Edge of Extinction: Ice-Free Arctic

 

______

New in the CLASSIFIEDS: 54 year-old woman, 2 miles from downtown Eugene, Oregon, shares her home with people actively dismantling empire. 1/5 acre site has large garden, bees, and ducks. ckknittle@yahoo.com
______

I’m traveling, and will be less available than usual. Please display patience when waiting for comments to be posted.
______

McPherson was interviewed by Derrick Jensen for Resistance Radio. The interview took place 22 January 2015, and it was broadcast last Sunday night on the Progressive Radio Network. Eventually, you’ll be able to catch it in the archives here.

______

New in the CLASSIFIEDS: 54 year-old woman, 2 miles from downtown Eugene, Oregon, shares her home with people actively dismantling empire. 1/5 acre site has large garden, bees, and ducks. ckknittle@yahoo.com
______

Please visit the DONATIONS tab. I’m open to non-monetary donations, subject only to your creativity. For example, I would appreciate your generosity with respect to frequent-flyer miles.
______

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.

This week’s show was hosted by Pauline Schneider. It included a long conversation with displaced Australian homesteader Wendy Bandurski-Miller, and it will be archived here. Eventually. When the studio comes back online.

_______

19 February – 4 March 2015, In and around New York City, New York (details below). Please RSVP for each of these events by sending a message to naturebatslast2007@gmail.com.

22 February 2015, 4:00 p.m., Lippitt Auditorium, Room 402, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, “Panel Discussion, Near-Term Human Extinction”

24 February 2015, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m., Spoonbill Books, 218 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, telephone 718.387.7322. Reading and signing books, with plenty of time for Q&A, wine, and cheese. Details here.

27 February 2015, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., Project Reach, 39 Eldridge Street, Suite 4, New York, New York, Abrupt Climate Change: How Will You Show Up During Humanity’s Final Chapter?

1 March 2015, 6:00 p.m. Woodbine Collective, 18-84 Woodbine Street, New York, New York. Reading and signing books, with plenty of time for Q&A.

GuyPosterNY copy

***

Abrupt Climate Change: How Will You Show Up During Humanity’s Final Chapter?

4-16 March, Northern California Tour organized by Peter Melton: 530-680-5550,
Peter.Melton3@gmail.com. Additional venues may be added.

11-12 March 2015, Veterans Hall, 415 North Pine Street, Nevada City, California, presentation and workshop titled, “Abrupt Climate Change: How Will You Show Up During Humanity’s Final Chapter?” Follow on Facebook here.

11 March: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. presentation and public discussion
11 March: 8:30 – 10:00 p.m. workshop part I
12 March: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. workshop part II

13-14 March 2015, Chico Peace and Justice Center, 526 Broadway, Chico, California, presentation and workshop titled, “Abrupt Climate Change: How Will You Show Up During Humanity’s Final Chapter?” Follow on Facebook here.

13 March 13: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. presentation and public discussion
13 March: 8:30 – 10:00 p.m. workshop part I
14 March: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. workshop part II

***

22 March – 3 April Boston, Massachusetts. Details to follow.

***

6-30 April 2015, western Europe (additional details forthcoming, and follow the tour at guymcpherson.net and also on Facebook)

25 April 2015, 6:00 p.m., Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, “Climate Awareness Seminar”

European tour spring 2015

_______

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

_______

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.

_______

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.

Comments 49

  • Good luck and happy gallows humor filled travels.

  • Guy’s viddy is short, true, & not-so-sweet – 2:13 & you will know.
    Make the most of your time left.

  • In all of this collapse, there are STILL a few places to go that are fulfilling. There are several radio shows produced by G.P.R. (Georgia Public Radio) and one of the best is by a lady named Celeste Hedlee. and here is why. This is a blog comment by her. Today’s show was spectacular.

    http://www.gpb.org/blogs/second-thought/2014/10/09/what%E2%80%99s-wrong-pundits

  • Don’t panic: 2 standard deviations from the 1981 to 2010 average, and slightly less ice cover than at the corresponding date in the historic meltdown of 2012.

    The time to panic is when the ice cover is 3 standard deviations from the historic average. And that probably won’t be for another year or two.

    https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

  • “The time to panic is when the ice cover is 3 standard deviations from the historic average. And that probably won’t be for another year or two.”

    Ohhh …

  • It is not just cover ice cover. Sea ice volume is down 75% according to Peter Wadhams.

    Wadhams also reports that decreased albedo through snow line retreat in boral forests and sea ice retreat represent ~50% increase in CO2e.

  • mo Says:
    February 18th, 2015 at 9:30 am
    “Robin –
    “The “Request Desktop Site” in Safari IOS 8.02x does not work with NBL.”
    I just tested this last night, and again now – works fine, going both directions.
    (using the icon you mention on the bottom left of mobile view, seen when all the way scrolled down, below comment box – with the double arrows between desktop screen icon and mobile screen).”

