with you about these things, and I do not mean anything I have written to suggest that I presumably have things “right” here while you have it “wrong”. I simply disagree with you and place my faith (yes, I think it ultimately boils down to faith) in different processes than you do. The idea of one, physical universe that follows consistent natural laws just makes more sense to me than does invoking “different realms”, whether two, three, ten, or twenty, that each follows its own mysterious and unknowable laws. Invoking “different realms”, like saying “God works in mysterious ways”, seems way too convenient to me for “explaining” what happens, and why when I find logical inconsistencies in my thinking about evidence or in thinking about my thinking.

  • Emergency Alert ! NEW URGENT UPDATE FORECAST 2015—PINCHE EL-NINO—HEAR NOW Will be Extremely windy, Record breaking Heat, Polar freezing cold, Extended severe drought, Devastating floods, Giant tornadoes, Wicked lighting storms, Super Typhoons & Hurricanes, Crazy wildfires, Blinding dust storms, Biblical hail, Something Bad is Coming. We will all be refuges, no food,war. And occasional normal weather. A Disclaimer Please don’t Yell fire in a Climate Crisis SCREAM ! This is only a test and will be on the scary science fiction test at the end of the world I mean year. Oh Ya P.S. gas prices at all time low so everything A O K Don’t panic,do nothing,methane increasing expo,Love Out

  • “As long as experts willfully ignore the “system causation factor” of the human population explosion, as is occurring in our time, then the increasing food supply which is literally fueling the human population explosion will go on and on until there no way to grow more food for human consumption.”

    The agenda thus expresseed is to let the people at the bottom of the pecking order die of starvation starting now, thus culling the human herd, rather than to allow a further population increase to trash more of the planet.

    It is to be remembered that as long as there is a hierarchy, a society (rather than an anarchy, a community), there will be inequitable distribution of resources, including food. A trend towards population growth checked by constraint on food supply will result in population control through starvation of the Untermenschen at the periphery of the hierarchy.

    If imposing such controls now could stop runaway climate change, and even reverse the anthropogenic effects to date, then let’s proceed with it, the wilful murder through starvation is (?) justified under those circumstances.

    Now, however, the Human Population Express train is past the edge of the cliff, with exeunt Homo sapiens. It matters little whether starvation is imposed in a Hitleresque manner by its human proponents or, by eliminating habitat for humans, Nature Bats Last.

    “Awareness / consciousness seems to be a brain function, so no brain, no consciousness.”

    Just as colours in a flower are a function of its petals. No petals, no colours. The ubiquitous sunlight can be taken for granted and even overlooked. Hidden in plain sight.

    “Brain functions” is a concept, an object. The concepts “awareness”, “consciousness”, are also objects. One’s immediate awareness of those concepts at the moment of reading this is the subject, and not an object or concept; the memory of that awareness an instant later is another concept, another object.

  • Landbeyond just posted this comment at Fractal Planet: “That’s all true, but not directly related to GM’s concern for species per se, with scant regard for the members of our species that he wants, effectively, to perish en masse.”

    Guy, did you realize that YOU WANT humans to perish en masse? Perhaps not, so we have Landbeyond clarifying that for you and for everyone else. In reflecting on my feelings concerning this, I notice some anger, but mainly I feel disgust: a fairly strong sense of needing to vomit. I witness people writing things like this with “fascination” and I find my fascination rooted in disgust. I find myself wondering how people who misrepresent others like this can live with themselves. Meanwhile, Landbeyond may well sincerely believe that in writing things like this he does “good” in the world. Amazing. Meanwhile, also, experience with Fractal Planet shows that the probability of Scott Johnson providing corrective feedback regarding this kind of claim by Landbeyond and others lies very close to zero, so he provides a platform for and passively supports this kind of ignorance, blatant misrepresentation, and, often, outright lying—on a blog advertised as based, presumably, only on science. Hmmm. I guess I missed something. When did science begin incorporating viciously and blatantly misrepresenting other’s arguments?

  • Self-delusion does indeed run deep.

    Pontificate at will about the Evil of Others, their headline grabbing antics of brutality, injustice, criminal stupidity, loathsome lifestyles and banality and never ever question the slave-labor, rare earth minerals used to create the computer from which you can cast your thunderbolts of Truth and Justice.

    Be part of the Empire, yet such a minor part that you can enjoy the fruits and luxuries the suffering of others have provide while condemning the most obnoxious, obvious, overbearing overlords of greed and lust.

    Oh my! How Smart and Clever we are to recognize the peaceful beauty of a people with no written record who were wiped out of existence centuries before our birth. Look We Know how to Use Capital Letters to Underscore the Importance of Our Wisdom. Often this is backed with Very Learned Men who are left lending and against capitalism and because we have their books on our bookshelves, we too by default are Smart as well.

    No trace of evil in us. In the belly of the Empire. Enjoying the crumbs that fall our way. Loving the nature preserve and confusing a preserve with a wilderness, enjoying the bubbling brook but smirking knowingly about the foul river it runs into.

    Aren’t we special? We have this website where we can denounce the folly of mankind and as a result absolve ourselves from mankind’s sins.

    The warning bells of methane release, global catastrophe, human extinction are all background music to Our Deep, Lofty Thoughts on what Good and Evil and Meaning really means.

    We are so smart in our assessment of the situation, there is every likelihood that when pitched into a open grave we will land face up. Oh what a glorious triumph we will have at last!

  • Diarmuid Galvin,

    You wrote: “I’ve given you the good idea”:…. i.e., any idea that can transcend the innate human condition would be most welcomed. By all means, I’m all ears… Please repeat the idea and perhaps elaborate a little. You may indeed have such an idea, and if so I for one want to hear it.

