A Conversation with Paul Ehrlich

McPherson had an informal conversation with renowned conservation biologist Paul Ehrlich on Monday, 9 February 2015. With thanks to Pauline Schneider for recording, the conversation is embedded below.

Comments 94

  • Pat,

    February 11th, 2015 at 1:12 pm you wrote, “Civilization is the root of all evil. We should return to the wild. Kill nothing. Eat only that which falls from the trees.” You also wrote “Usually there is one ultimate group of people that control everything. This leads to genocide, and conflicting war with people around them. The people of the civilization think they are the chosen ones and think nothing of the people around them.”

    In my opinion, even though your comment otherwise states a number of truths, a number of problems exist in these quotes. First, even though, certainly, civilization concentrates and turbocharges many Earth-killing processes, it amounts to a misleading oversimplification to state that “Civilization is the root of all evil.” Unfortunately, the roots of human “evil” go far deeper and older than any agriculture-based civilization. Then we have “Kill nothing. Eat only that which falls from the trees.” No reliable evidence anywhere suggests that any hominids ever evolved or lived based on that principle, certainly including Homo sapiens. Meanwhile, best evidence suggests that genocides and warfare have existed throughout all of Homo sapiens’ history, so that statement also amounts to a misleading oversimplification. Yes, “Usually there is one ultimate group of people that control everything.” It appears as though most hominids, most of the time, including Homo sapiens, lived in small, hierarchical groups of about 20 to 50 individuals from our beginnings long, long before the development of agriculture or any of the agriculture-based civilizations. Hierarchical, with social rules, serves as the operative word here, an important concept that applies, perhaps, to most species of social animals, including many insects.

    Your comment that “Class structure – This separates everyone in a class, putting certain people on a higher level than others. This separation of people creates distress among the masses, and ultimately creates racism. It abandons any sense of equality” also involves a misleading oversimplification. How so? Humans have committed warfare, including genocides, based on bigotry and racist thinking from our beginnings, long, long before any civilization arose.

    These ideas may challenge some of your romantic notions about the alleged pure and peaceful nature of early humans. Related to Rosseau’s and others’ romantic ideas, and with apologies for his gender-biased language, I include the following quote from the Preface to Ernest Becker’s book, The Birth and Death of Meaning, An interdisciplinary perspective on the problem of man (1971). Please read “human”, “humanity”, or “person”, as appropriate, where Becker writes “man”:

    “Finally, belatedly making peace with Freud and leaning onto Fromm and Rank means accepting into one’s thought a truly rounded and less rosy view of human nature; whereas I once as a social scientist dedicatedly followed Rosseau in his straightforward view that man is natural and good, and is ‘corrupted by society,’ I slighted the darker side, the side of human evil and viciousness. As we will see from these pages man IS mostly innocent, really potentially good, even naturally noble; and as we will stress, society IS responsible, largely, for shaping people, for giving them opportunities for unfolding more freely and more unafraid. But this unfolding is confused and complicated by man’s basic animal fears: by his fear of being overwhelmed and sucked up into the world and into others. All this gives his life a quality of drivenness, of underlying desperation, an obsession with the meaning of it and with his own significance as a creature. And this is what drives him to try to make his mark on the world, to try to twist it and turn it to his own designs, to bury over the rumbling anxieties; and this usually means that he tries to twist and turn others, make his mark on them, use them to justify his own problematic life. As Rank put it so bluntly: Man creates ‘out of freedom a prison.’ This means everyman, in any society, from the most ‘primitive’ to the most ‘civilized,’ no matter what the child training programs or economic system.”

  • Elitist academic Ehrlich not only knew the problem more than 45 years ago – he knew what to do.
    So he cavalierly & openly stated HIS EXTREME SOLUTION to overpopulation.

    Here is a brief & self-explanatory passage from the final chapter of Ehrlich’s magnum opus, THE POPULATION BOMB; “… compulsory birth regulation … (through) the addition of temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food. Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government to produce the desired family size.”

    I would never advocate a lobotomy for the pompous Doctor Ehrlich, even today.

    I do not know how to stop pretentious & pompous academics from making complete fools of themselves – except by exposing their own published errors.

    Ehrlich has NOT yet apologized for his monumentally cruel & ignorant mistake.

    The Arctic methane time bomb was NOT caused by the poor of the third world. It was caused by a small percentage of the world’s population consuming enormous amounts of fossil fuels.

    Most of our intrepid bloggers at NBL are responsible for spewing thousands of TONS of CO2 into the atmospheric commons.

    My carbon debt for a lifetime of energy largesse is more than 3000 tons of CO2.

  • Yes, five decades of abysmal failure to implement what was required to achieve sustainability. So we’re off the cliff edge and falling -just waiting for the moment of impact.

    Now we probably have only a few years (or maybe a few more months) of the utter madness that comprises mainstream culture.

  • In the 1970s Barry Commoner spoke out against the view that overpopulation, particularly in the Third World, was responsible for the increasing depletion of the word’s natural resources and the deepening ecological problems.

    The overpopulation thesis was popularized by Paul Ehrlich (in his book The Population Bomb) and other scientists, but Commoner challenged those who echoed the ideas of the 19th-century British reverend, Thomas Robert Malthus.

    As Commoner argued, it is rich nations that consume a disproportionate share of the world’s resources. And it was their systems of colonialism and imperialism that led to the exploitation of the Third World’s natural resources for consumption in the wealthy nations, making the poor even poorer.

    As Commoner wrote, “The poor countries have high birthrates because they are extremely poor, and they are extremely poor because other countries are extremely rich.” His solution to the population problem was to increase the standard of living of the world’s poor, which would result in a voluntary reduction of fertility, as has occurred in the rich countries.

    In THE CLOSING CIRCLE (1971), Commoner argued that our economy — including corporations, government, and consumers — needs to be in sync with what he called the “four laws of ecology”:

    Everything is connected to everything else.
    Everything must go somewhere.
    Nature knows best.
    There is no such thing as a free lunch

    My personal respect for Commoner’s predictive power is 40 years long & running.

    During the 1970s a heated and knock-down-drag- out dispute between two very reputable high profile environmentalist/ scientists, Barry Commoner and Paul Ehrlich, was widely publicized.

    Arguing about the primary variables in the causal chains of environmental degradation and ecosystem destruction; Commoner and Ehrlich took dramatically different positions.

    Ehrlich contended that the total number of humans on the planet was the crux of the problem. Ehrlich held that the rapidly increasing world population was over consuming resources & creating massive pollution that would necessarily lead to the collapse of ecosystems & individual nation-states.

    Commoner claimed that it was a “small percentage” of the human population in the so-called wealthy industrialized countries who were consuming resources at an unbridled rate with accompanying massive pollution that would cause destruction of ecosystems and nation states.

    Ehrlich’s total world population versus Commoner’s much smaller but more specific population – was the heart of the debate.

    Both sides argued that subsequent planetary collapse could eventually result.

    A scientific whodunnit.

    Specific people in a specific location at a specific time committing specific acts – who did what, where, & when?

    Indeed, planetary scale pollution as evidenced by present global atmospheric pollution by CO2 production from burning fossil fuels was essentially absent from both the scientific radar screen and public awareness – only forty plus years ago.

    As an exception, Robert Heilbroner writing the fourth updated version of his classic work, THE WORLDLY PHILOSPHERS published in 1976 mentioned the possible seriousness of the theorized Greenhouse Effect from CO2 production – but only as a conjectural hypothesis.

    But Heilbroner openly stated in his 1976 edition; “… it is clear that UNCONTROLLED ECONOMIC GROWTH is as hazardous for the developed world as uncontrolled population growth is for the undeveloped world.”

    I spent much intellectual energy during the last forty years debating this critical controversy – always as an advocate of Commoner’s “small percentage” position.

    Accepting the scientific premise of human caused global heating from CO2 as waste production in the atmosphere produced from the burning of fossil fuels – the entire argument between Ehrlich and Commoner has been scientifically answered without qualification.

    The specific technological culprits who unwittingly polluted their nourishing life supporting planetary atmospheric commons by burning
    fossil fuels have been identified.

    Moreover, for those of us in the joyfully consuming countries; our personal contributions to the destruction of the atmospheric commons can be readily quantified.

    I can honestly say; “I dunit, but I never knew it as I was doing it.”

  • Guy,

    RE: comments being eaten by spam analyser …

    Consider external attacks if they have not modified the software or hardware lately.

    RE: the conversation with Erlich …


  • Darwin fails to explain evolution.
    How can a gene accidently camouflage an octopus.
    Religion cannot explain life.
    We do not live past death.
    Science cannot explain the universe.
    There are no parallel universes or faster than light space travel.