    The icon at the bottam of the screen works fine, with one caveat. However the “Request Desktop Site” box appears at the top of the screen when the bottom margin of the (URL) address bar is dragged downwards in Safari IOS 8.2 on the iPhone 5. That box is convenient since it is near the top, and works at many sites, but not at NBL 🙁

    The caveat is that the URL in the address bar of the desktop site ( that is called up by the icon at bottom of the screen) often does not contain the string
    /?/&fdx_switcher=desktop
    and if it is copied and saved to Notes as a place marker, it cannot call up the desktop view again. As menioned, with the string the URL first brings up the mobile view (when clicked in notes) and has to be then pasted into the address bar to bring up the desktop view.

    Thank you for all your efforts!

  • Ice is more dangerous than isis (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch – 7).

    It is like when Obi-Wan Kenobi was “killed” by Darth Vader.

  • I learn a lot of arithmetic when I make a post here.

    The punishment is swift and sharp when I make a mistake.

    I think that Dr. McPherson uploaded the spirit of one of my Schoolmarms into the thingy.

    Anyway, viva 5th graders (How Fifth Graders Calculate Ice Volume, 2, 3, 4, 5).

    –that is my two for today —

    love and peace!

  • Wester,

    February 16th, 2015 at 7:33 pm you wrote “More free space opened here once again for the exploiters, the dominators, the patriarchy. Why? Because it is biological, dude. We HAVE to be odious bores and behave exactly like stinking, brain dead, sadistic vampires and petty tyrants because it is BIOLOGICAL.”

    You keep insisting that one cannot object to present day exploitation without also insisting that one has to reject the idea of early humans also exploited each other and their environments. Contrary to what you keep repeating, I DO object to present day exploitation, as do many others, while ALSO accepting the population growth based exploitation of early humans of each other and their land bases. I and many others have no trouble at all holding both of these ideas in mind at the same time. Why do you have so much trouble doing that? Does your logic, your reasoning, really make good sense to you? Using this same reasoning, you must also insist that in order for us to object to present-day murder, we must reject the idea that early humans committed murder. (Perhaps you do insist that early humans did not commit murder?) In order to object to present-day cannibalism, early humans presumably must not have eaten other humans, and so on, and so on. (Perhaps you do insist that early humans did not sometimes eat other humans?) This kind of logic may make good sense to you, but it does not make any sense to me at all.

    You also wrote “And no, I still have not forgiven Saint Hedges for his ludicrous and destructive “Cancer in Occupy” BS. And no, he never apologized or acknowledged the misguided self-serving stupidity of that move so until he does, I won’t be forgiving him.”

    I wonder what this means. In trying to figure out what this means, I did a Google search on “Cancer in Occupy” and found this article: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_cancer_of_occupy_20120206 . Does this article contain what you consider “ludicrous and destructive” comments, which you insist that Hedges should apologize for? If so, would point to specific quotes and your thinking about them? Right now, I really have no idea at all what you have your panties in a wad about here.

    Ram Samudrala,

    February 17th, 2015 at 2:36 am you wrote “The problem with looking at the end effects of evolution (i.e., the products) and then seeing patterns and thinking of them as “rules” is a fallacy confusing cause and effect. The patterns are bottom up and need based—they arose and exist to satisfy some fitness criterion in the context of a particular environment and they’re consistent only in an average sense (there are always outliers). Change the conditions and the ‘rules’ will change, in biology, and evolution takes the outliers as raw materials to graft the set of patterns….”

    In a very long-term, theoretical sense, of course I agree with you. In a practical, shorter-term sense regarding life on Earth as it exists today, I do not agree. Why not? Because after roughly two billion years of the evolutionary processes, which you briefly describe so well, we find that evolution did produce many social, hierarchical animal species with their social principles and “rules”, which appears to have included all hominids and definitely includes us. When you wrote “Anarchism is the right approach to human societal organisation that mimics what happens in biology” you suggest that we can, and would best, ignore the billions of years of evolution that produced our present social, biological realities. It seems obvious to me that on one hand we cannot do that, and on the other hand we would best not try to do that. Related to this not trying to do it, I wonder: do you think we know enough to presume that we can, presumably, create social systems better than those produced by billions of years of evolution?

    red fox,

    February 18th, 2015 at 5:27 am you wrote “You seem to have extreme difficulty in integrating the possibility, even probability, that other opinions besides your own might be worth considering hence the constant repetition of your standpoint.”

    Dramatically wrong indeed. I most certainly DO integrate both the possibility and the probability that other opinions besides mine have significant worth for consideration. Largely for precisely that reason I read and write here: seriously to consider and respond to other’s opinions, evidence, and reasoning. I welcome evidence that differs from that which I presently have awareness of and arguments that contradict my reasoning. As I have written so often before, I wish to adjust my conceptual maps to the territory outside of my head, not impose my maps onto it with emotional demands regarding how the world presumably “should” or “must” work as I might narcissistically wish it to work. Unfortunately, more often than not other’s arguments consist mainly of many variations on the themes of subject changing and personal attacks instead of focusing on the evidence and reasoning about it. Regarding ed’s related comment concerning persistence, I find it interesting how you consider it okay for people persistently to deny the quantity and quality of evidence that points to the destructive nature of early humans (or the extremely narrow, naïve view of science that Scott Johnson presents), but presumably NOT for me persistently to refer to contradictory evidence and reasoning. I presumably should roll over and play dead while you and Scott Johnson persist? How do you account for and rationalize this double standard?