  • @Paul

    Yes- we have become so entranced with the descriptions of reality- beautiful as they are- they don’t satiate – there is no real sustenance in them. It’s like mistaking the menu for the food.
    When the effort is made to taste directly for yourself the actual fact of your being- the feel of your simple presence here-(and have the recognition that it’s YOU -that’s the key IMO) then reality speaks for itself. None of this is a big deal- and it’s far easier to actually try and accomplish the act itself than it is to say anything meaningful about it. In fact when you look at reality/you directly- nothing whatsoever can be said- only after the fact as an insight that arises as a state of mind. These come and go and are context dependent- while YOU remain. Over time the whole sense that this life can give you anything or take anything from you falls away and what remains is life exactly as it has always been and exactly as you have always seen it- minus the misery, fear, dissatisfaction etc

  • Robin,
    The facts regarding our human population are not dire enough to cull any of us, rich or poor. There aren’t too many of us, but there are too many of us who are obligated to try and survive in the jungles that we have created. If we remove the human-made obstacles to good health and peaceful coexistence, we don’t need to cull anybody. There are sufficient human resources at our disposal to accommodate each and every one of us.

  • Dredd,
    You wrote that you are not in agreement that the suggestion that our genes pretty much determine our place in nature. Or, as you have quoted: the myth of “It’s in your genes”. I disagree. Wayne Gretskys and Einsteins are born, not bred. While the intricacies of our personalities may as you infer be associated with our cultural baggage, using that baggage is still a matter of one’s innate uniqueness.

    “What is “hard wired” are various cultural trances imposed upon us by our particular culture.” Not so! I would prefer to believe that we are predisposed to adopt or reject cultural idioms according to our genetic codes.

    “Those things you mentioned “from which it is very difficult to stray” are not birthmarks, but rather they are the marks of culture.” On this I totally disagree. I think the exact opposite. Genes are indeed birthmarks. We can choose to use these ‘birthmarks’ to our advantage, or make no choices whatsoever and go along with our natural instincts.

  • @ Jean

    Hi- sorry- I only read your comment after posting my last one. Have a look at the 2 comments I posted today and if you need more clarification I will write something again tomorrow. I’m glad to be of help.

  • Bud Nye, thanks for forwarding Landbeyond’s comment. Regardless how many times I say I don’t want our species to go extinct, people such as Landbeyond will say the opposite. This is where fear and delusion wind up. And Landbeyond has plenty of company in those camps with the gang at Fractal Planet.

  • Bud Nye: The only realms i distinguished between are the realms of coercive, invariant necessity and the realm in which there is a choice. You appear to be saying that there is only one realm which follows the same natural laws. If so, which law gets people to satisfy the coercive, invariant need to urinate by going to a bathroom or at least some bushes? Which law COMPELS this behavior? Which law compels most me to not tape yet gets others to rape? Which law compelled humanity for be dragged kicking and screaming into capitalist social relations? Which invariant natural law dictates (no appeals allowed) that land be divided into private parcels, purchasable by money, from which then follow mortgage payments? Are these laws equivalent in ubiquitous invariant essence to the law of gravity? Or the laws governing the chemical and biological processes occurring inside our bodies? REALLY??

    That is certainly what i see in this statement by you that “everything in that universe follows one, consistent, at least potentially knowable, understandable, and consistent set of “laws” of nature by which that universe functions.”

  • @Diarmuid

    “Over time the whole sense that this life can give you anything or take anything from you falls away and what remains is life exactly as it has always been and exactly as you have always seen it- minus the misery, fear, dissatisfaction etc”

    Advaita points directly to this sense. I remember looking around at wherever I was and saying, “Wait – this is it, and I was here all along?” It took quite a while to stop laughing. Chop wood, carry water and all that.

    But it leads me to say socially unfortunate things like, “We’re going extinct in a couple of decades. That’s going to really fascinating!”

  • We’ve known for a long tine that most Americans -well all of those caught up in American mainstream culture- are incapable of dealing with anything real or natural, and use euphemisms to avoid mentioning anything real or natural.

    When I was teaching English to Chinese and Korean student and a student asked to be excused to go to the bathroom I always said: “No. Sorry there is no bathroom in this building. However, there is a toilet. Would you like to go to the toilet?”

    I see that WTI is now trading at below $50, which suggests that most of the American fracking sector is now down the toilet, or as Americans might say, down the bath, toilets being unmentionable, along with falling house prices and falling stock prices.

    Of course, it does not end there: a whole host of countries -Venezuela, Nigeria, Angola, Iran, Mexico to name a few- must be shitting themselves over Brent oil trading at below $53, and will also be in great need of toilet paper -which I understand is in very short supply in Venezuela because ‘the government’s go no money’.

    It sure looks like we are on the slippery slope that takes us back towards normality and the slippery slope is getting slipperier by the day.

    (I never know whether ‘towards’ or ‘toward’ is better but my dictionary tells me toward is a variant of towards, so I suppose the s form.)

    By the way, it’s rather warm and very sunny here, and the ground has been getting rather dry. Not like across the ditch, of course but people are being encouraged not to use the D word. After all, with diary prices well down, the last thing anyone wants to think about is a fall in production due to D.

  • On the matter of plunging oil prices, some truth, some half-truth, many omissions, and a few lies from the Guardian:

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/05/asda-cuts-petrol-price-diesel

    Oil price dips below $53 as fears of global economic slowdown intensify

    Stock markets believe slide from peak of $115 a barrel last summer reflects slowdown in China, recession in Japan and looming eurozone deflation

    The drop in the oil price gave an immediate boost to UK motorists as the supermarkets stepped up their fuel price war.
    The drop in the oil price gave an immediate boost to UK motorists as the supermarkets stepped up their fuel price war. Photograph: Graham Turner/Guardian

    Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent

    Monday 5 January 2015 19.05 GMT

    Shares fell heavily on stock markets on Monday as a fresh plunge in the cost of crude to $53 a barrel intensified fears of a slowdown in the global economy.