    Here’s what we got:
    A Call In The Dark
    Screwing with earth’s lighting system while we make disposable phones is stupid.

    brain turds

    Klein = Ford Cars & Oil Billionaire Rockefellers
    She tells us to divest and that green NGOs are corrupted by money, yet she says she doesn’t know were her money comes from except that her husband’s video project about her life is funded by the oil-investor Ford Foundation. The Rockefellers fund her and 350.org to make sure governments and corporations get control of future carbon taxes, instead of returning it all to you, the one who will pay them. The Rockefellers invented the oil age, they are now inventing the carbon age because they are smart. It’s not complicated.

    brain farts

    James Hansen wants you to get 100% of your carbon taxes back, the Rockefellers want some.
    General Electric and Westinghouse own nuclear/renewable energy.
    They will tear earth apart along with Monsanto to sell you perishable, part-time mineral energy commodities.
    Food is the renting of minerals and energy, we are just water, minerals and energy.

    It is literally impossible to continually replace for 9 billion people limited mineral commodities as perishable, intermittent, energy. Recycling their alloys is dirtier and uses more energy than mining for them does. All humanity is already post-peak food in several major categories. Post peak water is here now. Post peak energy and minerals is soon. Financial collapse is first. You were told house prices will go up forever and now you are told solar-wind energy is forever. We have to pay for it. Nuclear waste won’t clean up itself. We are in an emissions-depletion-extinction free-fall. Splitting into renewable vs. nuclear opposition prevents action to save our life on earth.

    brain rush

    Down To Earth Solutions
    If we mixed charcoal with 2% of earth’s soils, we can offset carbon emissions 100%.
    Mixing charcoal into soil is 6X more efficient than anything else we can do.
    Mixing fossil plankton shells into soil remedies nuclear waste in ways unexplainable.
    We can produce energy that pulls more carbon out of the air than it emits.
    Check out: http://peaksurfer.blogspot.ca/2015/02/fuke-undo.html
    Or: http://peaksurfer.blogspot.ca

    brain recipe

    Money Is The Air We Breathe
    Our mass agriculture and livestock are to blame for 80% of species extinctions.
    If we don’t take action like yesterday, our life will start coming to a complete and full no-going-back stop. period. The only way to do this is to use money to cut across all national, racial and sexual barriers. We have to recognize carbon as a new world currency. Ocean plankton is declining 1% per year, at this rate it will be 100% gone in 70 years. This won’t matter, because when it is more than 50% gone, you can’t breathe.

  • Despite Guy’s cautionary comment, above, I’ll give this a shot at 12:35pm ET.

    Absolutely outstanding conversation. I very much enjoyed hearing Dr. Erlich’s comments and virtual agreement with your perspective, Guy. I was especially gratified when Dr. Erlich mentioned “the education system is broken” as I have been trying to make the same point for more than two decades. Moreover, it’s the entire system of “living arrangements” that is broken, but that is only from an observational and logical point of view. It may very well be that the system is, and has been, operating just as it had been designed to do, i.e. always, only and exclusively for the benefit of a very small group of utterly deranged people, all other priorities rescinded. The ONLY thing Ayn Rand MAY have gotten correct, “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that [at least] one of them is wrong.

  • At 25:12 Paul Ehrlich says: “If you book passage on the Titanic, there’s no point in going steerage.”

    A Conversation with Paul Ehrlich


    If you’re traveling transoceanic,
    Don’t go steerage on the Titanic;
    Rather, shoot for the moon,
    On account of quite soon,
    You’ll degrade and become inorganic.

  • Alan Watts breaks down what’s wrong with the world (1970)

  • Bud Nye said this:

    “Meanwhile, best evidence suggests that genocides and warfare have existed throughout all of Homo sapiens’ history, so that statement also amounts to a misleading oversimplification.”

    and this:
    “Humans have committed warfare, including genocides, based on bigotry and racist thinking from our beginnings, long, long before any civilization arose”

    Mr Nye, kindly provide evidence of warfare and genocides committed by people living in small bands prior to the advent of civilisation/agriculture.

    Before the advent of “history” (circa maybe 5000 years ago in some places) there is no written record/evidence of anything pertaining to genocide or war. How can you or anyone presume to know that which you have so confidently stated?
    It is all interpretation and supposition that inevitably comes from an institutionalized/civilised paradigm.

    Pre history is exactly what it says it is-no record, just opinion and interpretation. And yes, I have read much anthropological and archaeological literature over the years including the radical wings of such disciplines as voiced by the likes of Theresa Kintz and Chris Knight.

  • .
    Let us not nit-pic, the obvious truth is that we humans are destroying the biosphere. I stand behind my earlier comments:
    Civilization is the root of all evil.
    We should return to the wild. Kill nothing. Eat only that which falls from the trees. Sleep on the ground. Drink from the river. Plant no crops, build no cities.

    Helping people become responsible, acceptable and productive members of civilization is only fueling the flames that will eventually destroy us all. The best we can do is limit our consumption – do not aspire to own things – live simply. Do not have children.
    Do not have children.
    Shut down everything. Decommission the toxic infrastructure of industrial civilization.
    let our sacrifice be ourselves
    repent and atone

  • At 3:37 Paul Ehrlich says: “How to avoid the nuts? Impossible.”

    They Don’t Realize They’re Crazy

    Oblivious minds running ruts
    Are for guys with their heads up their butts;
    Their twisted position
    Blocks optic transmission
    And that’s why they can’t see their nuts.

  • This is one of the mindsets that cannot be reached.

    There are at least a hundred of them in the U.S. congress:

    Likely the closest biblical examples of what could be considered climate change would be the end times disasters prophesied in Revelation 6–18. Yet these prophecies have nothing to do with greenhouse gas emissions; rather, they are the result of the wrath of God, pouring out justice on an increasingly wicked world. Also, a Christian must remember that God is in control and that this world is not our home.”

    The Pope has such a different view that there appears to be an increasing religious confusion with the issues of global warming induced climate change (Doom Is A Government Department – 3, @comments).

  • congrats to Guy, having this heavy come out in full support is totally awesome.
    i remember doing a grade nine project on the population bomb, i used his book.

  • http://westerndigs.org/skeletons-in-utah-cave-are-victims-of-prehistoric-war-study-says/



    This is pretty cool:

    The ancients’ capacity for violence seems, if anything, greater than our own.

    I know this is not the older sort of evidence you would like, but… since turnabout is fair play.. do you think that humans instantly became Violent, became a different creature, in the short space of a few thousand years?

    It seems as though you acknowledge your position to be a religious one: since no one can disprove [the existence of God / ancient human benevolence], it must be true, or at least conceivable? Why?

    The proof of how humans have been for as long as we have records of their existence points to a common sort of behavior. I would say that it is the more extraordinary claim to posit that, outside of the data set we do have, somehow it was magically otherwise. It’s certainly possible, but unlikely. Other primates have shown murderous aggression against members of their own species; arguing that ancient humans behaved differently both from other primates and from modern humans is the weaker case, and so I think it is you who should provide the preponderance of evidence.

    People arguing here about human nature mainly have the defect of not stepping back enough, away from “what it means to be Human”, and towards “what does it mean to be a living organism which is an energy collector and conduit, like all life-forms on the planet”?

    If plants and trees did not compete, they would all arrange themselves flat on the ground to share the solar power.. but they do not, do they? They grow up and over each other and strangle each other and crowd each other out. You just don’t choose to see this as violence.

    Humans evolved as top predators. In the yawning, abyssal, absence of other things to predate upon, it’s to be expected we turn on ourselves.

    There is absolutely no warrant to hold “human nature” somehow apart from “nature nature”. I find it ironic that folks from among the significant group of “spiritualists” who comment here are the ones who seem to be making this dualist argument.

  • Nice to hear from Paul Ehrlich in the flesh. i read his book in college with a bunch of other books that steered my worldview to one of doubt about the role of civilization, how warped and uncooperative human nature seems to be, and questioning everything we’re doing. i had already proven to myself that ‘infinite growth’ and even ‘progress’ was utterly ignorant, that tv and cars were about the worst inventions ever (then they came up with nuclear power plants to top that!), and began to realize that humanity was doing everything it could to hasten its own demise (especially growing up under the shadow of The Bomb). He was correct about limiting population, but no one is going to touch that, so we’re stuck. We should have stayed hunter-gatherers and lived to maybe 30, but it’s probably working out exactly as it is supposed to – we get to learn our lesson. To bad we couldn’t have done it right the first time.

  • So who is first to be thrown under the bus? The indigenous people!


    Up to 200 indigenous communities in Australia could lose access to power and water because the government says it can no longer afford to deliver the basic services.

    The remote communities are mainly located across the northern tip of Australia and the Kimberley in the country’s northwest. The federal government announced late last year that it would stop paying for the utilities, making states responsible for the communities. The Western Australia (WA) state government says it can’t afford to cover the costs. (go ahead, read the rest)

  • Thanks Guy, Paul, and Pauline for the wonderful conversation!

    kill switch,

    Yep. Watts does a great job of emphasizing our extremely popular, strong tendency to confuse the symbols we construct with the realities that those symbols (fantasies, words, mathematics, art, all thinking, and so on) at best only “represent”. Why, I wonder, would so many here insist that we supposedly started this confusion (arbitrarily) only with post-agricultural civilizations? Why would a large percentage of us not have made that fundamental error from the beginnings of our ability to symbolize long, long before we invented agriculture? Perhaps someone who insists that it supposedly started only with agriculture will respond to this question?