    You also wrote “Here is something that may interest you. It is a short essay regarding Keeley and the later work by Raymond C Kelly, ‘Warless societies and the origin of war’, which i’m sure you have read?”

    Okay. Great! A man named Paul Monk wrote an essay pointing out that 15 years ago Raymond C. Kelly disagreed with some of what Lawrence H. Keeley wrote. If you consider this compelling evidence for maintaining your romantic visions and beliefs of early humans as peaceful, essentially free of warfare, and ecologically harmless to their land bases, fine. You can, you have a right to, and surely will, believe whatever you wish to believe. The evidence and reasoning regarding these issues certainly does not seem especially strong or compelling to me, nor to many others. I do have a few questions regarding this: (1) Does it really come as a surprise to you that disagreement and controversy exists in all natural science, always has, and always will? It seems pretty safe to say that one can virtually always find a small percentage of scientists, some competent, some not so competent, who disagree with virtually any well-established scientific theory or “fact”, just as we have happening with human-caused global heating with its abrupt climate change. One can virtually always also find many examples of journalists and essayists with vested emotional, political, or economic interests of many kinds repeating the opinions of this small percentage of scientists. (2) Does Raymond C. Kelly still disagree with the weight of evidence today, a small part of which I listed here on 2/12/15? Perhaps he still disagrees; perhaps he has changed his mind. (3) Have you actually, carefully read the books, which evidence the authors present you so freely and repetitively appear to criticize here? If you have, why don’t you argue against THAT SPECIFIC EVIDENCE AND THE REASONING BASED ON IT, instead of repetitively focusing on and emphasizing various alleged characteristics of PEOPLE, such as me, Gail Zawacki, Lawrence Keeley, Steven LeBlanc, Jared Diamond, Ian Tattersall, Gary Hogg, and others? (My wild guess regarding this? When you start reading these books you find so much compelling evidence, and so much good reasoning based on it, that you have no idea where to start arguing against it, so you turn to attacking the people who wrote it in order to defend you preferred beliefs, your conceptual map of the territory. But that remains only my guess, and I certainly may have that wrong.)

  • Guy,

    I hope u had a chance to read the link I provided to a short blog article by a lady named Celeste Headlee at Georgia Public Broadcast (GPB). (February 18th, 2015 at 8:55 am)

    She might be a person who will be amenable to interviewing you about NTHE. I am e-mailing the NBL website to her, probably tomorrow. I will give her your e-mail etc.

    It would be interesting to have your voice on the air in the SOUTH.

    I will post also today’s show as it aired, after it is posted on the GPB website so u can get a taste of her subjects. I was impressed and I hope you will be. It is off the main stream a good bit. I am really surprised especially in this part of the country.

    Later, Gator!

  • Many an excuse will be invoked to justify, condone, defend, or rationalise coercive violence in rejecting anarchy.
    There is a deeply rooted reason for each instance of this.

  • “His whole attitude recalled irresistibly to the mind that of some assiduous hound who will persist in laying a dead rat on the drawing-room carpet, though repeatedly apprised by word and gesture that the market for same is sluggish or even non-existent.”
    -P.G. Wodehouse, Code of the Woosters (1938)

  • Mr Nye,
    Thank you for the reply.
    A question: Wtf has Scott Johnson got to do with anything with regard to my comments? You wouldnt be trying to conflate 2 totally different issues would you by mentioning myself and he in the same sentence? Another nifty trick but totally irrelevant.

    So, you dont value Lawrence Keeleys opinion that Kelly’s book may be plausible even though you value Keeleys other opinions-fair enough.

    You also appear to be projecting views onto me that I have never voiced re: a romantic notion of pre-civilised humans. I have had the temerity to suggest that maybe, just maybe, humans are not pre disposed to war and genocide-this is romantacism?? You seem to think romanticism is a perjorative term which is interesting in itself.

    Your last comments listing various names are truly mystifying. Some of those people I havent even heard of! You are obviously confusing me with somebody else. I cannot recollect launching personal attacks on any of them nor the “others” whoever they are.

    And of course it doesnt surprise me about different opinions and disagreements within the subjects we are talking about ie anthropology and archaeology. It is, or so I thought it was, what the discussion has been about-Opinion based on interpretation of the scant remains available from the Paleolithic era.