    The price of a barrel of Brent North Sea oil fell by about 6% to its lowest level in five and a half years amid evidence that Russia and Iraq are continuing to increase production despite signs that demand for energy has softened in recent months.

    Economists believe cheaper crude will lead to stronger global growth, and there was an immediate boost to consumer spending in the UK when the supermarkets intensified their fuel price war. But there was a negative reaction on stock markets, with London’s FTSE 100 index, which contains a number of big energy companies such as Shell and BP, closing down 130.64 points at 6417.16. Wall Street’s Dow Jones industrial average fell 331 points to close at 17,501.

    Lower oil prices will lead to higher disposable incomes and cut business costs, but stock markets believe the slide in oil prices from a peak of $115 a barrel last summer reflects the slowdown in China, recession in Japan and looming deflation in the eurozone.

    As Brent crude lost more than $3 a barrel in London, falling through $53 before recovering to $53.24, New York light crude briefly dipped below $50 a barrel.

    Oil analysts blamed soft global demand and increased production from countries such as Russia and Iraq. “The easiest path for oil is down,” said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil and commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “Almost all market news and the fundamental backdrop are negative and it is difficult to see much upside at the moment.“

    Lacklustre economic data from the United States on Friday increased concerns about the state of the global economy and the strength of oil demand.

    “Oil demand is unlikely to be robust this year when we look at the state of economies in China, Japan and Europe,” said Yusuke Seta, a commodity sales manager at Newedge Japan.

    Burt White, chief investment officer at LPL Financial, said: “The lower that oil prices go, the more it reinforces into the market’s mind that perhaps this is more of a demand issue than a supply issue.” He said that raised questions “about the robustness of this recovery”.

    In the UK the prospect of motorists paying less than a pound a litre for petrol came closer on Tuesday when falling oil prices led to four supermarket chains announcing a 2p a litre cut in petrol and diesel.

    Asda said it would cut petrol and diesel by 2p and Tesco responded with immediate price reductions. Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have also made 2p cuts, bringing prices at the pumps to a five-year low.

    The latest reductions mean Asda customers will pay no more than 105.7p a litre for petrol and 112.7p for diesel. It was Asda’s 14th fuel cut since the end of September, with 21p a litre off petrol and 17p off diesel. For Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, it was the seventh cut since the beginning of December.

    Andy Peake, Asda’s director of petrol trading, said: “As fuel prices continue to drop, Asda is leading the way with our fourteenth price cut on fuel since September. No matter where customers live, they will benefit from the same fuel price with our national price cap of 105.7p a litre for unleaded and 112.7p for diesel.”

    Motoring organisations welcomed the cuts. The RAC’s fuel spokesman, Simon Williams, said: “With the average price of petrol already at levels not seen since January 2010 this latest cut will send the average price (112p) even lower, which is more great news for the motorist as millions head back to work following the festive holiday.

    “We think there is still more room to cut further, perhaps by as much as 5p to 6p by the end of January.

    “The cuts are bringing us ever closer to the £1 per litre average for petrol which the RAC said last month could be a possibility for the start of the new year. Of course it would also be an extremely welcome move for motorists and businesses alike.”

    The AA president, Edmund King, said: “Further drops in the pump price are extremely welcome. However, small rural towns are again being left behind by the price falls in the more competitive areas. This continues to feather the fall in the national average.

    “We would love to see £1 per litre and we may possibly see it in many parts of the UK but it is unlikely that the average price will drop as quickly to the £1 level, partly because 70% of the price is tax. There is still a price lottery out there so we advise drivers to shop around.”

  • If oil demands collapse, is the precursor to a crash,I wonder how long the internet stays up, who would that serve, just how low can we go? They are saying the recovery was on the way, who really knows anyway, Oh well Bestgo

  • Observing the sum total of “news” from around the world, perhaps we are witnessing the endgame effects of peak stupidity!!

  • Guy, You mentioned in your talk on The Edge of Extinction that very few people ever commented on the appearance of trees which are suffering from the ravages of climate change, and so I am happy to pass along a few comments on that perspective.

    Last year we visited a wilderness area called ‘The Cathedral Lakes’ in British Columbia where I live. The hiking trails revealed a world of large spruce trees, one of the highlights of the park. Unfortunately, they were all as black as charcoal, bark, needles and branches were all dead from spruce beetle infestations. They were actually dangerous and campers were not allowed to set up camp under their canopies in fear that they would topple on them in the evening if winds came up. The scene was surreal, still beautiful nevertheless but the intensity of the deadness was absolutely eerie as not a single tree was alive.
    This was surprising to me as the park is situated in the Southern part of the province and inside park boundaries where careful attention is given to wildness, though the mountain sheep were still there and seemed healthy enough as most of their food we were informed is still available high in the alpine meadows of the park.

    Most pine forests of the province have also been devastated by the pine beetles in this neck of the woods. They are not black but rather turn red when dying and some forests are completely red in many parts of this country. It seems that warmer winters allow the beetles to breed in more and more areas. We often go to a very remote lake in BC that is extremely difficult to reach and the devastation, even in such a remote area, is almost complete. After a few years the red needles fall off and the forests look like they have been scorched by forest fires, where not a single tree is alive.

    Anyway, just thought I would mention these trees in case anyone was interested and since I occasionally sense more connection with trees than with fellow humans, it’s kinda sad to see them die in such large quantities.