    Gerald Spezio,

    Our failure to manage our population within the carrying capacity limits of the land bases on which we have lived from our earliest beginnings appears most fundamentally to exist as the root cause of our Earth killing for at least 50,000 years, meanwhile you liberally criticize Paul Ehrlich. I feel most curious to know what YOU propose humans would have best done in the past, as well as more recently, in order for us to have managed our population within the carrying capacity of those local land bases.

    red fox,

    February 12th, 2015 at 11:43 am you wrote “Mr Nye, kindly provide evidence of warfare and genocides committed by people living in small bands prior to the advent of civilisation/agriculture.”

    I feel glad to provide a partial list of references. The five books that I will mention at the beginning of that list contain many, many more references than the list itself.

    But before providing that list I will address this comment. You wrote “Before the advent of ‘history’ (circa maybe 5000 years ago in some places) there is no written record/evidence of anything pertaining to genocide or war. How can you or anyone presume to know that which you have so confidently stated? It is all interpretation and supposition that inevitably comes from an institutionalized/civilised paradigm. Pre history is exactly what it says it is-no record, just opinion and interpretation. And yes, I have read much anthropological and archaeological literature over the years including the radical wings of such disciplines as voiced by the likes of Theresa Kintz and Chris Knight.”

    You appear not to realize that with these statements you have written off pretty much all of astronomy, geology, evolution (via both natural selection and sexual selection), archaeology, and anthropology. The only evidence that matters involves that written by humans over about the past 5,000 years in some parts of the world? This statement, it seems to me, serves as an excellent, emphatic example of an arrogant, human-centered philosophy. Now a list of references as you requested:

    Masters of the Planet, The Search For Our Human Origins, Ian Tattersall, 2012, Curator of the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, American Museum of Natural History.

    Cannibalism and Human Sacriofice , Garry Hogg, 1958.

    War Before Civilization, Lawrence Keeley, 1996, Professor, Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago.

    The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee, Jared Diamond, 1991.

    Constant Battles, Stephen LeBlanc, 2003, archaeologist and former director of collections at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum.

    Extinction of animals in the Late Pleistocene and Early Recent era are described comprehensively in the book edited by Paul Martin and Richard Klein, Quaternary Extinctions (University of Arizonia Press, Tucson, 1984). For the history of deforestation, see John Perlin’s book A Forest Journey (Norton, New York, 1989).

    Comprehensive accounts of New Zealand’s plants, animals, geology, and climate will be found in a book edited by G. Kuschel, Biogeography and Ecology in New Zealand (Junk, V.T. Hague, 1975). New Zealand examples of extinction are summarized in chapters 32—34 of the book by Martin and Klein, cited above. Moas are the subject of a supplement to the New Zealand Journal of Ecology, Vol. XII (1989); see especially the articles by Richard Holdaway on pp. 11-25, and by lan Atkinson and R.M. Greenwood on pp. 67-96. Other key articles relevant to moas are by G. Caughley, “The colonization of New Zealand by the Polynesians”, Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 18, pp. 245-70 (1988), and by A. Anderson, “Mechanics of overkill in the extinction of New Zealand moas”, Journal of Archaeological Science 16, pp. 137-151 (1989).

    Examples of extinction in Madagascar and Hawaii are described in Chapters 26 and 35 respectively of the book by Martin and Klein, cited above. The Henderson Island story is told by David Steadman and Storrs Olson, “Bird remains from an archaeological site on Henderson Island, South Pacific: man-caused extinctions on an “uninhabited” island”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 82, pp. 6191-95 (1985). See under suggested reading for Chapter Eighteen for accounts of species’ extinction in the Americas.

    The grisly end of Easter Island civilization is recounted by Patrick V. Kirch in his book The Evolution of the Polynesian Chiefdoms (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984). Easter’s deforestation was reconstructed by J. Flenley, ‘Stratigraphic evidence of environmental change on Easter Island’, Asian Perspectives 22, pp. 33-40 (1979), and by J. Henley and S. King, ‘Late Quaternary pollen records from Easter Island’, Nature 307, pp. 47- 50 (1984).

    Some accounts of the rise and fall of Anasazi settlement at Chaco Canyon are J.L. Betancourt and T.R. Van Devender, ‘Holocene vegetation in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico’, Science 214, pp. 656-58 (1981); M.L. Samuels and J.L. Betancourt, ‘Modeling the long-term effects of fuelwood harvests on pinyon-juniper woodlands’, Environmental Management 6, pp. 505-15 (1982);J.L. Betancourt etal, ‘Prehistoric long-distance transport of construction beams, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico’, American Antiquity 51, pp. 370-75 (1986); Kendrick Frazier, People of Chaco: A Canyon and its Culture (Norton, New York, 1986); and Alden C. Hayes et al, Archaeological Surveys of Chaco Canyon (University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1987).

    Everything that anyone would want to know about Packrat Middens is described in the eponymous book by Julio Betancourt, Thomas Van Devender, and Paul Martin (University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1990). In particular, Chapter Nineteen of that book analyses the hyrax middens from Petra.

    The possible link between environmental damage and the decline of Greek civilization is explored by K.O. Pope and T.H. Van Andel in’Late Quaternary civilization and soil formation in the southern Argolid: its history, causes and archaeological implications’, Journal of Archaeological Science 11, pp. 281-306 (1984); T.H. van Andel etal, ‘Five thousand years of land use and abuse in the southern Argolid’, Hesperia 55, pp. 103-28 (1986); and C. Runnels and T.H. van Andel, ‘The evolution of settlement in the southern Argolid, Greece: an economic explanation’, Hesperia 56, pp. 303-34 (1987).

    Books on the rise and fall of Maya civilization include those by T. Patrick Culbert, The Classic Maya Collapse (University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1973); Michael D. Coe, The Maya, 3rd edition (Thames and Hudson, London, 1984); Sylvanus G. Morley et al, The Ancient Maya, 4th edition (Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1983); and Charles Gallenkamp, Maya: The Riddle and Rediscovery of A Lost Civilization, 3rd revised edition (Viking Penguin, New York, 1985).

    For a comparative account of collapses of civilizations, see The Collapse of Ancient States and Civilizations, edited by Norman Yoffee and George L. Cowgill (University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1988).

    Three books provide good starting points and many references to the large, contentious literature on human settlement and the extinction of large animals in the New World. They are the book by Paul Martin and Richard Klein cited under Chapter Seventeen; Brian Pagan, The Great Journey (Thames and Hudson, New York, 1987); and Ronald C. Carlisle (editor), Americans Before Columbus: Ice-Age Origins (Ethnology Monographs No. 12, Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, 1988).

  • This is interesting. Highest daily Earth temperature (land surface) in the year I have been looking at this site:


  • One of the worst offenders on the planet earth was Ronald Reagan. Paul Craig Roberts is still defending the bastard.

    Also for you Henry Giroux fans I ran across an article by him about two movies: The Sniper one and SELMA. He praised Selma but he cud not have read an article on Black Agenda report that trashes both films. Turns out the Selma movie by her majesty OPRAH has one of the civil rights characters portrayed as a youth when in actual fact he was OLDER than MLK. Everything is a piece of shit. I will post it separately because I have a new computer and do not know how to work the damn thing yet.

  • Thanks for doing this,Guy.Paul and Anne Ehrlich have been and still are tireless in their efforts to bring ecological literacy to the populace.All their books are worth reading.At one point,he mentions that Obama and Holdren are trapped and the system is unbelievable.We are all trapped and industrial civilisation is inherently unsustainable.Fellow passengers on the Titanic.
    Gerald Spezio,
    About 2 years ago you made a similar attack on Paul Ehrlich.I posted a fairly long reply pointing out the errors in your comment.I can’t be bothered doing it again.I shall leave it to others if they are inclined to do so.

  • Read this Gireaux: http://blackagendareport.com/node/14382

    This is the article I promised in the post just above.

  • Curious. No one has acknowledged Gerald Spezios very perceptive comments. It is clear that the worlds consumers are inclined to pass the buck whilst patting themselves on their backs.

  • karl marx,

    I do not read the long, long comments so I skipped Spezio’s.

    I have now just it and I think the dude is correct. The verdict goes to Commoner, hands down, It is so friggin’ obvious.

    Glad you directed me.

  • http://leavingbabylon.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/whodunit-the-foragers/

    Horses with halters… “violence”.. or??

    Whodunit? The foragers.

    Dogs diverged genetically from wolves more than 100,000 years ago, during the previous warm interglacial. Did humans have anything to do with it? The oldest known dog skeletons are from 36 and 33,000 years ago, found in Belgium and Siberia. A child was exploring the Chauvet cave, using a torch to look at the artwork while a dog followed… 26,000 years ago, well before the Ice Age Maximum.

