Philosophy and Conservation Biology

I’m re-posting below an essay, verbatim, from 26 August 2007. Consistent with my usual recent pattern, I’m adding a few introductory words and an embedded song.

This sweet virginal primitive land will metaphorically breathe a sigh of relief — like a whisper of wind — when we are all and finally gone and the place and its creations can return to their ancient procedures unobserved and undisturbed by the busy, anxious, brooding consciousness of man.

~ Edward Abbey


I discovered ancient philosophy in the middle of an unexamined life. It was quite a find. Almost immediately I revised my approach to classroom teaching, which was already steeped in liberalism.

As my perspective broadened, so did my expectations for students. My mission to impart knowledge was transformed into a mission to enhance the acquisition of wisdom. Professional employment for every student — the goal of university administrators everywhere — was replaced with my goal, instilling in every student the desire to pursue excellence.

My own educational experiences provided no clues that philosophy and conservation biology were old acquaintances. I was determined my students would not leave the university as ignorant as I entered it.


Asking a contemporary scientist with a Ph.D. (i.e., a Doctor of Philosophy) about philosophy typically draws a blank stare or, occasionally, an inquisitive gaze. Philosophy rarely is taught in science classes at any level of education, including the Ph.D. Across campus, a dose of science is taught in the philosophy department, but practicing scientists rarely are involved in the conversation.

Yet the identical twins Science and Philosophy were born in ancient Athens. Most contemporary philosophers claim the twins’ father was Thales of Miletus (a city in Asia Minor, now Turkey), largely based on two events: Thales was the first to calculate the height of Egypt’s pyramids (which he did before traveling to Greece by measuring the length of the pyramids’ shadows) and, even more notably, the first to predict a solar eclipse (in 585 BC). Inseparable and indistinguishable for nearly two millennia, Science and Philosophy were viewed as one and the same child. Little evidence remains of Thales, and the majority of his ideas ultimately were buried beneath the landslide of Grecian reason capped by Socrates and Plato. Philosophical advances continued to pile up, but Alfred North Whitehead famously described two millennia of these advances as mere footnotes to Plato.

Despite minor quibbles, Science and Philosophy remained close for several centuries before they were irrevocably forced apart during, ironically, the Enlightenment. Although most educated people could distinguish the twins by the mid-1600s, when intellectual and political battles produced notable differences in the twin icons of reason, they remained friends for another three centuries, until the biblical root of all evil came between them. By 1945, Bertrand Russell introduced his comprehensive History of Western Philosophy by dividing knowledge into three categories: science represents the known universe, theology represents dogma (which I would not call “knowledge”), and philosophy represents the “No Man’s Land” between the two. Russell concluded that philosophy, like science, relies on reason and that, like theology, it consists of speculations beyond definitive knowledge. Scientific advances resulting from the Enlightenment reduced philosophy to such a narrow domain that it “suffered more from modernity than any other field of human endeavor,” according to Hannah Arendt’s 1958 book, The Human Condition (p. 294). The post-Aristotle shift from deduction to induction contributed to, or perhaps merely was symptomatic of, philosophy’s demise and the coincident rise of science.

In the wake of World War II and five years after Russell’s capacious historical account acknowledged and contributed to the chasm between science and philosophy, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation that created the National Science Foundation of the United States (NSF). This new and influential organization swung the final ax that doomed Science and Philosophy to separate existences. The NSF was created in 1950 and became a dominant influence — perhaps the dominant influence — on the nature and conduct of science by 1955. Confined to separate quarters, Science and Philosophy barely speak to each other in the 21st century. Casual observers would never know they once looked alike, as evidenced by treatment of the two entities on university campuses: compartmentalization is the order of the day.

The marginalization of philosophy has coincided with the rise of “big science.” British philosopher John Gray goes so far as to write (in his excellent short book, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals), “philosophy is a subject without a subject matter” (p. 82).

Well, maybe. I tend to think of philosophy in much the same way I think about science and art: it’s personal. Paul Feyerabend notwithstanding, science has rules, more or less. But science as a way of understanding the universe — in sharp contrast to the societal expectation of science as a never-ending font of technology — is a personal journey of curiosity addressed with unbridled creativity. So, too, are art and philosophy. Although science often produces knowledge that is more repeatable and reliable than the other two endeavors, it’s not at all clear that either outcome is used by, or useful for, the typical person. On the other hand, many people use technology — the perceived point of science — as a tool to assault the natural world while temporarily satisfying our insatiable urge to divorce ourselves from physical reality.

If reason arose in Athens, passion for the natural world was born in the Orient. Specifically, Lao Tzu’s masterful book of poetry Tao The Ching was written approximately coincident with the development of pre-Socratic philosophy in Greece (the birth year of Lao Tzu, who perhaps represented a single person, traditionally is accepted as 570 BC, 15 years after Thales predicted a solar eclipse). Whereas Platonists often are blamed for divorcing humanity from the natural world, Eastern thought has maintained a tight connection between humans and their environment, and has exalted nature in the process (China’s recent embrace of free-market capitalism has produced the expected deterioration of that country’s environment). Tao Te Ching is the most famous example in the Western world, but Lao Tzu merely was reflecting his culture. Further, cursory inspection of virtually any of the major Eastern religions reveals strong links between nature and humanity.

Reason arose in Greece about 25 centuries ago, and is perhaps best known from Plato’s Socratic Dialogues. Plato (ca. 428-348 BC) uses the conversations of Socrates to pose and explore questions in considerable detail. Although many of the issues and associated conversations seem unsophisticated to contemporary readers, these initial attempts to employ logic to study the natural world and the role of humans in the world are remarkable precisely because they were the unprecedented. The contributions of ancient Greece to the material worldview that characterizes modernity cannot be overstated; that so many of the contributions came from Athens, a city that never exceeded 250,000 residents, is simply astonishing.

Although the ancient Greeks laid the foundation for modernity, few bricks were added to the structure for nearly two millennia. During the early seventeenth century, the empiricist Francis Bacon (1561-1626) and the deconstructionist René Descartes (1596-1650) ushered in the Enlightenment, thereby triggering a flurry of construction to the edifice of knowledge. Almost overnight it became clear that the world was a material one that could be observed and quantified by all who dared think and observe. Nature obeyed rules and humans were big-brained animals capable of discovering and describing those rules.

Thus, the Enlightenment eroded the role of authority as a source of knowledge. In the wake of Giordano Bruno’s heinous execution by the Catholic Church, Bacon recanted earlier statements in which he denied the Ptolemaic view that Earth was the center of the universe. But the erosion of authority that began as a trickle quickly became a flood, and the Church was increasingly marginalized as a source of knowledge.

David Hume (1711-1776), in his initial written piece of philosophy, presented a compelling case against miracles, hence against religion: “Of Miracles” was published in 1748 as an essay in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understandings. (Hume became particularly well known the idea that what “is” does not indicate what “ought” to be.) Shortly before Charles Darwin formalized the theory of evolution by natural selection in the Origin of Species (1859), Schopenhauer (1788-1860) used Plato-like dialogue to question the basis of religion (“Religion: A Dialogue”) and Max Stirner declared the death of God in his 1845 book, The Ego and Its Own. Notably influenced by Schopenhauer and writing shortly after publication of Darwin’s dangerous idea, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) vociferously spread the word about God’s death (probably without awareness of Stirner’s work) while predicting that Reason would overwhelm worldviews based on mysticism (while proclaiming science to be a lie; like all other humans, Hume and Nietzsche contained many contradictions). Nietzsche expressed his views on Christianity early and often in his writings, most popularly with Thus Spoke Zarathustra. I prefer The Antichrist because it represents Nietzsche’s views on God particularly clearly and vehemently. And also because this work was intended to be shockingly blasphemous.

With respect to the rise of Reason, Nietzsche was an optimist. As S. Jonathan Singer concludes in his 2001 book, The Splendid Feast of Reason, it appears unlikely that more than ten percent of people are capable of employing reason as a basis for how they live. Singer likely did not know he was echoing Schopenhauer, although Schopenhauer’s use of dialogue in his essay clearly indicates he knew he was echoing Plato in reaching the same conclusion.