  • @ Jean Turcot Says:
    January 5th, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks for the situational update. If you haven’t already, you will find a kindred spirit at https://witsendnj.blogspot.ca!! The host, Gail, has been screaming her ever-loving heart out, with a cornucopia of knowledge that should make every [alleged] “scientist” cringe in envy and remorse, about the global tree-death for many a year.

  • Robin Data,
    Your statement: “Super, just Super!” in replying to my suggestion that there are enough human resources for every one on this planet is absolutely correct. Thanks for reinforcing my assumption.

  • Colin, Thanks for the reference… Seems like a kindred spirit indeed…

  • @guyo smith
    Like your style…and if anyone hits you with “But where’s the content”, send them to Samuel Delaney who will remind them that “Style is content.”

    @Grant Schreiber
    Two takes on HSap vs. The Universe
    Dr. Benway lays it all out for us somewhere about here…

    .
    .
    .
    and there’s the Hendra/Rose Conjecture

    Don’t forget: Bowser wants Brie

  • @Grant Schreiber
    Two takes on HSap vs. The Universe (not that you need ammo, but…)
    Dr. Benway lays it all out for us somewhere about here…

    .
    .
    .
    and there’s the Hendra/Rose Conjecture

    Don’t forget: Bowser wants Brie

  • Kevin Moore:

    To add to your comments about oil falling below $50 a barrel today, this from Zero Hedge, http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-05/what-cheap-gas-spending-boost-gallup-finds-virtually-no-holiday-spending-increase-ye

    The plunge in gas prices has led to a “surge” in consumer spending in December of ….. $2 per month. What a “surge.” The investors on Wall Street for once did not see the bad news as good news, the Dow dropped 320 points. But i’m sure that the-powers-that-be have new schemes and scams in the likelihood that things turn south, such as an even bigger QE, perhaps with literally helicopter money drops. Reality is that the vast majority of people in this society, especially in the industrial nations, want the present setup to continue no matter what, anything else is just too scary for them to even contemplate.

  • OK, Guy, regarding your last comment on the Edge Of Extinction Episode #1 post, I can see that you will never address points where they conflict with your views. Instead, you think that just repeating the same thing over and over is sufficient response. Got it. At least you didn’t hurl insults this time. I should be thankful for that, at least.

  • I managed to get this in as the first comment on the Wall Street Journal’s Facebook post of a photo of their “National economics correspondents Josh Zumbrun and Brian Baskin” with a question: Oil prices briefly dropped below $50 a barrel for the first time since April 2009. What do those dropping prices mean for the markets? For jobs? For GDP? And for you?

    Answer #1
    It means more of a chance to burn as much carbon as humanly possible, therefore forclosing any future for humanity. Gee, thanks “markets”.

  • Further response to the Wall Street Journal boys:

    “You won’t be able to eat any of your money, or your wealth on a planet that is unable to support human life. This obsession with economics driven by fossilized carbon is truly the death knell of humanity. Look at you clowns sitting up there in New York, utterly deluded by your religious faith in money and oil, unable to grasp the ecological holocaust playing out in real time, right there in front of your eyes. Who would have ever expected that modern economics, American-downtown-New-York-style would turn out to be a species suicide cult.”

  • Jean Turcot Says:
    January 5th, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Dredd,
    You wrote that you are not in agreement that the suggestion that our genes pretty much determine our place in nature. Or, as you have quoted: the myth of “It’s in your genes”. I disagree. Wayne Gretskys and Einsteins are born, not bred. While the intricacies of our personalities may as you infer be associated with our cultural baggage, using that baggage is still a matter of one’s innate uniqueness.

    “What is “hard wired” are various cultural trances imposed upon us by our particular culture.” Not so! I would prefer to believe that we are predisposed to adopt or reject cultural idioms according to our genetic codes.

    “Those things you mentioned “from which it is very difficult to stray” are not birthmarks, but rather they are the marks of culture.” On this I totally disagree. I think the exact opposite. Genes are indeed birthmarks. We can choose to use these ‘birthmarks’ to our advantage, or make no choices whatsoever and go along with our natural instincts.
    =============================================
    And deniers disagree with the science of global warming induced climate change.

    Denial is not an intellectual reaction.

    Your denial is against the professors who teach genetics, neurobiology, and cognitive science at top Universities, to wit: Dr. Sapolsky, Dr. Maté, Dr. Wilkinson, and Dr. Gilligan.

    They are quoted on the video in my link.

    Science has changed and you need to update your knowledge:

    Listen to the short talk by Dr. James Fallon, another professor and doctor who teaches on the subject (One Man’s Junk Gene Is Another Man’s Treasure Gene?).

    That same link has this quote: “Epigenetics is just one of many disciplines supercharged by the Human Genome Project. Another is proteomics, which focuses on the structure and function of proteins within an organism. It shows us more clearly how our genes and proteins coexist and interact with the genes and proteins of the trillions of microbes each of us hosts. Indeed, our bodies contain ten times more microbial cells than human cells. Human microbiomics studies the approximately three million microbial genes in the human body, a genetic load so massive it is almost nonsensical to talk about “our” bodies at all. The food we eat, the drugs we consume, our emotional and social environments, or whether we get vaccinated (“vaccinomics,” of course) — all these factors affect how our genes are expressed. Each action sets in motion a Rubik’s cube of metabolic variables we have only begun to comprehend.

    As medical science struggles to apply these new discoveries to society’s benefit, human genome research, now unstoppable, continues to evolve. Ironically, though, this initiative to tailor health care to the individual genome — the touchstone of the Human Genome Project and personalized medicine — increasingly reveals that our genes, and we as individuals, do not function in isolation from other life forms and the environments we all inhabit. Whatever secrets genes contain, our book of life and that of a microbe remain written in the same language.”