    When the cold began to let up, some 17,000 years ago, the people of the Pyrenees living at the Isteritz cave took such good care of a reindeer with a broken leg, it survived for two years (viz Paul Bahn: Pre-neolithic control of animals, 1984, and his response to ongoing controversy). By 15,000 years ago, pictures of horses with rope halters appear in the Magdalenian cave art of SW France.

    Foragers created the first magnificent art. They built the first temples and the first high-density towns with thousands of inhabitants. They invented ovens and kilns, cookworthy pottery, wine and beer. They clearly domesticated the dog and probably tamed reindeer and horses.

    So perhaps it’s not such a stretch to believe that they also domesticated the pigs, sheep and goats and a whole slew of plants, from grains to squash, gourds, and legumes, to delicacies like chocolate, vanilla, and chili peppers. Even more amazingly, it was rock-shelter dwelling, semi-nomadic foragers who spent hundreds of years patiently experimenting with the unpromising teosinte to bring about maize. Then they spent thousands of years more improving the new tiny-cobbed plant before settling down to grow it as a staple.

    If a group of foragers plants a plot of squash near their favorite cave, then comes back in late summer to harvest their bounty, can they legitimately be called farmers? If another group of foragers raises some pigs while living off wild foods (and eating no cereals), can they be called farmers? If Egyptian foragers throw a bunch of traded domesticated wheat down into the rich alluvial mud on the banks of the Nile, perhaps to brew some beer, but otherwise live the hunting-fishing-gathering lifestyle, how are they any different from the Californian native foragers or the Aborigines who spread some favorite seeds and flooded them by diverting a creek’s spring runoff? Perhaps we need a new term, one that would reflect the foragers’ sophisticated plant manipulation skills that nevertheless did not, by themselves, lead to the predominantly farming life.

    Archeologists have been, in my opinion, far too eager to brand cultures as farmers on flimsy evidence. It appears that farming is much younger than previously claimed. The first farming village was found in Egypt, dated to only 7,000 years ago. As Melinda A. Zeder, an archeobiologist, states:

    This broad middle ground between wild and domestic, foraging and farming, hunting and herding makes it hard to draw clean lines of demarcation between any of these states. Perhaps this is the greatest change in our understanding of agricultural origins since 1995. The finer-resolution picture we are now able to draw of this process in the Near East (and, as seen in the other contributions to this volume, in other world areas) not only makes it impossible to identify any threshold moments when wild became domestic or hunting and gathering became agriculture but also shows that drawing such distinctions actually impedes rather than improves our understanding of this process. Instead of continuing to try to pigeonhole these concepts into tidy definitional categories, a more productive approach would be to embrace the ambiguity of this middle ground and continue to develop tools that allow us to watch unfolding developments within this neither-nor territory.

  • Complaints with 3 things that Paul Ehrlich said:

    Not including the fact that he talked too much and didn’t let Guy add his bits.

    1. Grameen bank and World Bank: Paul actually “approves of” these institutions except that they don’t work, which he acknowledges. Fact is they actually work quite well for what they are designed to do: throw millions of rural farmers and others into debt peonage and coerce them into the money economy. Paul must not have read John Perkins and other economic hitmen and he seems to misunderstand the role of banking institutions. I often hear people saying (including the Chief Economist at Google) “we got to take care of those poor people, you know, those who are living on less than two dollars a day, blah blah…” They are either ignorant or lying. For those of us who live on dollars and other modern currencies, the poor people’s situation sounds pitiable. The fact is they don’t need dollars or pounds. They meet most of their subsistence needs in their communities, trading and exchanging with each other in informal ways, before the long hand of the market starts interfering with their lives and puts a value on everything they do. And when that starts, of course, they are living on less than two dollars a day. It’s like we go to a tribal person and say he must be poor and starving because he doesn’t make any money. No, thank you, the forest provides his family everything they need, including the best tasting sweetest honey civilized city dwellers could only dream of. And 200 different types of foods. Talk about a wholesome diet. McDonalds, anyone? Imagine an Asian upon finding out that people in the West don’t eat much rice exclaiming, “what? you eat less than a cup of rice a week? you must be poor? we must do something… let’s send you some rice”. Money is not part of their lives. We impose it on them.

    That’s what imperialism and development aid are about: take away local subsistence sources of people in the “third world” and the “global south” and force them to work for money. Force them to replace their food crops with cash crops that will fetch a “market rate” in the “free market”. Oh, here’s a cellphone that will help you find the best price for your palm oil and soy that we will buy and burn in our cars and feed to our pigs, respectively. Come join the party! The prices we decide for your products in our glass-walled skyscrapers in Chicago and London should take care of you. What? Your kids are starving? You can always move to the city and sleep on the sidewalks until you find a “job”. This is what the Grameen bank and the World Bank are about. You can do better, Paul.

    2. +1 to Gerald Spezio about Barry Commoner: if only the developed world stops flooding world markets with cheap petroleum derived, government subsidized starchy foods that undercut local food production and drive farmers to suicide. A farmer kills himself every half hour in India due to the nexus between the centralized Indian government, local state governments, World Bank “development” policies, and the likes of Monsanto. Yes, population is a problem indeed. But keep in mind that millions of kids in the “developing” world consume less and pollute less than household poodles in the “developed” world.

    3. Very smug about being able to walk to the Stanford campus! I know people here in the SF Bay Area who bought the fancy Tesla electric cars and think they are carbon neutral. There’s no end to the tricks we play on ourselves. The educated professionals around here don’t seem to mind the gentrification happening all over the place. So while they walk or bike from their Million dollar homes to work, the people who cook their food, babysit their offspring, clean their homes and cubicles, mow their lawns and otherwise keep everything functioning smoothly are driving in from 40 or 50 miles away. Pollution happens! One way or another.

    Having said that, Paul still deserves credit for talking about unpalatable topics and warning humanity as long ago as he did.

  • Mr Nye,
    I asked for evidence not a list of books that are based on interpretation and supposition (as are all to do with social studies). I have certainly not written off other disciplines that deal with the other subjects. That is your interpretation that suits your particular style in setting up a strawman. I was asking the particular question that arose from the two statements that you made-nothing else. I was not asking for information about the demise of previous civilisations; I am aware of these facts. I am not even saying that my view is correct. I am trying to point out that for every book or statement suggesting a particular view of human beings behaviour prior to civilisation and history there will be another giving a contrary view.
    I too could give a list of books and references citing a contrary view to yours but there is no point. The whole reason I brought this up was to highlight that statements made as “fact” are in reality statements made on opinion or it seems in others opinion.
    You have stated in the past that people who do not buy the story that you promote are locked into a “romantic” or Rosseauian mindset. Contra to this, I suggest that the view that humans “have always been this way (ie warlike and genocidal)” points to a mindset that is Hobbesian and scientistic.

    A side note; I seem to remember that there is opinion (not fact of course ;) that prior to the advent of civilisation the total world human population was in the region of 4-10 million and it is likely that this consisted of small bands of 50 or so, up to possibly 150. That being the case I would be hard pushed to conclude that such small numbers would be capable of genocide on a scale with say that perpetrated in Rwanda or North America for example. Not only that, such a thinly spread population would rarely come into contact with others. That is my supposition anyway and that is all it is!

  • Lidia,
    I’m not sure if your prior comment was directed at me or in general. I believe we are talking at cross purposes if you were directing it at me. I looked at the four links and they all relate to events post civilisation not to the Paleolithic period. As such, population levels would be much higher, etc etc. I questioned Mr Nye on his statements because as is well known by now, the majority of Homo’s life on this planet is reckoned to have been spent before the advent of civilisation (99+% if the opinion is to be believed?).
    So, you appear to be referencing the Neolithic,Bronze, Iron age periods post Civ. I certainly agree that these periods witnessed an increasing level of violence culminating in warfare and genocides. I dispute however that these facts can be extrapolated backwards to the other 99% of human “history” given the lack of such evidence from Paleolithic times.
    Behaviour within 1% of a timespan does not necessarily imply the same behaviour in the other 99% considering the vastly different living arrangements and proximity stress that increasing population caused within the paradigm of increasing civilisation. Again, just my opinion though!

    NB that 1% and 99% is artistic licence of course as that 99% was not all HSS. Perhaps a better demarcation would be Paleolithic against post advent of civ.

  • Great links Lidia!

    kevin: to follow the wonderful interview with PCR above, check this out


    “We Honestly Have No Fucking Idea What We’re Doing”, Admits Leading Quantum Physicist

  • lidia,

    “Dogs diverged genetically from wolves more than 100,000 years ago,…”

    Not sure! In “The Wolf in the Parlor”, Jon Franklin says, “… we humans have a tendency to change the universe to match our theories.”

    More importantly he also states, “The other fact that dropped into the equation was the persistent matter of cranial capacity. At precisely this geological moment, SOME TWELVE THOUSAND YEARS AGO, the human lost 10% of its brain mass… And as that new, smaller brained but somehow smarter animal walked out of the swirling fog of time, it was NOT ALONE. It was accompanied by, of all things, a mutant wolf… It would ultimately be proved that only a few genes separated the dog from the wolf…”


    In the above book is the following quotation! Since I count you as a Grateful Dead expert, IS THE FOLLOWING TRUE!