Collectively, these authors from the Enlightenment illustrate the capacity for, and importance of, Reason. Reason is the basis for understanding the material world. As such, it serves as the foundation upon which conservation biology can be understood and practiced. We can willingly conserve nature and its parts only through description and understanding rooted in reality. Mysticism has proven an insufficient foundation for conserving nature. Ultimately, it doubtless will prove inadequate for saving humanity as well.

It is not at all clear that humanity can be saved (or, for that matter, is worth saving). Evolution drives us to breed, drives us to procreate, and drives us to accumulate resources. Evolution always pushes us toward the brink, and culture piles on, hurling us into the abyss. Nietzsche was correct about our lack of free will — as Gray points out in Straw Dogs — free will is an illusion. It’s not merely the foam on the beer: it’s the last bubble of foam, the one that just popped. It’s no surprise, then, that we are sleepwalking into the future, or that the future is a lethal cliff.

Comments 125

  • Steven L Herman ‏@W7VOA 29m29 minutes ago Bangkok, Thailand
    #Thailand today recorded its highest ever temp: 44.6C at Mae Hong Son, beating 44.5C at Uttaradit in Apr. 1960.

  • I was dismayed that the video presentation was not longer.

    It would be nice if there is a video version with the entire presentation.

    On to the 2007 post about the philosophy and science twins that eventually were split up.

    I found a Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) site that is active internationally.

    As to mysticism vs science, which Guy also touched upon, one thing that bugs me is the practice of “speaking in tongues” which practitioners in both of those arenas tend to use to the demise of understanding in the minds of laypersons that try to follow them (The 1.14% vs. The 100% – 2).

    I like the way Guy speaks because it is understandable.

  • @Doctor Guy McPherson

    “… free will is an illusion. It’s not merely the foam on the beer: it’s the last bubble of foam, the one that just popped.”

    Lack of any free will? Or is there partly free will?

    If you claim, that there is lack of any free will, then there is no real responsibility for anything any man does. And therefore, if there is no responsibility for anything after all, then your work, your mission isn’t any more excellent, than the work of Empire, then both of you, Empire and you are just automatic machines doing what they are programmed for. Then any attempt of “pursuing a live of excellence” is obsolete, a farce.

    If you deny free will completely, then you deny responsibility completely and if you deny responsibility, then you deny free will, because both are two sides of one coin.

    You like Lao Tzu, the Tao Te King, right? What about that?:

    ” Knowing others is intelligence;
    knowing yourself is true wisdom.
    Mastering others is strength;
    mastering yourself is true power.”

    ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

    That doesn’t fit to the claim, that there isn’t any free will, resp. any responsibility, right?

    ” If you understand others you are smart.
    If you understand yourself you are illuminated.
    If you overcome others you are powerful.
    If you overcome yourself you have strength.
    If you know how to be satisfied you are rich.
    If you can act with vigor, you have a will.
    If you don’t lose your objectives you can be long-lasting.
    If you die without loss, you are eternal.”

    ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

    ” Knowing others is wisdom;
    Knowing the self is enlightenment.
    Mastering others requires force;
    Mastering the self requires strength;
    He who knows he has enough is rich.
    Perseverance is a sign of will power.”

    ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

    ” Love is a decision – not an emotion!”

    ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  • Hahaha. On one hand, Lao Tzu says:

    Not-knowing is true knowledge.
    Presuming to know is a disease.
    First realize that you are sick;
    then you can move toward health.”

    ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

    And on the other hand, he says:

    Knowing others is intelligence;
    knowing yourself is true wisdom.
    Mastering others is strength;
    mastering yourself is true power.”

    – Lao Tzu, Tao Te King

    Why is that? Here is the answer:

    ” Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Have the patience to wait! Be still and allow the mud to settle.”

    ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

    ” A good traveler has no fixed plans
    and is not intent upon arriving.
    A good artist lets his intuition
    lead him wherever it wants.
    A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
    and keeps his mind open to what is.

    Thus the Master is available to all people
    and doesn’t reject anyone.
    He is ready to use all situations
    and doesn’t waste anything.
    This is called embodying the light.

    What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher?
    What is a bad man but a good man’s job?
    If you don’t understand this, you will get lost,
    however intelligent you are.
    It is the great secret.”

    ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  • .

    I gave this some thought last night after our discussion, and decided I will honor your insistence that I address your points. Particularly because you threw out the term lecture, which is a one sided conversation, and I deserve the right to rebut your accusations, which then turns your lecture back into an honest debate over the issue.

    mrogness posts a mild comment

    That’s an attempt at minimizing what actually happened there david.

    Here’s what mrogness said about my comments that I took issue with.

    The sputtering and stuttering posts towards the end of yesterday were for me tiresome and tedious.

    That is not a mild comment to the person on the receiving end of this sort of attempt at social humiliation david. What did that address about the subject of my comments? Nothing. It was a comment directed at the person, and not directed at the idea’s the person was attempting to communicate at all, stuttering English or not. That’s something that goes on in a veiled way a lot around here toward the people who aren’t member’s of the ‘in group’ clique … drive by insults directed at a person without addressing any of the points in their comment whatsoever.

    Here’s the quote from Guy’s rules …

    3. keep focused on ideas as much as possible, not the people who hold the ideas.

    This seems to be an interpretive rule based solely on the in groups own agenda.

    Furthermore, mrogness seems to want to bully away from here an entire class of people who couldn’t afford multiple iterations of empires secondary education in order to reach a certain level of proficiency in writing, one that he arbitrarily, and with a double standard as well, chooses to draw a line for. Here’s from Guy’s rules …

    2. no attacks on classes of people.

    Sorry if I was too poor to get more schoolin’ mrogness. I guess I’m disqualified now to type on the internet with my stumbling and stuttering writing that comes across to you as nothing more than drunken buffoonery. Why don’t you try harder at looking for the content in my comments instead of focusing so much on the misleading illusion of form, or why don’t you just skip over them then if they are so arduous for you to read?

    Regarding this idea mrogness has that it’s all about addressing the presentation and not the content; in a allusion to nature, forests serve a purpose by their content, and we hopefully don’t mow them down just because the trees don’t all stand perfectly straight and in neat little rows. Regarding form over function, it seems mrogness prefers the form only, and makes no attempt beyond that to perceive the function. Is mrogness even trying to find any dialogue with me here at all? Or is he just looking to pick apart whatever he can in order to join his friends in suppressing my contributions to this site because he in fact doesn’t like my content, as happens to others around here continually?

    Again, he had no comment regarding the subject matter of my comments at all, it was just, I believe, intended as a swipe at my person and nothing more. An attempt to humiliate. And as far as his suggestion that my purpose here should be to flatter Guy, well he can make that his motivation for being here, but it’s not my motivation for being here. Heartfelt compliments are fine, and I’ve given them out to Guy many times in the past when I saw fit. However, I actually find flattery as an ongoing trait to be suspicious and usually manipulative in it’s intentions. I learned that from the I Ching. No. I’m not here to flatter Guy. I’m here to discuss ideas, and hopefully not be bullied away from being able to do so in the same manner so many others have been chased off by the clique.


    Let me shorten this now for you david, it’s a deep subject. I felt Kirks statements were just more piling on from the bully gang here after mrogness’ veiled attack. Kirk already took a pretty humiliating swipe at me once in about the second week I was here way back when, one that also didn’t address ideas and was merely a drive my smear. See, there was even a history here, david, one that plays a role in cases of ongoing bullying. Bullying is a cumulative strategy, and one often done by groups one cut at a time.

    I find it ridiculous that you come up with this argument that I am in no position to point out Lidia’s narcissistic patterns to her bullying, when your friends are freely allowed to diagnose people as having delusional disorder, which is also an equivalent psychiatric condition david. Go look it up. Your friends are using a clinical psychiatric condition as a slur here all the time. I wasn’t even using my past research into narcissism as an uninformed slur, I actually have done the research, similar to the way Guy has researched climate issues without holding a degree in that field either.