    It is even known, now, in this ongoing scientific revolution that we can and do have the genetics of several persons.

    Our genetic make-up is not one, not unique.

    Furthermore, we can have different DNA in several parts of our own body:

    From biology class to “C.S.I.,” we are told again and again that our genome is at the heart of our identity. Read the sequences in the chromosomes of a single cell, and learn everything about a person’s genetic information — or, as 23andme, a prominent genetic testing company, says on its Web site, “The more you know about your DNA, the more you know about yourself.”

    But scientists are discovering that — to a surprising degree — we contain genetic multitudes. Not long ago, researchers had thought it was rare for the cells in a single healthy person to differ genetically in a significant way. But scientists are finding that it’s quite common for an individual to have multiple genomes. Some people, for example, have groups of cells with mutations that are not found in the rest of the body. Some have genomes that came from other people.”

    (The Uncertain Gene – 7).

    I disagreed with your statements to the contrary, providing scientific literature quotes to back it up.

    So far, all you have provided to support your disagreement is your sacred opinion.

    That will not suffice in knowledgeable company.

  • And the amount of genetic material by microorganisms within our body (the microbiome) is greater than the amount of genetic material in the human genome. In any event, my group modelled all tractable protein structures encoded by several human genomes at an atomic level, several species of bacteria and viruses that live within us, and six rice genomes (you may have donated your screensaver time as part of the IBM World Community Grid), all the tractable protein-protein and protein-small molecule interactions, and now we’re doing the modelling for the 1000 plant genomes projects (our paper on that was just published in Gigascience). All this illustrates the high degree of interconnectedness between various atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, and physiologies, and all presumably showing chaotic dynamics if the few cases I’ve checked are representative.

    So i think it’s difficult to understand why some genetics is predisposing and others isn’t without understanding how mutations in DNA result in mutations protein (amino acid) sequence, how that changes its structure, and how that changes the structural interactions. And then connect it with the tenets of chaos/complexity.

  • To Jean Turcot,
    welcome, take care, don’t become a misanthropic jerk like myself.
    i don’t hate everybody, some of my best friends are people.
    be sure to watch the extinction video included in my link.
    warning: reading the following post is not recommended.
    be sure to get help after ignoring my warning.
    http://www.reddit.com/r/RenewableEnergy/comments/2qg5s9/mass_extinction_vs_green_energy/

  • Dredd,
    Having a PHD in front of one’s name does not a professor make, nor does it imply that what is presented as fact is indeed fact. Nor are professors the cat’s meow of any comprehensive knowledge. A PHD merely opens the door to an array of suppositions from which every avenue can lead to more questions, or a complete failure of one’s assumption, and, in the case of the discovery of the atom, to nuclear Armageddon. In order to dispute my opinion that we are genetically predisposed to display certain characteristics during our lifetime, you have referred your arguments to the following set of what you seem to ascertain as the final conclusions of any deliberation as to the nature of our beings…. professors.

    The following is an example of what you wrote: ” Epigenetics is just one of many disciplines supercharged by the Human Genome Project. Another is proteomics, which focuses on the structure and function of proteins within an organism. It shows us more clearly how our genes and proteins coexist and interact with the genes and proteins of the trillions of microbes each of us hosts. Indeed, our bodies contain ten times more microbial cells than human cells.”

    Are you kidding me? Besides the names of the professors which you named in your post, there is an insinuation that because they are ‘professors’ that all ends where it should be.

    And so in reply to your objections, I feel, but do not know, that we are mostly hard-wired to display most of the characteristics that we use during our life. Einsteins and Babe Ruths are born, and not made, with certain genes which make their host predisposed to develop and use their unique talents. Darwin’s proposal of natural selection seem to confirm that natural phenomenon. Moreover, you have used words which only a professor of Whatever would use to justify a doctoral dissertation or some other form of acceptance speech for which a doctor can establish some sort of tenure. I know little about a doctor’s ship, but I do know that simplicity is the principal key to understanding, and that one’s gut feelings are more likely than not to establish some type of understanding of the natural order of things.

    Darwin’s genius was that he could observe, as opposed to theoretically disembowel genetic codes, in order to explain his theories of evolution. His writing was extremely simple, pure and relevant. Moreover, he was not lost in translation as to his premises. In nature, simplicity prevails. If it works, use it. If it doesn’t, nature will dispose of it asap. If you wish to continue our exchange, please use your own thinking on the issue, and not the names of a few professors who have mastered the art of deceiving themselves into thinking that their tenure is due to an understanding of things, as opposed to their correctness in understanding that their own science is mostly flawed. If professors had viable solutions to the human presence on the planet, we wouldn’t be in such dire straits.

    YOUR reply is most welcome. If all the knowledge of humanity were to be compared to what is to be known, i.e., — the real thing, it would probably be equal in essence to a single drop of water in the Pacific. Yes, we have discovered that the Earth is round, but there are probably zillions of universes to discover, and so the cat’ meow on the Theory of Everything, (sorry Mr. Hawking’s) is still very much in search of a home, professors notwithstanding.

  • Ram,
    Thanks for trying to bridge the divide between Dredd and myself as to our perception of genetically inherent qualities. I see that you are one of the professors whose knowledge of atomic stuff is close to opening doors to real knowledge. But you know more than anyone else that what you have quoted is a mere drop in the ocean and that your premises are mostly based on theory, and not fact.