  • 1) bio char soil

    2) mix fossil diatoms with minerals and soil to remedy radiation
    http://peaksurfer.blogspot.ca/2015/02/fuke-undo.html

    3) produce carbon net-negative energy creating bio-charred soil
    http://www.biochar-international.org/biochar/carbon

    4) use mushrooms to remediate soils

    5) rewild critical food & pasture ecologies
    http://www.globalcoral.org/restoring-ecosystems-to-reverse-global-warming-conference-2014/

  • Robert Callaghan – I have done serious research including hands on wrt bio-char.

    Short answer;

    You can cook wood and get charcoal and ash – highly carbon positive.

    You can gasify wood and get usable syngas to generate electricity+ tons of ash – carbon positive

    You can use a closed system and get biochar and a small amount of ash – carbon negative if you bury the biochar.

    If you try and divert usable syngas from a biochar operation you quickly become carbon positive.

    In order for biochar to have a .001% effect on sequestering carbon you would need to have a massive facility and strip all the biomass for miles around on a regular basis.

  • The other kind of ice-free:

    Half an inch to an inch of precipitation was reported in a few parts of the West, mainly northwest Washington and portions of the Rockies. Half an inch or less was received in other parts of the Pacific Northwest and Rockies and southeast Arizona, but most of the West received little to no precipitation this week. While storm systems during December and early February helped replenish some reservoirs, the precipitation fell mostly as rain instead of snow, so the mountain snowpack in the coastal ranges remained dismally below normal, severely impacting the ski industry. According to the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) SNOTEL network, mid-February snowpack snow water content ranked in the lowest 5 percent of the historical record at many stations throughout Washington, Oregon, California, and Utah, and, in fact, in most western states. Persistent well-above-normal temperatures continued to melt the snowpack, with snow depth decreasing as much as 4 to 12 inches in the last 7 days at many SNOTEL stations in the Pacific Northwest and Rockies. The University of California estimated statewide forage production decreased during January due to the month’s very dry conditions, and the Almond Board of California reported a decrease in almond shipments of about 28 percent in January 2015 compared to January 2014.

    D0 was pulled back in eastern Washington, and D1 pulled back in Washington’s Lower Columbia Basin, to better reflect water-year-to-date precipitation conditions and soil moisture combined with the low snowpack water equivalent. In Idaho, the south central D3 was eliminated, D0-D2 was pulled back in the southwest and southeast areas, and D3 was expanded in the southwest to better reflect impact conditions and a tighter moisture gradient. D1 expanded in western Colorado, northeast Utah, and southwest Wyoming to better reflect low mountain snow water content and above-normal evapotranspiration due to persistently above-normal temperatures. The impact boundary was adjusted in this area to reflect short-term impacts.

    In the Southwest, an area of D3 was added to northwest Arizona to reflect long-term (24-36 month) dryness. The D0 donut holes along Arizona’s Mongollon Rim were reduced in size, and the D0 in north central towards central New Mexico was filled in with D1, to reflect the low SNOTEL snowpack and reservoir situation. D4 was expanded in Mono and Inyo Counties in California and Esmeralda County in Nevada to reflect dryness in the short term (last 7 days to 6 months) and long term (last 48-72 months).

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

  • Avoid Politics and Religion

    If your dooming has only begun,
    Don’t do some things I have done,
    Like using distraction
    To cut pain a fraction
    In the house of the fast setting sun.

    Politics? Lies by the ton:
    Sells you hope, but the changes are none;
    That circus attraction
    Won’t bring satisfaction
    In the house of the fast setting sun.

    Religion? However it’s spun,
    Brings fights when you’re just having fun,
    From whatever faction
    You trace your extraction,
    In the house of the fast setting sun.

    So for you (and not everyone),
    Do what still needs to be done:
    Abyss interaction
    Gives doom plenty traction
    In the house of the fast setting sun.

  • All weather is local, but truth is national or global:

    Yes, we know, it’s been frigid in much of the U.S. this week. Winter storms have set some crazy snowfall records, and New England has been hit with an endless cycle of freezing temperatures.

    But nationally, the country has been going through a surprisingly warm winter. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the December 2014 to January 2015 period has been the sixth warmest in the contiguous U.S. since record-keeping began in 1895. This January was also the second warmest on record globally.

    Nine states in the West have had a winter that ranks among the 10 warmest on record, and temps in drought-plagued California have been more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit above average. Total precipitation levels have also been lower than average.” (HuffPo)

  • Bud Nye,
    you may be seventy,but you still have time to educate yourself if you want to spend some time reading instead of lecturing everyone here.
    Please read ‘War,Peace and Human Nature’ edited by Douglas Fry.
    I suggested this book a couple of months ago,but just like everything else,it’s all water off a duck’s back with you.
    You have suugested in the past that we should educate ourselves,so I am just returning the favour,