    “…to again quote Khrushchev, the living would envy the dead. (For young readers, that’s where the rock group the Grateful Dead got its name.”

  • Tom,

    RE: “We Honestly Have No Fucking Idea What We’re Doing”, Admits Leading Quantum Physicist.

    I knew it!

  • Off the subject but very topical!

    Ukraine: The preparations for a real European war are on a serious footing now.

    You might already know, but just in case… I read this in the German magazine “Der Spiegel”:

    The US air force is moving a dozen A-10 Thunderbolts, the infamous warthogs, to their US base Spangdahlen in the far West of Germany (Rheinland-Pfalz, near the French border) this weekend and “is not ruling out moving them further East”. Maybe already into Poland?

    Remember that terrible photo from the 1st Irak war, all those tanks and trucks shot to pieces with charred bodies hanging from the wreckage,a so-called iconic picture? Apparently this image from hell records the damage inflicted by only 10 warthogs. So here in Europe, we’re now getting 12, two more to defend democracy – they ARE serious.

    I looked those monsters up in Wiki just now and found that they fire 3900 rounds per minute, depleted uranium armour piecing shells.

    Poor, poor souls living there. I can’t get them out of my mind, like all those desperate people in war zones everywhere. It’s relentless!
    Territorial male pissing contests (sorry nice men out there), nothing ever changes. What will the Russian do now? They will be forced to retaliate, try and piss higher.
    When I was a child/young person in Germany in the 50s and 60s, my Dad used to tell us not to worry, should the Cold War hot up, because we (the Germans) would be dead and gone within three minutes. Therefore, we wouldn’t suffer. England is not much further away. Should I be still comforted by this thought? I’m not.

    Bomb destruction is on my mind today, on the 70th “anniversary” of the bombing of Dresden. Mind you, little brother, the Royal air force “raised that particular hell”. But then they were “baddie” too, just like the people of Russian decent in Eastern Ukraine are now. So what the heck!

  • THEORETICAL Quantum Physicist Dr. Amit Goswami admitted today that he, and his peers, have absolutely ‘no fucking idea’ what they’re doing, and claims they were no nearer than prehistoric man to figuring out the Universe.
    “We have been just winging it to tell you the truth,” explained the 78-year-old in an exclusive interview with WWN. “Seriously, I haven’t a clue what’s going on. Either does anyone else in my field. We keep proving stuff that never actually happened”.

    “Our cover is blown, what can I say? He added.

    Dr. Goswami’s comments came after yet another alleged breakthrough in quantum mechanics which claims the universe has existed forever, as opposed to being created by a ‘big bang’.

    “Over the years there have been just a handful of us pretending to know something about the universe that no one else does,” he went on. “But this is all lies to feed the charade. I’ve had some great times during the years; travelling the world, and giving talks on our pretend finds”.

    When asked how he got away with it for so long, he replied: “I found out a long time ago that everything can be proven with a mathematical equation. Now, I mean everything; from unicorns, fire-breathing dragons, God and even the G-spot. None of it is true. Me and the handful that know the truth have been riding the Quantum Physicist celebrity wave for quite some time now, but it must end – before someone gets hurt”.

    The University of Oregon professor warned that the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, could potentially wipe out the entire planet if the project is not put to a halt.

    “Seriously, when myself, Higgs and Ben (Benjamin Lockspeiser CERN’s first president) first pitched the idea, we never thought it would get funding. It was gonna cost billions for Christs sake,” he recalled. “Fuck knows what the thing does – no one does. Firing particles at each other at the speed of light can’t end well. I’m just worried now we took the joke too far”.

    Ending the interview, professor Goswami apologised for “spoofing” everybody over the years.

    “I’m coming near the end of my days now and I just want to get this off my chest,” he said. “I just hope the world can forgive us”.


  • Great video Guy, Paul and Pauline. At least it’s on topic. Been a fan of Paul Erlich since the nineteen seventies. Thanks.

  • Dear Benjamin: I swear I’d rather read one or two of your limericks these days than another long, analytical and (for me)overly cerebral essay or comment(and I know there’s room for every kind of expression and response. Just sayin’

    When all else is said and done
    When we find that there’s nowhere to run
    Then the truth will shine plain
    Through the horror and pain.
    What truth? That Love only remains.

    And, Ben, forgive my almost impossible-to-repress inner editor, but, last line of your last poem:

    ‘And that’s why they can’t see their nuts.’

    I suppose with head planted firmly in ass it would be impossible for a fellow to see his nuts (although he’d get a good look on the way there). There, their, they’re…funny old language.

    I know it’s impolite to tamper with another’s versification (or prose-ification – pontification is fair game, I think), but what do you think about:

    ‘Which is why they can’t see that they’re nuts’

    I do admit having some trouble with the ‘proper’ rhythm and scanning, the beat and emphasis of a limerick, so may have over-stretched (over-stepped?) the line.

    And is there a rhyming convention? Do lines 1,2 & 5 HAVE to rhyme? Ditto 3 & 4? (In which case my feeble though heart-felt effort is inadmissible.) Or is leeway allowed at the end of the day?

    Anyway, I have a great affection for your verse and was pleased to come across two in one morning. If I can toss in a few more volumes for free shipping, I believe I’ll buy your book.

  • ed Says:
    February 13th, 2015 at 7:15 am

    THEORETICAL Quantum Physicist Dr. Amit Goswami admitted today that he, and his peers, have absolutely ‘no fucking idea’ what they’re doing, and claims they were no nearer than prehistoric man to figuring out the Universe.

    Don’t eat the onions.

    Because we are here where the snow has many colors.

  • red fox,

    You wrote “I asked for evidence not a list of books that are based on interpretation and supposition (as are all to do with social studies).”

    The list of books and other references I provided PRESENT THE EVIDENCE that you asked for. Might I suggest that you take a careful look at them?

    You wrote “I have certainly not written off other disciplines that deal with the other subjects. That is your interpretation that suits your particular style in setting up a strawman.”

    You had insisted that only evidence written by a few humans over the past 5,000 years has any validity. With this insistence, correct: it did seem clear to me that you had written of the scientific disciplines that I mentioned. I do not see how I have supposedly erected any kind of straw man argument here.

    You wrote “I too could give a list of books and references citing a contrary view to yours but there is no point.”

    Great! Please do provide your list of references citing views contrary to the ones expressed in the references I presented and often refer to, including dates of publication.

    Regarding your last point concerning genocide, if one group completely eliminates another group including all men, women, and children—as early groups of humans often did far more often than occurs in warfare today—then they committed genocide whether the number of individuals killed equaled 50, 5,000, 50,000, or 50 million. Genocide refers to the systematic killing of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, etc. and we might also call it “race murder” or “race extermination”. If, to the best of one group’s knowledge, they have killed all of another ethnic, religious, political, or social status group, then they have committed genocide.

  • @ ed: Forgot to say it before, very nice limerick!

    @ lark: Thank you so very much! I really appreciate your comment! ☺

    Yes, the rhyme scheme is mandatory, although occasionally I rhyme all the lines just for fun. The quintessential limerick IMHO, the model for all of my work, the ground of all limerick being, maybe be found here
    under “Ribald versions.” It used to be included here
    but a few years ago was removed and given its own much-harder-to-find page for some reason or other. (Talk about our degrading environment! South Park keeps censoring more and more of its old shows on TV too. Dammit.)

    My book is minimally priced, no royalties, etc. to make it easily available (Amazon keeps changing it to different lower prices for some reason, currently $2.87, and you can read a big chunk of it with the “Look inside” feature). But yes, the shipping (as a single item) costs more than the book! :D

    Your limerick is excellent because of its content.

  • RE: “We Honestly Have No Fucking Idea What We’re Doing”, Admits Leading Quantum Physicist.

    You all might want to read the disclaimer of the web site this “interview” comes from:

    “Waterford Whispers News is a fabricated satirical newspaper and comedy website published by Waterford Whispers News.
    Waterford Whispers News uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases when public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.”

  • Gerald Spazio-

    You want Ehrlich to apologize for offering a spot-on correct solution to the most monumental issue to confront mankind and life on earth? The proximate cause for the myraid of apocalyptic environmental issues is: TOO MANY PEOPLE AND TOO FEW RESOURCES. Quite the contrary Gerlad, I commend Ehrlich for his courage in diagnosing the fundemental sickness and offering a doable cure. Desperate times demand bold responses, otherwise the outcome is extinction for virtually all life on Earth.

  • Ed,
    Thanks for the reference re; Quantum Physics professor Goswami. The only real use for quantum rhetoric should be regarding ‘Quantum Histrionics’. Any PHD who tells you how things are has not yet discovered that he/she knows next to nothing and should not hold a PHD. If and when our doctors admit that the comprehensive knowledge of any field of study at this moment in time is about as significant as a single drop of water in the Pacific, he/she is a person worth listening to.
    Haydukes Monkey…. I can sell you the Brooklyn Bridge…. lol

  • great talk with Paul
    enjoyed it

  • People on this site are sure to have a lot say. I wonder how much is read and listened to.