    Guy is not a climate scientist, and his whole gig here is based on his acknowledgement that a person can research their own information and assemble observations based on other people’s knowledge and data. You’re accusations here, again, represent your glaring penchant for applying double standards to situations and people david. I could provide you with links to research on narcissism, but I doubt you would even go read them. Type the word into google yourself and do your own data gathering and analysis if you are really that interested in the subject. The same way Guy researches climate data. Yes, I’ve done that footwork before david, lot’s of it.

    With this much written already, I have decided to cut this off about here. I won’t go into Tom’s bullying and bigotry, or others, I already did that for you earlier. I think you have done a lot of minimizing here david, and not once acknowledged that I wasn’t the one leveling the drive by smears at people first, they were. You give no acknowledgement to the value of standing up to a bully. And I find your minimization of what you did to humiliate that poor woman who posted here once and then never came back again to be weak. Anyone can walk into the principals office and apologize after the fact. Bullies will do that perpetually, and with no true remorse or change in their behavior at all.

    There is a definite clique going on in this place, one that has socially sanctioned the humiliation of people who hold certain discussions and opinions, it’s an obvious effort to suppress these subjects, whether that’s subconscious or not. Bullying without debating the person’s ideas at all is not a debate, it’s bullying. Since the moderators here have a clause that says “interpretation and enforcement of the rules is at the discretion of the moderators”, it seems to me that the only rule out of the list that they are able to perceive infractions against is the one involving counting to three.

    I could go on forever about this david. Your minimizing and denial and double standards are not very sound arguments. I don’t find debating this with you to be productive at all anymore, and you haven’t addressed any of my points yet you know, which is another double standard. I really don’t think you get it at all david, so that was my response to your request for me to address your points, which I have now done.

    One last thing david, in regard to your comments about the voracity of my actions when countering against the bullying phenomenon. Yes david, when I see a bully bullying myself or someone else, I metaphorically take them out behind the barn and shoot them. And good riddance too. It’s vile, despicable behavior, behavior that should never be brushed under the carpet the way you have tried to do here. I found the way you treated that poor woman here to be disgusting, and so did someone else from here, a woman, who emailed me privately and congratulated me for standing up for that woman that day.

    I’m finished with this conversation about you now david. You may continue it alone if you like.

  • I believe determinist argument of no free will is the strongest argument but intuitively I know that within all the heavy constraints of culture I can occasionally squeak out my very own free will analysis of reality. And Yes the only beautiful religious ecstacy can be found in LiPO,HanShan,Ryokan. THe monotheistic religions possess such a perversely narcissistic focus on nasty white male humans it makes my skin crawl. There is something truly sick about a religion completely built around male humans.

  • Free will is what we beat out of you when we want your opinion.” – General Jesus (Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala – 4).

    Gimme a won, gimme a Tzu:

    The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives …

    The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness …

    By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.” [- Sun Tzu]
    (Is War An Art or Is War A Disease?, 2).

    Tzu + Tzu = Art of War

  • LWA,
    You seem to think that you are doing a community service by your attacks on Tom and Lidia. Your approach is similar to Steve’s. Keep up the
    insults and hounding,and eventually they will leave. Perhaps you should go back and read the number of insulting,aggressive comments that you and Steve gave to Lidia in particular. I am not surprised if she and Tom have decided to leave,
    As I have already stated,Tom was a very helpful commenter here for years.
    Almost every day I read one the links he provided. Judging by the number
    of replies she receives,Lidia is also regarded as a valuable contributor here. I and many others regard her comments as insightful and well worth reading.
    At least you are not renaming mrogness ‘mruglyness’ in your reply.
    I guess that counts as progress.

    I haven’t read your essay as yet,Guy. I will do so now.

  • .
    Ok, one more david. After Tom’s insults and hounding, one of the people I enjoyed hearing from here left and never returned again, over the very incident you have referred to. So no, I don’t feel sorry for your rude friend at all. And it’s interesting you think bad behavior is sanctioned by popularity. I think that’s how the Australian aboriginals are getting extinguished, isn’t it?

    Your argument is bizarre david. It’s so simple … just put forth a argument against something couched as a debate of ideas, and you won’t have problems. Insult people without couching in any debate of ideas at all, and you will meet with resistance from people. richards couched an argument in almost complete polarity to a discussion I had yesterday. There was no problem at all, it was just a debate, and we debated. If he had come at me with nothing but degrading insults like Tom did that day, then yes, there would have been a difference there in how that all went down. richards gets it. I don’t know why you and your entitled friends don’t.

    This really isn’t rocket science to figure out you know david. It’s actually really, really easy. So far, no improvement from you I guess. Now you’re after steve too. Wow, just wow. Like groundhog day.

  • I will let the readers decide who is the one posting bizarre comments,
    LWA. Do you think that readers can’t go back to check how you and Steve
    insulted and attacked Lidia? Steve had never addressed any of Lidia’s
    comments,then posted some insulting,aggressive comments towards her.
    Then you joined in the attack. It’s all there in black and white,LWA.

  • I had a pretty good dust up with lidia over her smart ass treatment of guy. Anybody who looks back at that verbal dust up will see lidia use of the english language was for more agile than mine and therefore more clever and biting in her attacks. She was being an asshole. Oh yeah all of us suck tremendously because we are all at the apex of empire and display zero humility. Like the slaveowners children looking out the back window upon the horror of slavery with almost complete indifference. Oh some of us might display a moment of compassion for this or that plant but lets be honest the reason this website has so many hits is because of the concept NTHE if it was titled NTE no one would give a FUCK!!!!!!!!!

  • LWA – how ’bout the flame thrower you turned on Sabine over on kuku? Was she being a bully too? She disappeared and hasn’t returned.

    You preach weak woo — about Oprah speed, and you go all kook out when someone rubs you wrong.

    Why not do your closing act where you stomp and huff and swear you’ll never return?

  • That previuos post should of been NTE not THE.

    mod note

    fixed that for you steve.

    BTW, I’ve just trashed two overposts from you. you are now in delete mode for overposts, as I had just posted a rules reminder on this, and you are showing a pattern of disregard for that rule. next stop for further disregard of rules: moderation approval for all your posts. no further warnings. ~ mo

  • Mr. Higham, I would “side” with you, Tom, Lidia, Sabine, Kevin Moore, and possibly a VERY few others any day in “opposition” to the inane believer(s) you seem wont to so tenaciously engage. However, I “must” ask, have you not reached a point of “diminishing returns?” Has it not become apparent that your endeavor has become an exercise in futility? Believers will always believe and learners will learn and never the twain shall meet.

    BTW, your explication of the 3-4-5 triangle was spot-on but I think it would have been “kinder” to allow the arrogantly ignorant to remain so.

  • “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events;
    small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt 

    Looks like DMSP F-17 is still having sensory difficulties:
    (I have contacted the Cryospheric Science department to see if this is the data they are sourcing.) You can still see the trend despite the glitches.

  • This would be hilarious if it were not so pathetic. LWA claims that “we” (those who disagree with his view of things) are “a team of instigators”. What we “instigate”, I can’t imagine, nor does he choose to elucidate.

    But if we *don’t* comment, we are “silent in some protest by comment strike … just manipulation and passive aggression.” !!!!

    Can’t win for losin’ in the LWA universe: he has designed it that way.

    Understandably, I haven’t regarded commenting here as either useful or pleasant any longer, but I just couldn’t pass up noting this howler.

    David Higham, I appreciate your defense of reasonableness, but you are wasting your breath/electrons/pixels. Please ask Guy for my e-mail.

    Despite the blog owner’s appeal above, I’m perfectly happy for this space to be given over to alien visitees, Atlanteans, remote viewers, self-identified gods of astral planes, and other messengers of “love”.

    They can have it.

  • @david higham, re. steve.. it’s like when chickens see a spot of red.

  • not the dreaded red spot!

  • that’s a heat indicator, no?

  • From the book: The Importance of Living, by Lin Yutang:

    Life, then, is really a dream, and we human beings are like travelers floating down the eternal river of time, embarking at a certain point and disembarking again at another point in order to make room for others waiting below the river to come aboard.

    (Perhaps the same is true for species and living planets and universes.)

  • Guy, I saw the recent video where you had paint on your hands from working on a bathroom project. At what point do we say, “Fuck it, the peeling paint is good enough for me.”?