  • War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views

    Douglas P. Fry
    Oxford University Press, Mar 15, 2013

    “Have humans always waged war? Is warring an ancient evolutionary adaptation or a relatively recent behavior–and what does that tell us about human nature? In War, Peace, and Human Nature, editor Douglas P. Fry brings together leading experts in such fields as evolutionary biology, archaeology, anthropology, and primatology to answer fundamental questions about peace, conflict, and human nature in an evolutionary context. The chapters in this book demonstrate that humans clearly have the capacity to make war, but since war is absent in some cultures, it cannot be viewed as a human universal. And counter to frequent presumption the actual archaeological record reveals the recent emergence of war. It does not typify the ancestral type of human society, the nomadic forager band, and contrary to widespread assumptions, there is little support for the idea that war is ancient or an evolved adaptation. Views of human nature as inherently warlike stem not from the facts but from cultural views embedded in Western thinking. Drawing upon evolutionary and ecological models; the archaeological record of the origins of war; nomadic forager societies past and present; the value and limitations of primate analogies; and the evolution of agonism, including restraint; the chapters in this interdisciplinary volume refute many popular generalizations and effectively bring scientific objectivity to the culturally and historically controversial subjects of war, peace, and human nature.”

    (emphasis added)

  • Hey Bud watch the first part of this on humane nature,may be an eye opener http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w

  • “(2) Does Raymond C. Kelly still disagree with the weight of evidence today”

    Raymond Kelly’s most recent published thinking on the subject, from 2005, the same year Kelly was elected to the National Academy of Sciences:

    (2005) “The Evolution of Lethal Intergroup Violence” PNAS Full text.

    (Kelly retired from the University of Michigan in 2002)

    excerpts from the linked article:

    “Abstract

    Recent findings and analyses in evolutionary biology, archaeology, and ethnology provide a favorable conjuncture for examining the evolution of lethal intergroup violence among hominids during the 2.9-million-year Paleolithic time span. Here, I seek to identify and investigate the main turning points in this evolutionary trajectory and to delineate the periodization that follows from this inquiry.”

    “These ethnographic data show that the potential costs of intrusion are extraordinarily high. The central premise of Wrangham’s imbalance-of-power hypothesis “that one party can attack the other with impunity” (ref. 6, p. 1) is not met. Moreover, there is no realistic prospect for achieving intercommunity dominance that would enable one group to encroach on the territory of a neighbor at will. The consequences of intergroup hostility are thus stalemate and an analogue of a war of attrition in which there is a 0.02% mortality per annum from spontaneous lethal conflicts over resources, with 85% of this mortality being among males (ref. 7, pp. 100 and 158). Such conflicts are generally not sought but can occur when two groups of hunters inadvertently encounter one another in the course of the food quest at the border of their respective territories.”

    “Elaboration of the means of maintaining friendly relations and the capacity for sharing access to resources with neighbors set humans apart from chimpanzees and bonobos. Indeed, it might be said that the members of unsegmented foraging societies increase their fitness through “improved access to resources such as food, females, or safety” (ref. 6, p. 12) by eschewing efforts to achieve intercommunity dominance in favor of egalitarian relations of friendship, mutuality, and sharing. This course of action is a wise adaptive choice because dominance is characteristically unattainable, and the only effective means of increasing territory size is to fully utilize border zones. The capacity to maintain friendly relations that allow for access to a neighbor’s territory during lean years is particularly important in environments where there are localized year-to-year fluctuations in resource availability. These cooperative relations clearly played a key role in the Upper Paleolithic expansion of human populations across the globe into every environmental zone in which terrestrial mammals of any kind are capable of existing (9). Intergroup cooperation facilitates the rapid colonization of open environments. Under these circumstances, territory size is not a relevant variable and fitness does not correlate with it. Fitness instead correlates with the social group’s reproductive rate, which is primarily a function of the ease of obtaining reproductive females from neighboring groups (based on a past history of positive relations).”

    “This period of Paleolithic warlessness, grounded in low population density, an appreciation of the benefits of positive relations with neighbors, and a healthy respect for their defensive capabilities, lasted until the cultural development of segmental forms of organization engendered the origin of war (7). This organizational transformation facilitated the mobilization of all adult male group members and their participation in preplanned dawn raids on settlements in which the tactical advantages of surprise and numerical superiority could be brought to bear. At this juncture, the unit involved in combat is a raiding party (a military organization) rather than a hunting party (an economic organization), and the location of combat shifts from the border zone to the sleeping quarters at the core of a group’s territory. At the same time, the intrinsic military advantage shifts from defenders to attackers. All of the attackers are combatants, whereas less than half of those under attack are armed. Attackers characteristically inflict numerous casualties while suffering few or none. This outcome is a consequence of weaponry amplifying the advantages of surprise and numerical superiority.

    The earliest conclusive archaeological evidence for attacks on settlements is a Nubian cemetery (site 117) near the present-day town of Jebel Sahaba in the Sudan dated at 12,000-14,000 B.P. (7, 12). War originated independently in other parts of the world at dates as late as 4,000 B.P. (13). Otterbein argues that agriculture was only able to develop initially at locations where ambushes, battles, and raids were absent (14).