  • “The only evidence that matters involves that written by humans over about the past 5,000 years in some parts of the world? This statement, it seems to me, serves as an excellent, emphatic example of an arrogant, human-centered philosophy.”

    This is where you, Bud, violate your own proposed standards. You are the first to make the discussion personal and to personally insult red fox when that person remains on the topic, and not ad hominem, which you claim to abhor.

    Yet, you are the first to toss an ad hominem when you judge/evaluate what red fox has written as “arrogant, human-centered philosophy.” His views are not inadequate because of facts, but because red fox is “arrogant.” Verbal abuse, devaluing, making it personal instead of having the discipline to stick to the issue.

  • I would appreciate advice from someone computer savy why Guys video does not download properly for persons connecting outside the US while other YouTube videos are received without issue. Any suggestions how to remedy this? Thank you.

  • Jean,

    I’m not entirely sure why you think I’m so gullible (or “lol” funny) as to want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge from one who appears to believe in an alleged interview from a self-proclaimed satirical web site as a valid “reference” point.

    More astonishing is your complete and utter lack of irony regarding the statement that: “Any PHD who tells you how things are has not yet discovered that he/she knows next to nothing and should not hold a PHD,” and “If and when our doctors admit that the comprehensive knowledge of any field of study is about as significant as a single drop of water in the Pacific, he/she is a person worth listening to.”

    Yet here you are on the web site of a guy, who just happens to also hold a Ph.D., promoting his idea — based on what we all presume is some “comprehensive knowledge” of information in the climate change and other “field[s] of study” — of our NTHE, and then lol-ing at me with your Brooklyn Bridge comment!

    Go figure.

  • A newspaper article from this week:

    Interesting quote in it is this:

    Panel chairwoman Marcia McNutt, editor of the journal Science and former director of the U.S. Geological Survey, said the public should read this report “and say, ‘This is downright scary.’ And they should say, ‘If this is our Hail Mary, what a scary, scary place we are in.’ “

  • OldGrowthForest, that is not an example of a personal attack. A personal attack would be to say: YOU are arrogant. That’s not what Bud said. As so often happens, the “spiritually inclined” is the first to make a personal attack. What else is new.

    But I mainly wanted to say, it was a delight to see Paul Ehrlich on this site, thanks Guy (and Pauline) – and,

    Gerald Spezio, I find your argument hilarious because it is so evident it is self-contradictory. It’s not that I haven’t seen it elsewhere, but never so clearly demonstrating the essential predicament humanity faces. You say the problem isn’t population in the poor countries, it is the level of consumption of the rich people – and the solution, which will reduce the rate of population growth, is to make poor people…rich. LOL

    You can’t have both if you are to have a world without injustice – either everyone must be “poor” (by which I mean subsistence level) in which case we can’t lower population (if only because modern birth control won’t exist) – or everyone must be rich (by which I mean, have access to electricity and gasoline), in which case the emissions and pollution and habitat destruction are likewise intolerable.

    The issues are intertwined and inseparable – population and consumption are both unsustainable, and have been rising exponentially for tens of thousands of years.

    There is no way out that isn’t morally repugnant, aside from being diametrically opposed to human instincts to grow.

  • You are incorrect, Gail. It is personal. To say that a person’s opinion is arrogant is to say the person is arrogant, because it is the person who holds the opinion. Those two things are inseparable, however much those who want to be destructive but hold no responsibility for their actions wish to say otherwise.

    All devaluing, all negative characterizations, all insults are personal and ad hominem. All of them.

    And frankly, I won’t go with you to that level, either in responding or regarding you, expressing some judgment or opinion of how you supposedly are, characterizing you in some way, and it’s not because I’m above it. I honestly do not know. I have no clue.

    I don’t want those kinds of opinions about people. It has never made me happy.

  • Wrong. It is easily possible to say to someone – I think you are expressing a very stupid opinion without necessarily implying that THEY are personally stupid. Very intelligent people often adhere to stupid ideas – substitute racist or sexist. The idea is that they are mistaken, without a corollary assumption that they are BAD. It’s really not that hard to distinguish between a personal attack, and a comment on ideas…unless you want to attack them, yourself. Whilst pretending not to.

  • Admission. I did go there regarding speculation of the motives of people who want to say that insults and negative characterizations aren’t really insults and personal and ad hominem.

    I did it. But I did lob an insult and a judgment that was pure speculation. My bad. I am wholly responsible. And I’m going to stop there. That is the only ethical, I believe, stance. To take responsibility for my stuff, 100%.

    Since I think it is an error, I will make every effort not to do that in the future. However, I feel fully justified in pointing out a real point in a conversation where the ethical standards failed and the conversation devolved into a very clear insult. If pointing that out invites insults from you based on some conjecture as to spirituality or how “typical” such things are, what can I do? You win. You’re right.

    The thing I’ve learned recently that has helped me a lot is to realize that I can always leave such conversations. People who don’t take responsibility for their own psychological aggression, however, are shackled to it, or one just like it. I admit to schadenfreude. Not very spiritual, I know. But satisfying nonetheless.

    Pardon me for excess, albeit short, posts.

  • I stand by my statement and my standard: All insults, all devaluing, all negative characterizations are personal and ad hominem.

    You don’t share my perspective. That is your right. I will not agree to yours. I don’t have to characterize your standards. Both standard speaks for themselves.

  • F. Kling,
    Just to note that I am in Australia,and I watched the video without any major problems,a couple of short delays which were only a minor problem.

  • Everyone should take note of Hayduke Monkey’s 11.05 am comment.The article that Tom linked to in his 5.47 am comment is from a satirical news site,the Irish equivalent of ‘The Onion’.

  • @David Highham: Everyone should take note of Hayduke Monkey’s 11.05 am comment.The article that Tom linked to in his 5.47 am comment is from a satirical news site,the Irish equivalent of ‘The Onion’.


    Nope. It wasn’t Tom. It was me.

    I included the link so everyone could see where it came from…if they had a mind to.

    That said, anyone who couldn’t tell it was satire on the face of it needs some reading remediation.

    And THAT said, anyone who thinks that satire and truth don’t belong in the same space at the same time needs more than reading remediation.

    And now, we return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

  • Mr. Haydukes,
    If and when you read my posts, try to take my comments with a little levity. I’m not as serious as you are it seems. What I write is not written in stone, but then from what I’ve observed so far in my relatively brief encounter with time is that no one else is so far ahead in the dynamics of understanding life that I should feel lost in someone’s inflated ego. As far as suggesting that you buy the Brooklyn Bridge perhaps I can offer you a more acceptable tidbit, but since you still believe that the utmost respect is due to all PHDs, you are perfectly free to perceive them as demi-Gods, while I do not, including the doctor Goswani whose perception of himself and his colleagues is more attuned to the way things are. If your perception of my comments do not amuse you, as the LOL to which you have objected, what can I say. You are free to deem whatever you deem as important, while I entertain the same privilege. Since you did render a public opinion however with respect to the source of the comments made in regards to Dr. Goswami, who by the way seems a lot less concerned about labels than you seem to be, then that is your baby. But for as long as you imply that a doctorate is sacrosanct, I have no choice but to differ with your position. Doctors are well informed, usually intelligent, and have fulfilled requirements which most people would find quite daunting.
    Take care Mr. Haydukes, I would suggest that if you do decide to reply to my posts, that you don’t perceive my comments with the seriousness that you seem to harbour… Feel free to denigrate or contradict my posts at any time. That is the nature of debate, and of differing opinions.

  • God made humans , and then in HIS great Finale, HE made US, as in you and me, and PHDs… The latest film , “The theory of Everything” leaves me breathless in that some people actually believe that the theory of everything is within the scope of our species at this time. That is so preposterous to me that it defies logic. This position is simply scientific arrogance. We can’t even identify life itself, the most prevalent of human encounters. And yet, we dare to speculate on the properties of Everything? I have the utmost admiration for great minds, but I stop short at the “know everything scenario”. The atomic theorists have brought humanity to within minutes of total annihilation. That is also reality. If we can figure out what makes us tick and follow the beat of those drums, then perhaps we can envision a longevity span beyond that of dodo birds, I can then also surmise a day when everything will be known. Until then, humble pie may be a better choice on the human menu.

  • ed,
    please check Tom’s Feb 13 5.47am comment. He posted the link before you.I agree that it was obviously satire,but replies from some others gave me the impression they took it seriously. Anyway,it’s hopefully cleared up now.

  • Robin Data-

    You are a genuis. Many thanks for taking the effort to respond.

  • @Tom, ed.. isn’t that CERN thing hilarious?

    @red fox, I think I acknowledged and predicted your objection that anything “historical” could not possibly represent the “pre-historical”. Perhaps you need to re-read my comment.