    Now, maybe this was new drywall or something, and so the paint serves an immediate sanitary need, but whatever.

    I run into these kinds of conundrums more frequently nowadays. I replaced a rotted fence post with a treated lumber timber, guaranteed to last for 30 years, but WTF? At this stage, it’s not like it has to last longer than 15 years, maybe less.

    I run into these sorts of conundrums constantly. We might laugh at people who are still stuffing cash into their 401k, but really, isn’t everyone operating on circuits that just aren’t up to the task of NTE?
    When’s a good time to throw up our hands, and start hitting the bottle?

    When I do, I tell everyone it’s because I lack free will, and mean it.

  • “When’s a good time to throw up our hands, and start hitting the bottle?”

    This is an excellent question and really why I hang around here. I realize Guy has given the 2030 date but am not quite convinced. Timing is everything.

    I do think what is behind the amazing short term nature of the thinking of the powerful is that they have been presented with the evidence on near-term extinction. and are not planning on anything staying around at a certain point.

    For me the main effect is that I’ve given up on trying to leave any positive legacy. AFAIK, the main alternative on the menu to near-term extinction is some sort of civilization and population collapse this century, which actually does turn out to “solve” the pollution problem in sufficient time to save some remnant human population. But that would wash away anything I could achieve, which would have to be within the confines of this civilization, which is obviously dying. So no legacy either way.

    Even if the 2030 date is correct,that means a good decade of having to make rent.

  • Ed, the damage to an already crumbling infrastructure will insure the melt down of nuclear power plants and nuclear spent fuel and waste site. Many plants are past their due dates and are being held together with duct tape and bailing wire. The US is one of the worst of the rich countries for this. In 2013 the A.S.C.E graded Americas infrastructure: D+ and estimated bringing it up to speed would cost 3.6 trillion. There are 63,000 structurally deficient bridges in the US and their grid blacks out more than any other “developed” country. In addition to the nuke stuff there are many thousands of refineries and chemical plants the world over. Without 24/7 monitoring and constant maintenance they will go boom. Remember Bhopal? Last few weeks in Texas they has two multi billion dollar AGW jacked deluges. 17 inches in one day dumped on Houston and it will only get worse as more moisture is added to the atmosphere. All these events are going to break industrial civilization regardless of how we respond. None of it was engineered to take that kind of repeated beating. AGW is even messing up concrete and steel structures in ways most don’t know. I don’t subscribe to 2030, but It would be a miracle if there was anyone still around going into the next century and they would not last. Predicaments.

    11 nuke facility workers checked for chemical vapor exposure

    “Earlier this month, officials revealed that a tank known as AY-102 had leaked several thousand gallons of radioactive waste from its primary tank.

    It was the first of the 28 double-walled tanks at Hanford to be found to have leaked.

    The sprawling Hanford site is located near Richland, Washington, and was constructed during World War II to make plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons. Workers at the site are now engaged in cleaning up the leftover waste at a cost of more than $2 billion per year.

    The most dangerous wastes are stored in 177 underground tanks, most of them old, single-walled tanks, some of which have leaked. The double-walled tanks were presumed to be much safer.

    The latest estimate to finish the cleanup of Hanford is $107.7 billion and the work will take until 2060.”

    Climate change impact and risks of concrete infrastructure deterioration

    An Assessment of Climate Change Effects on Atmospheric Corrosion Rates of Steel Structures

    An Assessment of Climate Change Effects on Atmospheric Corrosion Rates of Steel Structures

  • Back peddling climate scientists and hopey, goal post moving, big environmentalists.

    I think they need a theme song.

  • Tomorrow 0429 3-4pm PDT. Later it will be available for download.
    KBOO FM Portland OR

    Dahr Jamail on War, Peace and Climate Disruption

    Online Streaming

  • A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.

    ‘Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,’ said the War College report.

    The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.” (Is War An Art or Is War A Disease?, quoting Phoenix Biz Journal).

    Sun Tzu “wrote the book” used in the War College art class.

  • [Slightly Off Topic]

    I’ve been a gardener for most of my life, and in recent years, weather patterns have worried me.

    It is well known that Guy McPherson speaks of the dangers of the climate warming by 4 degrees. That is well understood by the likes of myself.

    However, it is a feature of the warming climate, and that is the instability of the Jet Stream. In my case, over northern Europe. Because right now it is “unseasonably cold”. My point is that this is the Jet Stream acting abnormally; earlier this year, during the winter, it was “unseasonably warm” indeed the North Pole was 40 degrees warmer than it ought have been. Again, an abnormality of the Jet Stream taking warm air from the Atlantic and taking it far too far north.

    Having set the scene, if one looks at this kind of disturbed behaviour as a consequence of a warming climate, these disturbed patterns are extremely disturbing.

    Because migrating animals and birds cannot cope with the northern winter conditions now prevailing here in Europe in April. Nor are my plants very happy about the situation, albeit that many are still in my greenhouse – where a few years ago they would have been happily outdoors.

    The real point of this comment is that if these exaggerated periods of warm and cold should continue, the effect will be far worse than the loss of the bees. After all, we can hand pollinate crops, it is far harder to protect them from severe cold snaps.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Searing heat and drought grips India

    Drinking water is running short and hydro-electric and thermal power plants are starting to grind to a halt.


    More Than 300 Million People in India Are Reeling From the Worst Drought in Four Decades

    Millions of families have seen their crops destroyed, lost their livestock and suffered from life-threatening water shortages over several months, Reuters reports. However, the 50-wagon trains carrying 2.5 million L of water daily are not sufficient to meet the needs of the population.

  • Is that a mouse in the house or a war criminal?

    I see we’re back to Lord of the Flies again. Sigh.

  • Mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet has quadrupled over the last decade …” – 4/28/16 science paper

    Rivers of melt water on surface … East Antarctica (The Ghost-Water Constant – 7).

  • apneaman, good points. Yeah, I can’t get the numbers to work to keep humans, or really much else in the way of life, around past 2100. There is just too much independently that can go wrong, such as what happens with the nuclear plants and nuclear weapons. Something or other is bound to go seriously wrong. Otherwise, you are really hoping for alien space bats to intervene and save things.

    My difficulty with the 2030 prediction is just because having not gone extinct before, its too hard to get a handle on what actually happens or the timeline because we can’t look at what happened in the past. The most we can do is to try to guess from fossils what happened in past mass extinctions, a very long time ago, that had different triggers.

    I think the final blows will wind up coming very rapidly and unexpectedly and could happen at any time, but its just guesswork.

    But the timing is critical and it means preparing for this, even mentally, is just about impossible. In normal circumstances, everyone ages and dies and its somewhat possible to prepare for that. For many people, this predictable process could happen before the unpredictable human extinction, or some catastrophe that just falls short of that. You can figure out from the information we have that having children is just not a good idea right now, but I can’t see what you can get beyond that.

  • I heard it often here at NBL, that we are all in it, that we are all responsible for the funny shit, the planet is in, yeah, because, we eat, we drink, we use computers, we LIVE, hahaha. And you know what?! Scott Johnson over there at frac(k)talplanet is with you, he has exactly the same opinion. Funny, isn’t it?:

  • HAMLET, you are assuredly correct about fugged up circuitry in the brains of the public.

    But it must be emphasized that most innocent pilgrims’ brains have been distorted by the corrupt fawning corporate media.

    Or what else has long suffering Guy been wailing about?

  • Kevin Moore – down under, I miss your wise words about what really matters.

  • Ed, actually all previous extinction periods (14 total with 5 mass) included massive amounts of CO2 releases including the KT (dinosaurs).

    Double Catastrophe Wiped Out Dinosaurs: Deccan Traps Volcanism and Chicxulub Impact

    “An international team of scientists from India and the United States has uncovered evidence that a massive comet or asteroid impact on Earth 66 million years ago accelerated the eruptions of volcanoes in what is now the Deccan Traps of India for thousands of years, and that together these two catastrophes wiped out the dinosaurs and many other groups of organisms.”

    This time we’re the volcanism…..Only worse.

  • ” This time we’re the volcanism”.