    The evolution of lethal intergroup violence thus encompasses three major periods: (i) the era of coalitionary killing, (ii) the era of intrinsic defensive advantage, and (iii) the era of war. An advance in weapons technology (the javelin-like throwing spear) engenders the first transition, whereas an advance in military organization and tactics produces the second. The decisive significance of these factors is expectable in light of what we know from recorded military history. However, the duration of the first two eras extends over hundreds of thousands of years. The protracted character of these eras is consistent with the slow pace of technological and organizational change during the Paleolithic period.

    The main objective of this paper is to specify the major turning points in the evolution of lethal intergroup violence, to delineate the periodization that results from this specification, and to broadly characterize each era. The dating of these periods can be expected to be refined as additional archaeological data come to light. Moreover, the key transitions did not occur simultaneously in every world area so that regional, rather than global, chronologies are required, especially with respect to the origin of war.”

  • No matter how strongly a thing may be believed, strength of belief is no criterion of truth. But what is truth? Perhaps a kind of belief that has become a condition of life? – Fred Nietzsche

  • Thanks,mo flow

  • “what is truth? Perhaps a kind of belief that has become a condition of life?”

    All “conditions of life” have the capacity to devolve into human “truths”. I am always conscious of the disconnect between physical, material truths (there is X km2 of productive land per human capita), and the many schizophrenic human “truths”, such as “all humans have value”, “all creatures have value (and thus cannot be predated upon)”.. imperatives regarding slavery and suffrage that are purely sophisticated modern concepts…

    All sophistication is at an end.

  • Here’s a guy whose days are numbered to show you how it’s done.

    http://nyti.ms/17h53E0

    And – to state the obvious – our days were ALWAYS numbered.

    Are we all clear on that? Great. That’ll be $150 for death coaching services. Come again anytime.

  • david higham,

    You wrote “you may be seventy,but you still have time to educate yourself if you want to spend some time reading instead of lecturing everyone here. Please read ‘War,Peace and Human Nature’ edited by Douglas Fry. I suggested this book a couple of months ago,but just like everything else,it’s all water off a duck’s back with you. You have suugested in the past that we should educate ourselves,so I am just returning the favour,”

    I find it fascinating that a person who so consistently uses insults, sarcasm, and verbal abuse, apparently attempting to maximize conflict among people here at NBL, recommends a book written by a man who administers a program called Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research. I wonder: How do you explain this dramatically self-contradictory behavior, and what do you hope to accomplish with your attempted insults and sarcasm? Do you actually fantasize that insults, sarcasm, and/or verbal violence work well in informing and persuading others?

    If I want to spend some time reading? I usually read for two to four hours each day with three to five books in progress. How much time do you spend reading each day on average, David? How many books do you usually read each month? I also wonder why you consider it okay for you and others to lecture here (often in verbally abusive ways), but not for me to express myself. How do you account for this double standard?

    Despite your continuing sarcasm and attempted insults, I look forward to reading War, Peace, and Human Nature and comparing Fry’s evidence and reasoning with that of other authors I have recently read.

    I pose this question to you and to anyone else who reads this and may also wonder about it: Why do you suppose so many people have so much trouble discussing issues without resorting to insults, sarcasm, personal attacks, and various kinds of verbal violence? I have a number of my own ideas about this, but I wonder what you and others think.

  • Bud, you’ve misunderstood my point completely—I’m also saying we don’t know enough to create better social systems than the kinds of systems observed in the evolution of complex biological systems. I’m saying anarchism for human social organisation is like the evolutionary process for complex systems and it is what has gone on for billions of years (I already discussed this in an earlier thread). The rejection of anarchistic (bottom up) ways of “government” is what goes against evolution. Current/modern human societies aren’t anarchies but rather engineered from the top down, particularly the modern nation states. By anarchy I just mean the absence of a (top down) ruler. A pure democracy would also be an anarchy. A representative democracy with a leader at the top isn’t. A dictatorship isn’t. An oligarcy isn’t.

    You write “social, biological realities” as though they are aligned. Modern humans are the only species on this planet that I know of that have the ability to create a top down form of government. Primates other than humans don’t representative democracies. Dolphins don’t.

    Yes, evolution has produced us as a tangent, an organism capable of directed evolution, but it is the bacteria that have been around for billions of years, not the human tangent. Also we don’t need top down government to do directed evolution. I’m saying our current system of government ignores how complex systems have evolved. Our current social systems are not fully aligned with the other complex systems observed in nature and aren’t a product of evolutionary processes; it’s actually the contrary.

  • ECCE HOMO

    Are you just a high IQ monkey?
    Or a too civilized honky?
    The question makes Wester
    And Bud start to fester.
    I think I’ll ask Benjamin the Donkey.

  • David Higham, thank you for posting re: the book link. I see that it is fairly recent.

    Mo Flow, thanks for the link to Raymond Kelly. I did see it the other day but wasnt too sure which parts to pull out!