    But in your comments, I did not detect a single word which would refute my contention that we are mainly predisposed by genes, or by whatever you want to label our beings, to be who we turn out to be in our live time. One who is born without limbs will never be a Sydney Crosby. This is all I am trying to say, as an opinion of course but also by observation. Opinions however, in my opinion, are just as likely to prevail, or not prevail, as any scientific theory…. I have no quarrels with genetic theorists, but science has its limits, as any scientific method will, in the long run, never prove beyond the shadow of any doubt.

  • Robert,
    Had to look up ‘misanthropic’ but jerk I didn’t. Hopefully I have not yet completely fallen prey to that condition. I love people, but hate what some people do. I don’t know if that qualifies me as a misanthropic jerk, but if it does then so be it. When people remove nuclear missiles from silos, I will be much more amenable to love.

  • Jeff S.,

    In answer to your January 5th, 2015 at 2:12 pm question: Yes, REALLY. I feel sorry that you find the idea of the possibility (in my opinion, very high probability) that we have a physical universe—and only a physical universe with no other “realms”—which behaves consistently following only natural “laws”, so radical, shocking, and unacceptable within your conceptual model of how the universe presumably must work. And I have no problem at all with our disagreeing with each other about this.

    Robin Datta,

    I found your January 5th, 2015 at 11:49 am comment right on target and very well written! Thanks!

    Diarmuid Galvin,

    In reading your January 5th, 2015 at 1:02 pm response to Paul, and having just finished reading Ian Tattersall’s book Masters of the Planet, The Search For Our Origins, as I read your comment it struck me the extent to which what you suggest regarding “simple presence here” probably describes quite well the non-symbolic nature of all hominid existence prior to the arrival of Homo sapiens, as well as about the first 100,000 years of Homo sapiens’ existence (which appears to have occurred non-symbolically as well). I think that our “entrancement with the descriptions of reality” occurs directly as a result of our symbolizing, especially language use, and possibly necessarily so. I think that you also point to the extremely common error that people make of confusing our symbols with the things and processes that our symbols only “represent”.

  • Tony, your latest comment is hilarious … unintentionally, of course. Pot calls kettle black, doesn’t bother with introspection. You and your buddies are completely unwilling to accept evidence that doesn’t match your world view. Even the mainstream media are pointing out that technology won’t save us, but you keep clinging to … well, it’s not clear what, beyond denial.

  • Guy McPherson Says:
    January 6th, 2015 at 9:37 am
    “Tony, your latest comment is hilarious … unintentionally, of course. Pot calls kettle black, doesn’t bother with introspection. You and your buddies are completely unwilling to accept evidence that doesn’t match your world view. Even the mainstream media are pointing out that technology won’t save us, but you keep clinging to … well, it’s not clear what, beyond denial.”

    Totally agree with what you say to Tony, in fact i don’t see why you bother, given that he has repeatedly proven himself a troll. Sometimes you’re just too nice,:-) But i think you are way too optimistic about the mainstream media. In fact, this morning, on “progressive” media, specifically KPFA, Pacifica Radio’s Berkeley outlet, on the Up Front show, host Brian Edwards-Tiekert interviewed Prof Anthony Barnovsky of UC Berkeley’s Paleontology Department, author of the fairly new book, Dodging Extinction, who insists that it’s in fact easy for us to cure all our energy, climate, food, money,… problems, we just need the will to force our leaders to change their ways. He really thinks solar, wind and biofuels can power the world as is, no problem, though we may have to sacrifice some local areas to save the world. He thinks we can feed even more people than already inhabit the earth, 9 billion, if we simply produce food more “efficiently.” He praises Cal governor Jerry Brown’s proclamations regarding a change to “renewable energy.” A total dip, and he is the one who has access to the airwaves. Edwards-Tiekert has a history of promoting techno-fix, last year featured that fearless pari from MIT promoting the notion of a new industrial revolution. The likes of us are condemned for promoting “eco-catastrophism.”

    ___________________

    Bud Nye: i continue to challenge you to show us the natural laws. Show us the natural “law” which leads people who need to urinate to seek a bathroom. Show us the natural “law” which causes most men to not rape and a few to rape. Show us the natural “law” which led to the advent of capitalism and the one which is responsible for its subsequent growth and persistence. Sorry, but there are aspects of life which are **immutable aspects of existence**, and there are other facets of living which are NOT immutable and NOT required by the laws of nature. Your insistence otherwise is comical.

  • Two interesting things this morning:

    1. Oil prices continue to fall WTI now around $48 and Brent around $51.

    2. The Arctic ice cover is below that of the corresponding period in 2012.

    A very interesting start to what will obviously be a particularly devastating year in the race between economic collapse and environmental collapse.

  • Jean Turcot,

    Regarding your January 6th, 2015 at 5:51 am comment to Dredd and you’re your subsequent January 6th, 2015 at 6:08 am comment to Ram, I think that you make two valid, and obvious, points that: (1) no one knows everything, including Ph.D.s (whether professors or not), and (2) experts remain fallible human beings who often display poor judgment in their personal lives and in advising others. On the other hand, despite the fact that everyone has a right to their opinions, I think that you way, WAY overemphasize the value of people’s opinions (outside of their own, usually way over-inflated self-evaluations of their personal opinions).

    In reading your comments, I get a strong sense that you seriously believe that people’s personal opinions usually more reliably reflect “truths” about the world and how it works than the judgment of Ph.D.s, or groups of Ph.D.s, who spend most of their productive lives deeply studying a subject. In MY opinion, despite the kernel of truth in your two points your conclusion makes little sense. In general, I will ask for and place much more weight on expert’s judgments of how various aspects of the world works, any day, compared with the “intuitive opinions” of the average bear on the streets, which usually rests on a foundation almost entirely of highly fallible “emotional reasoning” paired with relatively little actual experience with the subject, as compared with the experience of experts.