    You say “population levels were higher”. So what? Are we talking about humanity’s innate goodness under all conditions????…. or humanity’s innate goodness only when our population is (relative to today) miniscule, and earthly resources (again, relative to today) inconceivably abundant?

    I don’t want to offend, but I do not understand your premise in the least. It’s like saying a dog is good as long as he is well-fed and stays warm on the mat. What can we learn from that about true dog nature? Is that the be-all and end-all of it?

  • @Jean Turcot, the god character did not make anything. What is hilarious about the assertion that some god character made us, is that no one asks who made the god character!!


    What “makes us tick” is that we want to capture whatever energy we can to expand and grow our progeny as well as our spheres of material influence, just like any other creature–living creatures being an expression, an outgrowth, of the nexus between matter and energy.

  • Shoot, I wrote a whole thing that disappeared. Folks! Copy your comment somewhere before committing it to the Ether!!

  • @Gail, oldgrowthforest said, “I don’t want those kinds of opinions about people. It has never made me happy.”

    This should tell you all you need to know: that to many people what “makes them happy” is more valuable than any realistic truth.

  • I sometimes think to myself as I surf the web before ending back at my most viewed pages, what a waste we have made of this beautiful planet, because of finds like this…


  • Lidia, all – please do note the complete “Tech Note” at the end of each of these posts:

    Tech note, courtesy of mo flow: Random issues have been appearing with posting comments. Sometimes a “Submit Comment” click will return a 404 Page Not Found, or another error, for no apparent reason. To ensure you don’t lose a longer comment, you can right-click select all, and right-click copy, in the comment box before clicking “Submit.” If that hasn’t been done, the comment text will likely still be in the comment box when clicking the back button, or the forward button — depending on the error — on your browser.

    if you do seem to lose a comment, definitely use the back/forward buttons to check to see if it is still there. the overactive spam filter is still a problem. Guy checks often, and so do I, but there can be a delay. I just unspammed 6 comments at once, for example.

    I am working on fixing this issue permanently. basically the efforts over the years to prevent spam are now causing other problems. as they say…

  • Oh, mo.. do indulge me the extra comments today. Everything I wrote did eventually show up.

    I’m aware of the difficulties you are operating under. I just would that we all be aware that the current system is delicate, and that we take the time to copy our comments where we have control of them, if we feel they are important.

    Thanks for your help in maintaining the site.

  • Lidia –

    yeah no prob on extra comments like that when it is all getting mixed up in this current WordPress goofiness.

    seriously, thanks for your patience! when I was commenting sometime maybe a year or more ago, there were similar delays at one point, and I got rather annoyed and made a stink about it here. now all that seems rather embarrassing, as everyone is being so patient right now.

    and yeah, I really got annoyed if I ever lost a long comment, so your reminder for everyone is totally appreciated!


  • kill switch,

    Thanks for the Watts video. It as very good.

  • Lidia,
    The same thing happened to me. I responded to your comments, pressed the wrong button and it did its Houdini act. But in short, somehow the statement that I made about “God making humans” is completely out of character. I don’t know what happened but suffice it to say that if this is the beginning of brain dysfunction then I guess I could be in for a rough ride. In fact I am as agnostic as they come and so I apologize for this sudden brain switch. I was distracted and may have wanted to write that as part of a debate but nevertheless I wrote it and so I offer my apologies for stating something in which I do not know. I did mention however that your comment “God did not make anything” is also incorrect as you do not KNOW that to be accurate any more than I know it to be false. That is just another side of the same atheist/believer coin. We just don’t know, as a favorite quote from the Dalai Lama suggested.

  • @Jean: …the statement that I made about “God making humans” is completely out of character. I don’t know what happened…


    Mebbe the devil made you do it.

  • Confession: I skip all of the talk about everything except evidence as to why near term extinction is a viable concept. But keep on talking.

    I’m still far from confident that NTE is going to happen, but I have an open mind. Methane is the wild card. Is anybody sure they know what role it will play? I don’t think so. Extinction before the end of the century I don’t doubt.

    Anyway, carry on.

  • “Robin Data-
    You are a genuis. Many thanks for taking the effort to respond.”

    They keep telling me that. But in the end-times, one might preferred to be one of these:
    “According to the Forbes list, the five wealthiest people in the world are Bill Gates (net worth $76 billion), Carlos Slim Helu (net worth $72 billion), Amancio Ortega (net worth $64 billion), Warren Buffett (net worth $58.2 billion), and Larry Ellison (net worth $48 billion).”

    Or maybe even a Koch brother. :-P

  • Paul Ehrlich has written another book which is due to be published in September :’The Annihilation of Nature’

  • “’I don’t want those kinds of opinions about people. It has never made me happy.’

    “This should tell you all you need to know: that to many people what “makes them happy” is more valuable than any realistic truth.”

    For your statement to be true and referring to my specific sentence, “my opinions about people” would have to be realistic truths. So, if I “think” someone is a liar, is vicious and has low motives, and I choose to ignore my opinions because the6y are my judgments and I can forego them, then I’m, once more and eternally, defective and inferior. Obviously, I follow this exact pattern in all my thoughts about the world if I feel the least bit uncomfortable. My nasty opinions about other people are indistinguishable from my other uncomfortable thoughts, like how the tire is low or the firewood is almost out. Naturally, one means the other. It’s the only intelligent conclusion about me possible. I’m blinded by the brilliance of that.

    This absolutely does say something. I’m not sure what, however, because to me it doesn’t make sense.

    I’m not asking for anything from you or anyone else here, Lidia, until I ask. I’m not asking for your agreement, or understanding, or approval, or permission, or your opinion. And neither can I stop you from issuing your personal judgments about me.

    What I am is quite realistic and pragmatic. I don’t want anything from you, and I’ve said so previously. I don’t want anything from Gail, either.

    I won’t be asking, either. And for the record, I’m not responsible for your expectations on anything, including of me. I’m not responsible for your opinions, including your opinions about me. They are your opinions, self-created and self-justified.

  • Mr Nye,
    I shall ignore your valiant efforts to make it personal. However, I refer you back to my original comment with regard to there being no written record. This is FACT-there is no written record before approximately 5000 years ago because there was no writing. Hence my statement. Simple. How you choose to interpret it is up to you of course. The point in my saying the above was to illustrate that any recent opinions and theories concerning pre civilised humans inevitably relies on a modern day interpretation of material remains. This is why archaeology and anthropology are not “hard” sciences as is commonly called. They are based on opinion which is why there are numbers of opinion.

    It strikes me, and apologies if this is incorrect, that you have a desperate need to keep to one particular view of humanity. As far as it goes I agree with your view in so much as it seems to describe very well the actions/behaviours of most humans within civilisation. I take issue with the need to project this view on to people prior to civilisation of whom we know very little and my opinion is that their MO was quite different outside the confines of the civilised paradigm.

    If you have researched all the literature then you will of course come across all the relevant books and so on that give another viewpoint to the one you hold.

    I see little point in continuing the discussion as we both appear to be unwilling to moderate our opinions based on others opinions!

    I will however continue to point out that certain statements incorrectly clothed as FACT are not that at all, but opinions.

  • Lidia,
    Thanks for replying. There is nothing wrong with prediction of course. I predicted that you would tell me that you had predicted what I would say:0) Thing is, anything historical doesnt necessarily transfer to the pre-historical does it? It might…it might not. Mr Nye says it does, I say it doesnt. Opinion v opinion. Same as in the two studies we refer too (anthropology and archaeology).
    Perhaps I didnt word my original comment very well with regard to population levels. What I was trying to get across was that civilised living arrangements cause stress within a population and as civ progresses and populations expand then the levels of violence also does or so it seems. Anyway, I predict that we will continue to hold differing viewpoints re: pre-civ people so i’ll leave it be :)

  • Good morning and Happy Ballantine’s Day to all! What, it’s not about beer?

    To look at some ACTUAL evidence that shows that our science watchdog agency keeps underestimating methane (not to mention radiation) and its affect on climate(and thus “have no idea what the fuck” they’re doing because we’re all flawed humans with egos and agendas – yes Lidia is was a great spoof!):


    [How many times have we heard this?]

    Methane emissions from natural gas industry higher than previously thought


    The EPA estimates that nearly one-quarter of methane emissions related to human activities comes from producing natural gas, processing it and getting it into the homes of millions across the country. But the agency based its estimate on data from 20 years ago. Robinson’s team wanted to see if more recent changes in the industry and technology could further refine the numbers.

    The researchers discovered that a small fraction of facilities that collect, process and compress natural gas are responsible for a disproportionately high percentage of methane emissions. They also found that the EPA’s new reporting program doesn’t account for superemitters—sites that leak or vent large amounts of methane—or some equipment and operating modes that are major sources of the gas. They conclude that the program could be missing almost two thirds of the methane emissions from the natural gas system.

    The problem isn’t so much the science people or the EPA per se, since they at least update their findings and amend their views with new evidence, but is mostly due to the completely owned and bogus political interference with which the EPA and other agencies operate to get funding.