  • Hey ed, at least he had a long, trouble-free life. Kids are being born more and more often with problems that will impact their entire lives.

    http://ensia.com/features/what-are-we-doing-to-our-childrens-brains/

    What are we doing to our children’s brains?
    Environmental chemicals are wreaking havoc to last a lifetime

    [begins]

    February 16, 2015 — The numbers are startling. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.8 million more children in the U.S. were diagnosed with developmental disabilities between 2006 and 2008 than a decade earlier. During this time, the prevalence of autism climbed nearly 300 percent, while that of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder increased 33 percent. CDC figures also show that 10 to 15 percent of all babies born in the U.S. have some type of neurobehavorial development disorder. Still more are affected by neurological disorders that don’t rise to the level of clinical diagnosis.

    And it’s not just the U.S. Such impairments affect millions of children worldwide. The numbers are so large that Philippe Grandjean of the University of Southern Denmark and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Philip Landrigan of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York — both physicians and preeminent researchers in this field — describe the situation as a “pandemic.”

    [further down, the “money” quote]

    One particularly concerning source of exposure to chemicals that are suspected to harm children’s brain development is air pollution, which is a complex mixture of various chemicals and particulate matter.

    [leading to the conclusion]

    While we now know a great deal about developmental neurotoxicants, more such exposures appear to be occurring than ever before. And there appears to be wide agreement among researchers that these exposures are taking a toll on the world’s children.

    [read the rest if interested]

    https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2015/02/climate-changed.html

    Climate Changed [article from Monday, Feb. 16]

    The now familiar wavy jet stream (ala Dr. Francis) is illustrated but others that may not be so obvious are shown too – like much larger waves than usual due to the wind. [check it out]

  • Guy,

    Ur interview with Derrick/Santa Clause/Roast was brightly illuminating! Best yet!

  • War, alliances, and cooperation are found at every level from molecules to empires.

    It is true that some species evolve to eliminate intra-species warfare, probably at times and places where such warfare confers insufficient advantage over its cost. When circumstances changed, so could behaviours to those that were more adaptive, including the resumption of war.

    Many primates including the chimpanzee exhibit intra-species violence. It is not unreasonable to postulate that the chimpanzee evolutionary lineage up to the common ancestor with humans had similar violent characteristics, which could also be retained in the lineage leading to humans after its split from the lineage to chimpanzees.

    Just as bonobos ceased violence, some hominins (the lineage past the chimpanzee split, minus the side branches) may have also become peaceful – for a time, at a place, even a long time at a big place.

    Being peacful implies absence of resource scarcity, which in turn implies external constraints on population expansion. This could be through high infant and child mortality from childhood diseases, mortality from communicable diseases, predation or inhospitable environments at all ages.

    Once such constraints are removed population expansion against limits to resources will change the situation. Expansion was into other’s lands if the natives could be exterminated. The natives of the Old World were not susceptible to eradication by smallpox, measles, etc. and so where possible were subjugated, to remote controlled group slavery. This enabled the extraction and diversion of resources.

  • ed, we all need the hard earned wisdom of Oliver Sachs.

  • Wester,
    You have brought up two interesting topics in your last two posts. I.e., “What is truth”, and John Rashton Saul’s question regarding the apparent fact that if 50% of people believe global warming is a threat to human existence, why take a chance that they could be right and thus suffer extinction?

    Aren’t ‘truths’ strictly in the eye of their beholders. To know any truth would imply being God-like as most truths, if not all truths, have time as their worst enemy. If given enough time, every ‘truth’ seems to become a victim of the lack of empirical knowledge of its maker. Until we have the ability to know all there is to know about a topic, there will never be absolute truths, just assumptions.

    Saul’s dilemma in your clip is even more problematic. It’s the slowly boiling frogs in the pot syndrome. Dr. Helen Caldicott could not have been more direct in her presentations regarding the dangers of nuclear war. She organized thousand of marches in which millions participated in the hope of ridding ourselves of nuclear arsenals, even though the consequences of using them would be fatal for all, but to no avail. If we don’t remove the reasons why nuclear weapons exist, they will continue to sit in their silos (hopefully). If we don’t remove the reasons why we continue to destroy the environmental health of the planet, we will continue to do so until it becomes unlivable. If we were collectively rational, would nuclear war still be hanging over our heads?

  • ED….
    Thanks for the reference. Very sobering and loving thoughts.

  • Thanks mo and David Higham!

    You’re both stars!!

  • I’ve posted anew, courtesy of Alton C. Thompson. It’s here.

  • Mr Nye wrote this in reply to David Higham:

    “I find it fascinating that a person who so consistently uses insults, sarcasm, and verbal abuse, apparently attempting to maximize conflict among people here at NBL, recommends a book written by a man who administers a program called Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research. I wonder: How do you explain this dramatically self-contradictory behavior, and what do you hope to accomplish with your attempted insults and sarcasm? Do you actually fantasize that insults, sarcasm, and/or verbal violence work well in informing and persuading others?”