    I think that people’s opinions lie on a continuum of likely validity that varies from essentially worthless, and OFTEN outright harmful, at one end of the spectrum, to extremely valuable and helpful at the other end. I expect that a very strong correlation exists between the amount of time and effort a person has spent studying a subject, or practicing a skill, and the quality and dependability of their knowledge, judgment, or other performance related to that subject. It seems to me that one’s having a right to their opinions does NOT, by itself, make their opinions valid in the world, nor especially valuable! For example, you wrote to Ram “Opinions however, in my opinion, are just as likely to prevail, or not prevail, as any scientific theory….” With this sentence, you demonstrate a failure to grasp the fact that massive, compelling evidence and reasoning by many people over a long period of time support scientific theories. Compared with this, to write that “Opinions however, in my opinion, are just as likely to prevail, or not prevail, as any scientific theory” to me makes little sense. Why would I or anyone else trust your mostly emotion-based personal opinion about a subject over principles and predictions based on a well-proven scientific theory? Of COURSE the scientific theory does not explain everything about the subject, and OF COURSE it will change over time as we learn more. But the question remains: Why would I or anyone else trust your mostly emotion-based personal opinion about a subject over principles and predictions based on a well-proven scientific theory? With perhaps some rare exceptions, I certainly would not.

    Meanwhile, also, emotions and intuitions definitely have MASSIVE importance and value in our daily lives, in our thinking, and in our judgment. Yet the question remains: Why would I or anyone else trust your mostly emotion-based personal opinion about a subject over principles and predictions based on a well-proven scientific theory expressed by someone with proven expertise regarding a subject? Because you “are special”? What makes one person’s personal opinion (one of 7.1 billion opinions) any more reliable, valuable, or “special” than anyone else’s?

    Regarding the influence of our genes on us, we now know that our chromosomes account for only about 25% of a person’s intelligence. Regarding world-class performance, such as Einstein, Mozart, master chess players, Tiger Woods, and so on, far more often than not chromosomes probably account for far less than 25% of the performance. Related to all of this, I highly recommend the fascinating and highly educational book, Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin. We often love to think “It’s all about genetically endowed ‘talent’” because that absolves us of our response-ability in the performance process. By emphasizing genes and talent we can easily tell ourselves and others, “Why work at this? I will never do very well at it, and I certainly will not become a master, because I was not born with the talent.” We have a wonderful and “obvious” rationalization for not doing the needed work.

    But all of that just remains my opinion. Maybe I have it all wrong. 😉

  • kevin: to your point

    http://news.yahoo.com/republicans-push-keystone-xl-bill-plan-skirt-veto-171619175–finance.html

    Republicans push Keystone XL bill with plan to skirt any veto

    @ the whole genetic kerfuffle:

    you’re born [if you survive] and degrade from then on – genes won’t protect you from getting hit by a bus, or trip over a curb when you’re not paying attention, from ebola or some other exotic disease (even seasonal flu), or from making mistakes and no matter how pristine our genetics, our domain is (or is rapidly becoming) a sewer replete with radiation, toxic chemicals and noxious gases that effect you (it’s a wonder we get to still live here while everything else is dying around us from our pollution), so nature cares not a whit about your genes, your opinions or your theories.

    2015-01-04 – Mysterious explosion, flash of light, rattles people across broad swath of Indiana

    from a few days ago [http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/]

    2015-01-04 – Mysterious explosion shakes homes and rattles people in Lake Township, Luzerne County (Pennsylvania)

    2015-01-04 – Mysterious explosions regularly scaring people in Braunschweig (Germany)

    2015-01-04 – Several other mysterious explosions shake homes in a variety of places

    2015-01-04 – Underground explosions and fire rock coastal Red Bank (New Jersey), some people evacuated

    2015-01-04 – Underground electrical explosions hit Columbus (Ohio)

    015-01-04 – Home explodes and burns in Lindale (Georgia), 1 injured

    amid a continuing litany of news, day after day, year after year.

  • Jeff S — totally 1000% agree about Barnosky. In his book he compares the economic benefits of African eco-tourism to elephant and rhino poaching. WTF!? Like, flying to Africa just to look at the last remaining lions is somehow good for the environment? If I want a condescending lecture from an authority figure, I can just resurrect my dad. That’s why I’m having a helluva time trying to finish his damn book. Although it did help update my extinction list. Read it and weep kids.
    http://www.reddit.com/r/RenewableEnergy/comments/2qg5s9/mass_extinction_vs_green_energy/

  • @Bud

    Yes- the map is not the territory.
    But when I speak of ‘your simple presence here’ (again- the word is not the thing) I am attempting to point to something that is not touched by the territory at all ! (if that makes any sense?) – another way of saying it might be : the ‘knowing’ in which all comes and goes and which is never hurt or helped by any of it. This ‘knowing’ is what I am really- my actual nature, and what I am suggesting is that by bringing personal consciousness in direct contact with this ‘knowing’ that is YOU -brings a fundamental sanity to the mind.

    I think the discussion between you and Jean is perhaps coming from either side of a left/right brain perspective?

  • @Diarmuid,

    I think you’re talking about “awareness without the ‘of'” or pure consciousness. Or in Advaita, the Self that emerges when the “self” has realized. Coming from a “no-brain perspective”…or something.

    In another word, Tao.

    It’s a very slippery concept for an acculturated Western mind. I’ve only had a sniff of it yet. But flavour of that sniff hooked me completely.