    Don’t you think, that everybody at NBL knows perfectly about any mass extinction that ever happened throughout the whole fuckin Universe?! Go and tell you mass extinction story ExxonMobil et al.

    ” This time we’re the volcanism”.”

    I am not “vulcanism” (well, sometimes I might sound like vulcanism, harr harr), I am Nemesis:

  • .
    Guy, thanks for this essay, I enjoyed it a lot. I was sure I’d read it before, so I must have found it and read it in the archives. I think that’s my favorite thing about you, that you’ve explored a subjective perspective in combination with the objective perspective. The middle path. I wonder if that’s where your balanced thinking came from, why you remained in touch with the earth throughout your scientific pursuits of knowledge, and why you refused to sell out to empire and moved to your mud hut instead. Of course, those are just my own subjective musings there.

    I’ve found a few Mencius quotes to be interesting. Master Meng they called him, or, in my best Al Pacino voice, ‘Hey Meng.’

    If we wish to know whether anyone is superior or not, we need only observe what part of his being he regards as especially important. … He who cultivates the inferior parts of his nature is an inferior man. He who cultivates the superior parts of his nature is a superior man.

    (note: the use of inferior and superior here is not meant to imply ego or domination related ideas, it’s just a word choice, although an admittedly awkward one. Also, please insert your own gender neutral terms, it is from 600 B.C. after all.)

    The quote from Eleanor Roosevelt sort of reminded me of this one. Those were wise words from her. And that was a gopher, not a chipmunk, lol. Loved it all the same though. Thanks for that.

    Friday is love day around my place, sometimes even more so than the others.


  • i think that’s when things went south…when ideas became more important than people. refreshing perspective, hamlet. lwa…what does love day entail ? no wait, don’t tell me. just enjoy!

  • ‘gerald spezio Says:
    April 29th, 2016 at 10:43 am
    Kevin Moore – down under, I miss your wise words about what really matters.’

    Thanks for the compliment.

    I’m still alive. My personal circumstances continue to deteriorate. There is no way forward, no way back, and no way out. It turns out that ‘doing the right thing’ is actually doing the wrong thing.

    I still monitor all the important trends: everything that matters continues to be made rapidly worse by those in power and by humans in general; the John Key government is seen to be the most corrupt in NZ history by those who are awake (but they still only constitute a miniscule minority), and there are crises all over the place.

    The Auckland housing bubble continues to inflate, due to the stampede of migrants (every month a new record high): it’s absolutely insane in the long term but perfectly rational for those already on the rapidly rising escalator who make quick profits:

    ‘A potentially earthquake prone, one bedroom apartment that according to had been purchased for $505,000 in January was resold this week for ​$775,000, an increase of $270,000 (53%) in three months.’

    The NZ economy is in bad shape, the balance of payments is awful, debt levels continue to escalate, those with savings are being crushed, the RBNZ has no answers, there are scandals centred on tax havens and secret trusts for hiding ill-gotten gains of politicians, obesity is increasing, and water is starting to become a critical issue in many locations. But you’d never think anything was wrong from the absurd narratives delivered by the corrupt mainstream media.

    Then there’s the Arctic sea ice cover, which is at a record low and is declining at a phenomenal rate, portending greater climate chaos and massive sea level rise when the Greenland ice melts.

    I don’t say much anymore. I said a lot for 20 years and it made no difference. There are far too many deaf ears everywhere.

  • Kevin,
    For what it’s worth you have my sincere respect and gratitude. No matter how this fubar goes down at least you can hold your head high and know you did all you could to prevent or at least lessen the pain. I learned much from your book and I wish it had made the best seller list and become required reading in schools around the world. Although we’ve never met thank you from a long-time friend.

  • we are earths basalt extrusion flood. seat belts optional. thanks all.


    Let the idealists
    Throw light at distant darkness
    While the thinkers deeply think
    Things through.

    Let great orators spread the latest word,
    The gospel according to now,
    While the critics candidly criticize
    The whole lot of it.

    But leave the vast multitude
    To conform with scant question-
    For without them,
    Where would be the rest?

  • Here we are facing extinction and all us mutts do is nut-pick and put one another down. It reminds me of Junior High School. When this NTE really gets going I wonder who the scape goat is going to be ?

  • Hey kevin moore I disagree,you have made a difference im my perception of reality and I am sure Spezio would agree that you made a difference in his perception also. There was never but a few people you Guy or anyone could truly ever influence.

  • Whenever I read the name Descartes I have a flush of anger. Deluded vicious
    psychopath doesn’t even begin to describe him. This was the bastard
    who declared that animals couldn’t feel pain,performed vivisections on dogs,and when the neighbours complained about the howls of pain continuing
    for day after day for I can’t remember how long,solved the problem by severing the animals vocal chords,and continuing torturing animal after animal. Voltaire protested vigorously,writing articles condemning Descartes,and it made no difference. He is an unspeakably cruel bastard,who deserves every adjective of condemnation ever written.

    Nice one,Jody.

    Great to see you back,Kevin.

  • Certainly an information-rich essay.Well done.

  • @david higham:

    Descartes was indulging in activity different in intention, but not that different in execution, from what, say, a spider does to an insect that lands in its web. One could charitably suggest he was searching, however misguidedly with hindsight, for a route of transcendence beyond the biosphere, the prototype carnal torture chamber of which his little laboratory was but a small scale model.

    The fact that this biosphere contains an inalienable quota of evil/suffering is a strong reason for being philosophically indifferent as to whether it terminates itself, or, even, to prefer that it does so. And that in turn is reason for not pointing the finger of judgement or the weapon of vengeance at any entity that seems intent on that very purpose.

    Outside of philosophy of course, one is as averse to being physically punctured, crushed, broken, frozen, cooked, or otherwise fucked over as any other mortal, and equally averse to doing any of those things to another mortal. That doesn’t change the fact that one is obliged to perform a quantity of puncturing, crushing, breaking, etc., usually by proxy in civilisation, to remain viable as a physical organism. Unlike the psychopath, one gets no psychic ‘payoff’ from the performance.

  • 18000 days,
    Of course the world is full of suffering. That is not the point.
    Necessary and unnecessary suffering. That is where the point of distinction should be made.Any reasonable,non-psychopathic person would realize that the animal emitting screams or howls of pain was indeed in pain. That is why Voltaire’s essays about this are worth reading. They destroy the argument that is sometimes made,which is that our concerns about this issue
    are a recent phenomenon,and also that the suffering being inflicted was necessary. I don’t have a link,but you should be able to track them down.

  • ” 18.4.2016 – ExxonMobil, Rockefellers face off in climate battle

    US energy giant ExxonMobil is facing an onslaught from environmentalists and some shareholders alleging it hid what it knew about the effects of fossil fuels on climate change.

    In an ironic twist: among the opponents is the Rockefeller Family Fund, built on the fortune amassed by John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, which became Esso, then Exxon and then, in 1999, ExxonMobil.

    The RFF met last January, in secret, in Manhattan with environmental nongovernmental groups “to establish in the public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution that has pushed humanity (and all creation) towards climate chaos and grave harm,” according to an internal document on the meeting seen by AFP…”


    It’s just funny, to claim on one hand, that whole mankind is responsible for NTE, while on the other hand claiming, that mankind has no free will- muhahaha 3:-)

    And another thing is:

    We talk much about NTE and shit. And that’s for good reasons. But NONE of us will ever see Extinction. We will see dying, but most of us never see Death. Those, who really see Death, are already dead in some sense, they see “things”, nope else, hahaha.

  • I’d like to repeat that:

    It’s just funny, to claim on one hand, that whole mankind is responsible for NTE, while on the other hand claiming, that mankind has no free will- muhahaha 3:-)

  • All the best to you kevin – fight til you can’t. I too have tired of speaking about all that is leading to our demise (and the endless bickering and delusional thinking) that keeps this runaway train of climate change roaring toward the abyss, spending what little time remains gardening and attending to family. i’ll be back occasionally.

    Thanks to david higham for his comments.