    There is no contradictory behaviour because Mr Higham displays none of the accusations that you have levelled against him in his post to you. Where has he “consistently used insults, sarcasm and verbal abuse”? There is projection going on here because you yourself use thinly veiled attempts at derogatory comments levelled at anyone who disagrees with you. Your forte is in using words in a perjorative manner in an attempt to belittle peoples views eg the constant use in a perjorative manner of “romantic”, “naive” and in your manner of talking AT people and lately using the sneaky tactic of attempted linkage vis a vis, the attempted linking of myself with someone who we all know is not too well respected on here, Scott Johnson in order to discredit what is actually being said. Not too mention the false accusation of attacking people some of whom ive never heard of!

    Mr Nye also asked this:

    “I pose this question to you and to anyone else who reads this and may also wonder about it: Why do you suppose so many people have so much trouble discussing issues without resorting to insults, sarcasm, personal attacks, and various kinds of verbal violence? I have a number of my own ideas about this, but I wonder what you and others think.”

    I dont agree with the loaded nature of the question which presupposes your analysis is the correct one. The vast majority of comments on here display no such characteristics in my opinion. An example being in my own case that I just highlighted above where you have read and stated something (re the false accusation) that wasn’t actually there.

  • note, to avoid any possible confusion from these two statements by Bud:

    “recommends a book written by a man who administers a program called Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research”

    “I look forward to reading War, Peace, and Human Nature and comparing Fry’s evidence and reasoning with that of other authors I have recently read.”

    Douglas Fry is only the editor of this collection. this is not his “evidence and reasoning,” alone, simply to be compared “with that of other authors.”

    as I gathered from the reviews and comments on Amazon, there are 32 individual authors, all apparently highly regarded, and presenting what is actually a wide range of views.

    From Amazon:

    War, Peace, and Human Nature

    Editorial Reviews

    “There can hardly be a more urgent task than to understand ‘the causes of war and the potential for peace,’ the guiding theme of this illuminating collection, drawing from a rich and varied array of sources. These deeply researched studies provide thoughtful and provocative insights into how we might at last be able achieve the promise of the UN Charter, ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,’ a recent innovation in human history, and not an ineradicable curse.” -Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    “This encyclopedic collection of excellent, wide-ranging, and myth-busting essays by renowned scholars should be required reading for anyone interested in how we came to be who we are and the future of humankind. A much-needed paradigm shift is in the making because of the increased recognition that we are not inherently destructive and competitive beings. This remarkable book will facilitate this transition as we expand our compassion footprint and give peace the chance it deserves. Cooperation, empathy, and peace will prevail if we allow them to.”-Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals, Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals, and The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint

    “Douglas Fry has produced another pioneering book of the highest quality and relevance. A distinguished international and interdisciplinary group of authors address the elusive concept of human nature in relation to war and peace rigorously marshalling clear reason and hard data. Together they systematically and effectively critique the Western cultural myth of the natural inevitability of war while also demonstrating that peace rather than war is ubiquitous. Moreover, practical ways are revealed for creating a more secure and peaceful world.”-Leslie E. Sponsel, author of Spiritual Ecology: A Quiet Revolution

    Bud – your own uses of insults, sarcasm, and verbal abuse aren’t nearly as well cloaked as you think they are. do you think we all see those things as just additional extensions of your logic? they aren’t working as appeals from the emotive side of the spectrum, either.

    Wester – that is one hell of a quote from ol’ Fred.

  • @Tom: Hey ed, at least he (Oliver Sachs) had a long, trouble-free life. Kids are being born more and more often with problems that will impact their entire lives.

    http://ensia.com/features/what-are-we-doing-to-our-childrens-brains/

    What are we doing to our children’s brains?
    Environmental chemicals are wreaking havoc to last a lifetime

    >>>

    Tom, you obviously don’t know much about Oliver Sachs. His story is not unlike Temple Grandin’s. For both of them, their life calling and their genius emerged out of the fact that their own brains didn’t work “right”.

    Sachs has talked many times how “off” his way of processing the world is – and that has helped him immerse himself deeply in the world of others who are “off” in other ways.

    He is the real life protagonist in the wonderful movie starring Robin Williams (as him) called Awakenings:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awakenings

  • ed: yes, i knew nothing of this man until reading the piece you linked to.
    Interesting that he was “damaged” yet made a mark on the world and lived to be 81. Thanks for pointing that out – i’ll check out the Awakenings link.

  • unquantifiable thanks Jef, will get back after checking

  • Ol’ McDonald Lost His Farm
    Human crop and pasture lands are to blame for 80% of species extinction.
    Our mass food kills butterflies, birds and bees and sickens life itself.
    If we don’t rewild crop and pasture ecosystems, mega flora and fauna will die off.
    Don’t listen do Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben, extinction is final and
    climate change is only responsible for 7% of species extinction so far.
    400 ppm will end with 17°C in 1000 years
    The world cannot endure 1°C for fuckn sure.
    What you are told is 10 years behind the truth.
    I will reinvestigate carbon charring and get back to you.
    peace cheers .)