    As the spoof site suggested, humanity in every field of endeavor is just doing what they’re compelled to do, whether or not anyone actually groks the big picture of what it is we’re doing here. The latest idea to come down the pike, if anyone is interested is that the big bang never happened and that the universe is in some kind of steady-state expansion.

    Take a look if you wish:



    In summary, we have shown here that as for the QRE, the second order Friedmann equation derived from the QRE also contains two quantum correction terms. These terms are generic and unavoidable and follow naturally in a quantum mechanical description of our universe. Of these, the first can be interpreted as cosmological constant or dark energy of the correct (observed) magnitude and a small mass of the graviton (or axion). The second quantum correction term pushes back the time singularity indefinitely, and predicts an everlasting universe.

  • @Andrew: I’m still far from confident that NTE is going to happen, but I have an open mind. Methane is the wild card. Is anybody sure they know what role it will play? I don’t think so.


    Nobody is sure. Anybody who says they are is full of it, and full of themselves – and really speaking out of the sum of their hopes and fears, just like a Jehovah’s Witness.

    That’s heresy to some in Doomerville…but heresy is always a necessary corrective to the thought police who seek nothing less than the imposition of their views upon everyone else.

    That, btw, is a good functional definition of the term EMPIRE, a term which gets tossed around a lot here.

  • Spezio —
    Thanks for the eye-opener. I love it when someone pokes at inflated pompous old farts.

    Jean —
    You keep knocking those PhDs. That stuff makes me horny.

    Gail —
    Spiritual snipers! good one.

    Freddy Boy —
    There is a VPN extension you can download from hola.org that allows non-u.s. folk watch u.s. videos. They’re cheap enough, the free ones will sneak ad-related pop-ups to your browser.

  • Andrew Taylor Says:
    February 13th, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Confession: I skip all of the talk about everything except evidence as to why near term extinction is a viable concept. But keep on talking.

    I’m still far from confident that NTE is going to happen, but I have an open mind. Methane is the wild card. Is anybody sure they know what role it will play? I don’t think so. Extinction before the end of the century I don’t doubt.

    Anyway, carry on.”
    Methane vents (some over a km wide) have been appearing in the Arctic Russian area where they drill for N.gas (mostly methane).

    More vents have been found recently (More Methane Holes).

  • Satish, thanks for your comment

  • for the UFO fans among us:


    Obama adviser John Podesta’s biggest regret: Keeping America in dark about UFOs


    Outgoing senior Obama adviser John Podesta reflected on his latest White House stint Friday, listing his favorite moments and biggest regrets from the past year. Chief among them: depriving the American people of the truth about UFOs.

  • Gerald Spezio thanx

  • Robert, If you had written
    cats, I would have no problem with that. But for sure anyone who has a dog is missing something.

  • Gil Scott-Heron | Winter in America

    Watched the white tail deer wake up in the woods this morning. They sleep on top of the snow. Cold as a witch’s teat out there! More snow expected over the next couple of days. Stay warm and keep breathing.

  • The latest essay in this space comes from the keyboard of TDoS. It’s here.

  • Robert
    “You keep ‘knocking’ those PHDs”…
    MMMMmmmm! If PHDs didn’t field so many ‘truths’, maybe pinch-hitters would get to play the game….. sometimes even get a Last at Bat. I well remember a PHD when lined-up at the cafeteria a century ago when I had inadvertently stepped in front of him telling me how I should see myself, a rhetorical symphony which I have yet to sort out is all that I can recall. Now I understand why I am such a Y**%$,,&&^%Y! This time, however, at least according to Waterford whispers News, professor Goswami ‘knocked’ himself out, saving me the trouble.

  • Excellent posts, red fox. Thank you. Thank you for outstanding clarity, and you are absolutely correct, All conclusions are interpretation of evidence through a cultural and historical lens that is alien to the evidence.

    In addition, thank you for offering an excellent perspective without making the conversation personal.

    If I mention my over posts, it is to Guy that I acknowledge my willful lack of cooperation. But if you want to think it’s about you, again, what can I do? The assumptions, presumptions, accusations that you come up with concerning me occur faster than I can explain what is true.

    I fully recognize my powerlessness over such things.

  • @oldgrowthforest, I remain as mystified as ever as to why you continue to use lots of phrasing about “what I [supposedly] want from you” in your responses to me. I find this to be a total non sequitur.

    You tell me what is important to you (xyz does not make you happy), and I respond to that with the observation that you have chosen to believe in what makes you happy over what does not, and that this is (voluntarily) an incomplete apprehension. This seems to me to be beyond logical argument, since it’s what you yourself have attested to. I may be being too literal, but I’m unclear as to where fault or misunderstanding lies in that. I admit I am confused.

    It seems as though it is *you* who wants something more from *me*. Your judgment of my comments is always as swift, exquisite, and damning as it is incomprehensible to me.

    You say, “I’m, once more and eternally, defective and inferior”. Who ever said that of you? It wasn’t I. I have valued your contributions here.

    “I won’t be asking, either. And for the record, I’m not responsible for your expectations on anything, including of me. I’m not responsible for your opinions, including your opinions about me. They are your opinions, self-created and self-justified.”

    This all sounds very defensive. Who asked you to “be responsible for my expectations/opinions”? I don’t even know what that means. I have no expectations whatsoever of any virtually-anonymous person on the Internet.

    I do appreciate your writings and will continue to look forward to them, but I won’t bother you again with comments since it seems we are talking at cross-purposes.

    @red fox, do “civilized” living arrangements impose stress? That certainly seems obvious, but it raises the question of what “civilized” is. Is it a binary condition, or more of a spectrum? Are bees or ants inherently stressed by living as social animals in crowded quarters? Or is it the unfulfilled Expectation of becoming a Greater, Realized, Individual that causes human stress… when one ascertains that that Individual Realization may be unlikely in the conditions in which one finds oneself? Humans have never been solitary creatures, so some form of codified behavior and social structure has always been present, our legacy from the primate family tree.

    Definitions of “civilization” might be up for discussion: one definition has been “the act or process of bringing out of a savage or uneducated state.” But uneducated/educated in what? Clearly many indigenous people thought colonizers to be uneducated in the things that mattered, and they were not incorrect.

    I take the longer view that “civilization” is a set of organizing principles, as complex as the context and surplus energy allow. That humans have never been “uncivilized”… When people use the phrases, “Roman civilization”, or.. “our car broke down far from civilization”… “civilization” just means a critical mass of like-minded humanity, which critical mass is defined coherently by context, to some degree. People of one culture could feel far from civilization despite a plethora of differently-civilized folks around them, obviously.

    It would seem that all humans are “civilizers” since they create civil behavior when assembled in groups however small, after which the “civilizational” battles just become ones of superior accumulated energy and population.

    Just a late night rant. Take it for what it is worth, please–the cost of these electrons at best–without Expectations!

  • Lidia, I will try to be very clear so that my comments cannot be altered or distorted or misinterpreted.

    Gail wrote that she disagreed with me regarding my comment about Bud making things personal. That’s a disagreement. Then, she wrote, “As so often happens, the “spiritually inclined” is the first to make a personal attack. What else is new.

    I see this kind of comment as specious devaluing. It is akin to disagreeing with someone and then saying, “how typical” of Mexicans, or teachers, or atheists, or clueless ivory tower intellects, etc. It is assigning a fault to a group of people as a whole an defining an individual within those limitaions. It is an interpretation, as red fox so clearly explains, of my behavior. And it’s Gail’s interpretation.

    I’m not responsible for those kinds of perspectives held by other people, not even when they’re about me.

    Therefor, I wrote back:

    “I won’t go with you to that level, either in responding or regarding you, expressing some judgment or opinion of how you supposedly are, characterizing you in some way, and it’s not because I’m above it. I honestly do not know. I have no clue.

    I don’t want those kinds of opinions about people. It has never made me happy.”

    I stand by it. Statements like, “How typical of X group of people aren’t the kinds of beliefs that have enriched my life in any way. Maybe they do yours, but they don’t mine.

    And your characterization, interpretation, assigned meaning to my comment?

    “This should tell you all you need to know: that to many people what “makes them happy” is more valuable than any realistic truth.”

    Your comment states that my position is that what “makes me happy is more valuable than any realistic truth.”

    Now that is a total misinterpretation of my comment. It is, in fact, defaming, a character insult, specifically based on my statement that group denigration of people who don’t agree with me isn’t my thing.

    You then extrapolate my statement and apply it as a whole to a large number of people, and it’s not even just a statement in context about a specific kind of judgment, it’s a statement about how a lot of people just dismiss “realistic truth.”

    Someone certainly did dismiss “realistic truth,” in this conversation. It was not me

    I appreciate much that you write also. But then, you do things like this, and I would prefer not to go there, just like I don’t want to go where Gail goes with her conversations and judgments about people, the same way I don’t want to join the Ku Klux Klan, or the military, or a whole lot of other human practices that don’t work for me.