    Global warming could deplete ocean oxygen, with severe consequences – ‘This inexorable force of human-induced warming will clearly result in widespread ocean deoxygenation in the future’

    In the long list of troubling climate change scenarios, there’s one that gets relatively little attention, but definitely has enormous potential consequences.

    It goes like this:

    The oceans are getting warmer — they are, after all, where 90 percent of global warming actually ends up. And when they warm up they expand, because that’s what warm water does. This raises our sea levels, but it also has another effect — it reduces the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water. That’s simply physics: Warmer water contains less oxygen.

    But it’s worse: If surface water is warmer, it doesn’t mix down as much into the ocean depths any longer. It’s less dense, and so less capable of doing that. That means that oxygen that enters the ocean in its upper layers — either through exchange with the atmosphere, or because it is generated by tiny photosynthesizing microorganisms, called phytoplankton, that hang out up there — won’t mix down into the deep as often. [more]

  • Tales From The Bully Pulpit, by BeezleyBullyBub

    Obviously, Guy had no choice but to declare there’s no free will.

    Obviously, you it is physically impossible to kill 7 billion people in 15 years.

  • The Rockefellers only divested one arm of their massive fortune.

    Billionaires are building secret bunkers to survive collapse.

    They don’t plan on being dead in 15 years. Think facebook founder.

    Collapse is serous business, let’s try to stay real folks.

  • Tom Says:
    April 30th, 2016 at 4:19 am

    The oceans are getting warmer … when they warm up they expand, because that’s what warm water does. This raises our sea levels …
    Just wait until the ice sheets start melting (On The Evolution of Sea Level Change – 2).

    That will cause a little SLC too maybe?

    What really shows how utterly powerful thermal expansion is is (Proof of Concept – 3, 5).

    I expands the ocean away until they disappear in some places where the water is really warm eh?

    Woo Hoo you da man thermal expansion.

  • Robert Callaghan Says:
    April 30th, 2016 at 5:28 am

    Obviously, you it is physically impossible to kill 7 billion people in 15 years.

    What is the speed limit on that now?

  • .

    while on the other hand claiming, that mankind has no free will- muhahaha 3:-)

    I find it funny when someone argues that at least Guy’s message may cause a few people to stop having babies, while on the other hand being ‘a believer’ that mankind has no free will. That’s having it both ways when it suits you.

    I like Guy’s message because it’s the whole set of observations, it smacks people upside the head without pulling any punches, and he even shows them how they might have possibly made a difference by walking away from their jobs and stopping giving the man funny money to spend by contributing to their 401k lack of trust account.

    I personally don’t believe it’s about us lacking free will, although I agree few people have bothered to develop the learned behavior of self control.


    The idea that someone would be so intolerant of other peoples perspectives that they would prefer to abandon ground simply to avoid exposure to perspectives they don’t like, reminds me of the people who were furious Rosa Parks was allowed to be on that bus with them, so stopped riding it. Or were so indignant a gay man was allowed to live on their street with them, that they sold their home and moved away. Intolerance, judgement, and bigotry was a wedge the elite could always rely upon to keep their war machine operating in full swing, and it certainly came in handy for them in the Middle East so they could get at all that oil to burn. Such is the nature of fear and bigotry.

    Have a happy love filled day everyone. :)

  • Hey Kevin – Thanks for the link to ADS, I knew there had to be some still functioning birds up there:

    AMSR-2: The AMSR2 brightness temperatures and products data are provided by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
    AMSR-E: The AMSR-E brightness temperatures and products data were provided by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
    WindSat: The WindSat Sensor Data Record (SDR) brightness temperatures are being provided by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS).
    SSM/I: The SSM/I Antenna Temperature (TA) data were produced by Remote Sensing Systems (RSS).
    SMMR: The Nimbus-7 SMMR Pathfinder Brightness Temperature Data were provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    DMSP-F17 SSMIS is still flaking out, but now I have some other data to compare to, and it seems we are still maintaining an all-time record low. (Compare Kevin’s link: to the flailing bird data: and see the trend!

    U Il Cryospheric Science has replied that they are “Working on resolving problem or replacing this data source.”

    I forgot to thank Guy for the great Peter Gabriel song, Down to Earth, I usually am up to date on his music, but missed this great one!
    Here’s a return gift for music lovers:

    Only Love Remains (and music)

  • The planet is heading for a stagnate state.Only the tiniest of organisms can live in it. Soo because of hydrogen sulfide plums my purchase of property 10 meters above sea level wasn’t a good one. ok ok ok how many cartridges will I need to buy for gas mask.Need some algae recipes. Got entertainment covered . twirling goop covering ocean with stick.Oh I have to buy shares in “Shallow Seas Goop company” going to be oil there again in 50 million years ..I’ll be rich

  • @ david , Good to see someone point out that descarte was a sadist! he liked the howling of pain until he became bored with it and it there fore became only obnoxiuos to him. The fact that none of us here are psychopaths makes it hard for anyone of us to truly wrap our mind around what that is. I think these slaveowner children (myself included) that post here are truly disturbed by the pain and madness of our culture but cannot see a way to stop it All. We can stop a significant amount. This set of living arrangements we enjoy are very fragile.

  • .
    @Robin Datta

    Thanks for the great article. Yes, that’s what my participation here has been all about … trying to bring awareness to this topic. Your article presents an excellent foundation of it. And not in any way to say extinction doesn’t matter, or isn’t really being dreamed up, or to say hey look at this funny irrelevant topic, or to say wow let’s all get religious and pray to jesus because of it. It was to say let’s try and use this physics as a strategy for moving forward here in our collectively created consensus reality. I’m suggesting we use this new advancement in the field of physics to try and do something different here with our shared points of consciousness, something different than what we are presently doing with them, which is to destroy ourselves. I thought this was possibly a good forum for this discussion, and still think it may be, because people here are both aware of the dysfunction of the current consensus reality we’ve all co-created, and they are also detached somewhat from having a vested interest in the old reality paradigm because it doesn’t work for them anymore, obviously.

    I had really hoped that Wrrrrargh was going to share his thoughts and ideas about this topic with us, at least about the altering reality part. That’s all I was ever trying to do with all the push back against the peanut gallery, the pushback that people are so confused about seeing from me. I am just trying to create a safe space here for people to discuss this very important topic without it being silenced. Alas, Wrrrargh is unlikely to want to share his experiences and insights with such a strong peanut gallery present, even with me trying to rodeo them into a pen. I wonder if Wrrrargh will eventually feel comfortable sharing whatever it is he knows about all of this, he certainly seemed to know something about it, that’s what I was hearing from him. The risk to him is really only perceptual, albeit admittedly a difficult one to overcome sometimes.

    It goes even beyond what was stated in that article, when you begin actually applying these theories proactively, as Feed Jake and I were beginning to discuss the other day. But to start, one has to first leave the Newtonian model behind, and your article was an excellent push in that direction. I hope lot’s of people read it and possibly begin to ‘change their minds.’

    Thanks Mr. Datta for posting this. Some of us have been successfully working with these ideas for awhile now. More minds certainly help this important and timely work to progress. It’s not just an interesting phenomenon, it can actually be harnessed and used proactively, as many people are already doing. More participation and less censorship would certainly help. Einstein already set this discovery back 100 years, and just gave us radiation as a legacy. Let’s get with the program and figure this out already and then maybe stick it to the man like Jack Black did in School of Rock. Let’s save a tree.

    Thanks Robin.

    P.S. That Pink Floyd song ‘Breathe’ was actually about this concept as well. It’s not even a new idea really. Only to some.

  • …going to be oil there again in 50 million years…

    Be careful around those big old forests…Baby, it’s coal outside!

  • infanttyrone,
    Thanks for the laugh.

  • david higham,

    Any idea how far from sustainable bumper stickers are?

    A modest proposal came to me…trad. 575 haiku no less:

    Near Term Extinction
    The last thing you’ll want and
    The last thing you’ll get

    Might need some fine tuning…

  • infanttyrone,
    Excellent.No fine tuning needed.

  • Perhaps Wrrrargh’s absence can be explained by concern over being ‘outed’ as an alien hybrid among us!