    Cheers,
    Paul

  • @ Bud Nye,

    Regarding your comment about the non-symbolic mentation of pre-sapiens hominids, I think that idea is a classic pre/trans fallacy as identified by Ken Wilber:

    Pre/trans fallacy

    Wilber believes that many claims about non-rational states make a mistake he calls the pre/trans fallacy. According to Wilber, the non-rational stages of consciousness (what Wilber calls “pre-rational” and “trans-rational” stages) can be easily confused with one another. In Wilber’s view, one can reduce trans-rational spiritual realization to pre-rational regression, or one can elevate pre-rational states to the trans-rational domain. For example, Wilber claims that Freud and Jung commit this fallacy. Freud considered mystical realization to be a regression to infantile oceanic states. Wilber alleges that Freud thus commits a fallacy of reduction. Wilber thinks that Jung commits the converse form of the same mistake by considering pre-rational myths to reflect divine realizations. Likewise, pre-rational states may be misidentified as post-rational states.

  • I’ve posted anew. There’s a lot here, in various media.

  • @Paul

    One sniff if all that’s required ! And then as you said the enquiry into it proceeds by itself. Sounds like you’re done 😉

  • Bud Nye,
    It is obvious that my concept on opinions meets unfavorably with your assessments of things. But an opinion is mostly the result of observations, and one does not need to hold a PHD to make an observation, which in turn generates opinions. Your faith in PHDs seems like a good choice but it doesn’t preclude that a good idea can come from anywhere. For example, there has been an on-going debate on whether or not coffee is bad for your health. Even something as simple as coffee, with a few million experts in medicine, nutrition, or whatever scientific expertize coffee can involve, it seems that no one can yet ascertain whether or not coffee is good for you, or not. The same can be said about most things. Please excuse the word ‘things’ because since an opinion can be formulated on just anything, it seems appropriate.

    Another example, and there are millions, it is generally known that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. My question to you is the following: Is it so? I will be curious as to your answer, if of course you would care to provide one.

    While I may as you infer ‘overemphasize’ opinions, the same can be said about overrating the opinions and knowledge of PHDs, even though the particular science involved has been well researched. Perhaps this may be a good time to give an example that is very close to this forum. I became aware of the existence of Guy McPherson about three months ago. I very much like his presentations, his logic, his knowledge on tipping points, (which I have yet to peruse) and, in general, his demeanor, philosophy on our possible terminal positions, and in general, Guy McPherson himself. I also assume that his knowledge of Climatology is far superior and certainly more comprehensive than my own, obviously. I am not a professor, nor do I work in any science that is appropriate to state a credible opinion on Global Warming. I do however recall stating an opinion about 5 years in a conversation with a friend that there was an outside chance that runaway global warming was a possibility. At that time very few articles dealt with a Venus-like possibility, and yet my ‘opinion’ now doesn`t seem as far-fetched as it was 5 years ago.

    It is also my opinion that as much as I like Mr. McPherson, that I think he is wrong about the time at which we may become extinct. As I mentioned just previously, I am not aware about the growing number of tipping points which Guy has identified and which may bring his timeline about our possible extinction more in line with that terrible possibility. My opinion therefore is not based on science, but since I have doubts as to the actual precipitating factors that would generate enough methane to do us in, I cannot bring myself, as least not yet, not to entertain a different opinion. While he may indeed be correct, my opinion is that the time line is much too short, and that we indeed still have opportunities to prevent our extinction. Does my position imply that I should not have an opinion because I am not well versed in climate sciences….I think not — and although I must admit a relative ignorance of climate dynamics, it does not imply that I should not form an opinion.

    If my university education has taught me anything, it is that the world of higher learning is potentially just as flawed as knowledge anywhere, and that my faith in truths is practically non-existent. In my òpinion`, the worst enemy of most “truths` is time.

    Your comments regarding the following are puzzling, to say the least. You state: “Regarding the influence of our genes on us, we now know that our chromosomes account for only about 25% of a person’s intelligence.“ Without knowing who made that statement, there are just too many red flags raised by this statement to take it very seriously. But suffice it to write that it is my opinion that intelligence cannot be measured as a function of how many chromosomes we happen to harbor, and to suggest a percentage in this analysis seems almost ridiculous in the overall comprehension of what constitutes intelligence.

    And so Bud it is still my opinion that a good idea can arise from anyone, and that no one should be dismissed as having no right to one`s opinion unless one is loaded to the max in the particular field of endearment in which one is debating.

    By the way any relation to Bill Nye …. the science guy…..

  • @Diarmuid,

    I don’t know about “done”, but as Shakyamuni found, you sure can’t “unsee” Venus. 🙂

  • Robert Callaghan Says:
    January 6th, 2015 at 11:49 am
    “Jeff S — totally 1000% agree about Barnosky. In his book he compares the economic benefits of African eco-tourism to elephant and rhino poaching. WTF!? Like, flying to Africa just to look at the last remaining lions is somehow good for the environment? If I want a condescending lecture from an authority figure, I can just resurrect my dad. That’s why I’m having a helluva time trying to finish his damn book. Although it did help update my extinction list. Read it and weep kids.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/RenewableEnergy/comments/2qg5s9/mass_extinction_vs_green_energy/

    Thanks, i missed the earlier part of the Barnovsky interview, would have been even more aggravated if i had heard the eco-tourism crap. How will these eco-tourists earn the mega-bucks they need to afford such trips? Will they all be college professors?:-)

    Jean Turcot: i myself would be reluctant to offer an opinion about something which i admit to know little about. But that’s just me.:-)

    Bud: i take it that you cannot come up with a “natural law” which explains why people choose to satisfy the need, mandated by immutable natural law, to urinate, by going to some structure with a fixture that uses running water.

  • @ Paul
    Oops! I skipped onto the next entry and re-posted.