  • Everything is interdependent there is nothing ‘solid’ or permanent that can ‘hold’ or ‘express’ free will.
    To read more on that take a look at these old Zen buddhist texts:
    The Diamond Sutra,
    The Heart Sutra

    Right and wrong, good and bad, anarchism and conservatism , science and religion, whatever:-

    Attachment to ideas is analogous to a dog’s reflex that compels it to sniff the arse of the new dog he/she has just met.
    Compassion for people who (metaphorically speaking) can’t stop themselves sniffing the arses of others.
    We all have to live with this – some spend a lifetime ‘sniffing arse-holes’ while others manage to understand that impulse and, in small ways, make different choices for their behaviours.
    Paradox is natural.

  • @David Higham:
    I share your revulsion for vivisection, but please excuse me if I appear less than enthusiastic about any attempt to preserve the biosphere as a theatre for ‘necessary suffering’..!

  • 18000days,
    I wish you well. I think we may be misunderstanding each other.
    The biosphere cannot function without the suffering of the sentient beings
    within it.That is what I meant by ‘Necessary Suffering’. That is just the way it is. What you and I would ‘prefer’ is irrelevant. I don’t think you mean that you would ‘prefer’ to have no biosphere in order for there to be
    no suffering,but if you do,so be it. Good luck to you.

  • 18000days,
    I have just reread the comment that you posted yesterday. You do
    indeed think that it would be preferable that the biosphere did not exist. It surely takes some chutzpah to come to the site of a conservation biologist and post a comment like that.

  • LWA Says: I find it funny when someone argues that at least Guy’s message may cause a few people to stop having babies, while on the other hand being ‘a believer’ that mankind has no free will. That’s having it both ways when it suits you. I like Guy’s message … he even shows them how they might have possibly made a difference by walking away from their jobs.

    Yeah, supposed to walk away from my job but Guy says I got no free will, so that ain’t gonna happen. I have sex organs, but how am I supposed to fight my biology and decide not to have kids when I got no free will? Darn. I’m waiting for Guy to take his message of walking away to a nuclear plant near you. Yep, just shut off those core cooling water pumps and walk away boys. Yeah, that’s the ticket. I’ll send a donation to fund that tour.

  • Yes, this blog is getting funny:

    Everybody is responsible, but nobody got free will?! Bwahaha. Empire bullshit. Kindergarden. Ihr könnt Euch alleine verarschen 8-)

  • Article in the Atlantic on human extinction:

    Much of this is coming from the Future of Humanity Institute. The center gives an estimate of 0.1% per year, which is derived from looking at the probability of lots of independent variables/ threats to human existence. This is somewhat greater than your annual chances of dying in a car crash.

  • LWA: “I find it funny when someone argues that at least Guy’s message may cause a few people to stop having babies, while on the other hand being ‘a believer’ that mankind has no free will. ”

    I entirely agree. I’ve pointed out to Guy that many of his exhortations don’t make sense from a bio-logical point of view. (But being the organism that he is, he can’t help from making them..) This is an issue coming up on a few “doomer” lists: the “is-ought” problem. Why aren’t things ever the way they “ought” to be? This causes endless consternation, to no avail whatsoever.

    John Gray, citing Alexander Herzen: “Why does everything exist as it ought to exist, whereas with man, it is the opposite?”

    Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously lamented, “Man is born to be free—and is everywhere in chains!” To which Alexander Herzen, a nineteenth-century Russian journalist and thinker, replied, in a dialogue he concocted between a believer in human freedom and a skeptic, “Fish are born to fly—but everywhere they swim!”

  • @Lidia writes:

    Why aren’t things ever the way they “ought” to be?

    Patience Lidia. Patience.

    Jethro Tull – Teacher

  • @ogardener, :-)

  • “ There is nothing that threatens a corrupt system more than a free mind.”

    ― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

    “ What is an anarchist? One who, choosing, accepts the responsibility of choice.”

    ― Ursula K. Le Guin

  • “Fish are born to fly—but everywhere they swim!”

    Expand the parameters, and swimming is flying – in a denser medium. So much depends on perception and definition.

  • izzy, “flying” is generally understood to mean locomotion in the medium of air, and “swimming” is generally taken to mean locomotion in the medium of water. If you wish to conflate the two simply in order to confound the meaning of the original citation, that is, of course, your prerogative, but I don’t see how that is particularly helpful.

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

    You can be master of words to the extent that it renders communication moot. (Which it is, to all extents and purposes.)

  • .

    “Why does everything exist as it ought to exist, whereas with man, it is the opposite?”

    “Fish are born to fly—but everywhere they swim!”

    I wish I was more familiar with the is/ought argument, but I’m not, I only just hear people mentioning it sometimes. So, here’s my feeble attempt to respond to you.

    The Taoists (who I seem to be forever quoting here, even though I take it as just one perspective, I’m flexible that way) they saw it not as an all or nothing thing, more of as a polarity. The concept of Tao is that there is a direction life seems to want to flow in. Flow with it, including accepting it’s suffering, and you can enjoy an amazing amount of free will, in fact you can do amazing things sometimes. Try to swim upstream, and you will find your free will is rendered nearly non existent. The whole trick is to find what is in alignment with the Tao, and to avoid what isn’t. Humanity is currently not aligned at all with the flow of the Tao, and yet nature still is. I think that’s why we appear as such a contradiction to the rest of nature these days.

    Man, through his intelligence, is forever trying to resist that flow by trying to escape suffering, like with retirement packages; always planning against imagined and unforeseen things. That’s even left him open to being scammed by people who take advantage of that penchant for over thinking things, which then eventually cracks down on individual choice and freedom even further. He then tries to flow against the Tao.

    I guess that’s just the illusion of free will. But not in the way most classical intellectuals would argue it. It’s not black and white, which European logic often reduces things to. It’s more of a gradient from my perspective. from my desktop of experiences.

    I’m actually not even sure if I addressed your point or not, Lidia, seeing as we have chosen such different desktop themes you and I. But I tried, I really did. Thanks for your comment, I appreciated it more than you may know. Hugs to you. And yes, with different desktops and symbolic experiences, communication with word symbols, ones that have independent experiences attached to what they may mean to each individual, is almost entirely moot. But we try, because it’s fun, or maybe we do it to try and reach out to others with common desktops to our own.

    It’s not that people switch the meanings of words as a trick so much, it’s literally that we have different experiences attached to the symbols sometimes. Do we both see red, or do we see a vibration we agree on as red, when really I perceive a hue of brown and you perceive a hue of orange? Yet we both may be agreeing on that vibration, even though we literally are seeing it quite differently. I think that’s where classical logic sort of falls apart. It assumes we all are looking at the same phenomenon, which has recently been proven to have just been an assumption with that double slit experiment, an experiment that has been repeated now thousands and thousands of times in many different ways. Physics just doesn’t know how to cope with that logically yet, that’s all. That’s the whole point though; logic seems to have it’s limits now too. I think Guy follows his Tao. I like that about him. He may not be winning, but he sure is living.

    I also think annihilating a whole planet just to eliminate suffering is something I would have to be strongly against. But that’s just me.

  • 2016 Heat Felt Around Globe

    a. A fabric of matted, compressed animal fibers, such as wool or fur, sometimes mixed with vegetable or synthetic fibers.
    b. A material resembling this fabric.
    Something made of this fabric.
    Made of, relating to, or resembling felt.
    v. felt·ed, felt·ing, felts
    1. To make into felt.
    2. To cover with felt.
    3. To press or mat (something) together.
    To become like felt; mat together.

  • LWA,
    ‘ I find it funny when someone argues that Guy’s message may stop having
    babies,while on the other hand being a’ believer’that mankind has no free will.’

    You don’t let up,do you .LWA ? You just keep begging for it to be pointed
    out what a hypocrite and poor thinker you are.
    What basis do you have for making the statement that I am a ‘believer’
    that mankind has no free will ? None whatsoever.
    If you go back through the archives,LWA,you will find that I have made
    statements that I am not convinced that humans have no free will.
    In fact,I have used the argument that education campaigns regarding
    contraception would be pointless if they did not have the ability to change people’s actions by rational argument.

    I am not an expert on free will,so I am not going to make further statements about it. From what I have read,free will does not exist
    in most cases,but there are exceptions.

  • @david higham:
    No ill wished to you either. I apologise for using your Descartes post as a launchpad, but I have to call it the way I see it. My field of study looks fair set to be terminally deficient in subject matter some time this century too.

  • .
    david, it’s a fairly common theme here at NBL, the hope that people will stop having any more babies, possibly even through hearing Guy’s message. It’s also a common theme here that humans lack any form of free will. The lack of free will thing is actually a belief shared by many scientists and materialists. The hope that people will stop reproducing is almost universal here at NBL, at least almost. I was simply pointing out the incongruity between the two ideas, which are usually brought up separately, and by many different people over time. I don’t recall mentioning your name specifically there … oh, nope, look, I didn’t.

    This attempt to perpetuate your nonsense is duly noted though, even if the attempt did fail somewhere between where your fingertips ended and where your keyboard started.

    I see some of your friends are still calling people delusional. I was very happy to see a few of them pop on after our debate and admit that this is in fact all about bigotry and intolerance. I thought that was quite decent of them to admit to that being what the bickering they perpetuate is actually all about, and why they feel entitled to ostracize and drive certain people away from the site.

    Give it up though david. I’m not going away like the other people who’ve been chased off from here, no matter how hard you try. Even Darwin noted that we evolve through variation and differences, and not through sameness.

    Thanks for your insults though. But since it’s just text over the internet … phooey on what you or anybody else here thinks of me anyway.

    Oh, and have a love filled day david. I know I am. That Ginger Baker video was awesome.


  • Of course you didn’t mention my name,LWA. You wouldn’t want to be direct about it ,would you? I am the one who placed the recent comment about Guy’s message possibly causing some people of breeding age to have not have children,so I think it is obvious to everyone who you were mainly aiming
    your comment at.

  • mod note

    david ~

    I know it’s Monday in Oz, but the two post rule applies to the timestamps on this website’s comments. please remember to use the basement thread for all overposts, no exceptions.

    ~ mo

  • Layman’s Dilemma… I watched, earlier today, an hour + presentation by Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences. On University of California TV site. Good, calm and informative re recent studies and consensus, including discussion of common skeptic’s claims. This included consideration of renewables “promise” and realities re world energy use an prospective demand. cost, footprints etc.. Only – and here is the point of dilemma concern – in the Q&A session (very short) did he respond to or mention the CH4/Arctic situations follows, to paraphrase: ‘…I’ve seen no evidence that Arctic CH4 release presents any credible threat we need to be concerned about…lag time will stabilize it (the energy insolation/reflection balance)’

    Guy, Robert C. – anyone?

  • Robert Scribbler has a great methane page with lots from Semiletov and Shakhova. w/linked sources.

    Shakhova and Semiletov’s new study produces an increasingly clear picture of a destabilizing organic carbon store beneath thawing permafrost in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf region.

  • Conferences in Austraia

    November 2016

    7th Learning for Change and Innovation World Congress Adelaide, Australia
    8th The Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016 Melbourne, Australia
    15th Ninth AusIMM Open Pit Operators’ Conference 2016 Kalgoorlie, Australia
    20th 7th ICEERB – Healthy Housing 2016 Brisbane, Australia
    20th 36th Australasian Polymer Symposium Lorne, Australia
    24th 8th International Congress on Innovations in Nursing Perth, Australia
    24th 2016 7th International Conference on Economics, Business and Management (ICEBM 2016) Sydney, Australia
    24th 2016 6th International Conference on Languages, Literature and Linguistics (ICLLL 2016) Sydney, Australia
    24th 2016 5th International Conference on Sociality and Humanities (ICOSH 2016) Sydney, Australia
    24th Australian Psychological Society’s Psychology of Relationships Interest Group 15th Annual Conference Brisbane, Australia.
    26th 2016 5th International Conference on Civil Engineering(ICCEN 2016)–Ei, Scopus, CPCI Sydney, Australia
    26th 2016 5th International Conference on Environment, Chemistry and Biology (ICECB 2016)-Ei Geobase Sydney, Australia
    26th 2016 3rd International Conference on Food Sciences and Health (ICFSH 2016) Sydney, Australia
    29th 22nd Australasian Irish Studies Conference Adelaide, Australia.

    It looks like this one is the best fit:

    26th 2016 5th International Conference on Environment, Chemistry and Biology (ICECB 2016)-Ei Geobase Sydney, Australia.

    Best I can do at present.

    ‘Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar’

    ‘…everything around me is crumbling down,

    Look at what we have rather than what we have lost…(easy to say).

    :) ;(

  • **Look at what we have rather than what we have lost…(easy to say).**

    Count your blessings. (easy to do) :)

  • I listened to the seemorerocks interview with Guy and Hestor. It was as dull and stilted as dishwater. Yes, you can say the same thing differently, but it’s still just the same thing. It felt less like someone getting the message out, and more like someone getting the “me” out. And, as a narcissistic ego-maniacal mutherfucker from hell, believe me when I say I know of what i speak. I suspect Guy knows this and endures, himself and others. Maybe Guy should focus more on poetic metaphor, just not as much as Stacey & Max (the gold bugs). Paul Beckwith’s nuclear option was clever marketing, although with his delivery, even his cats are more interesting.

    Don’t worry if it’s the methane bomb, the plankton implosion, or just simply ecological-economical collapse. That’s not important. You don’t care how you die, just how badly. This distracts you from living.

    Stacey & Max Keiser hustle doom and sell gold.

    Paul Beckwith hustle doom and sells geo-engineering.

    Guy McPherson sells NTE and hustles himself.

    Robert Callaghan is caught in a self-reinforcing ego vortex.

    My pet goldfish has a longer term outlook than I do.

    I can see the belly button lint going down ahead of me.

    But, don’t stop now everyone. The show must go on.


    Keep up the good work.

  • Everybody, who claims, that there is no free will, should not ignore SCIENCE :-) The claim that there is no free will is based on an outdatet experiment of Benjamin Libet. Science nowadays clearly shows, that the materialist conclusions refered to the Libet-experiment are flawed. But not just that. In fact, Libet was a strong defender of free will:

    ” Libet concludes:

    My conclusion about free will, one genuinely free in the non-determined sense, is then that its existence is at least as good, if not a better, scientific option than is its denial by determinist theory. Given the speculative nature of both determinist and non-determinist theories, why not adopt the view that we do have free will (until some real contradictory evidence may appear, if it ever does). Such a view would at least allow us to proceed in a way that accepts and accommodates our own deep feeling that we do have free will. We would not need to view ourselves as machines that act in a manner completely controlled by the known physical laws.”

    See also this scientific paper for instance (among countless scientific evidences):

    ” The Biology of Free Will

    Abstract: According to Bergson (1916), the traditional problem of free will is misconceived and arises from a mismatch between the quality of authentic, subjective experience and its description in language, in particular, the language of the mechanistic science of psychology. Contemporary western scientific concepts of the organism, on the other hand, are leading us beyond conventional thermodynamics as well as quantum theory and offering rigorous insights which reaffirm and extend our intuitive, poetic, and even romantic notions of spontaneity and free will. I shall describe some new views of the organism arising from new findings in biology, in order to show how, in freeing itself from the ‘laws’ of physics, from mechanical determinism and mechanistic control, the organism becomes a sentient, coherent being that is free, from moment to moment, to explore and create its possible futures.

    *Based on a lecture delievered at the 6th Mind & Brain Symposium, The Science of Consciousness – The Nature of Free Will, November 4, 1995, Institute of Psychiatry, London…”

    It’s always problematic to spread half-baked science with no real evidences whatsoever. I call that “pseudo science”, mostly intending some flawed materialist propaganda. The sheeples of Empire are always willing to pick up such materialist propaganda, they love half-baked science, they hate too much thinking 8-)

  • There is a new social activist movement, called “SHUT IT DOWN”. Wherein we the people, shut the system down by, staying home from work, not spending any money we can SHUT IT DOWN. The economy as is, is teetering on the brink, with zero to no growth and it would not take much to SHUT IT DOWN. We the people can do this with out any demonstrating or window breaking, we all just stay home and SHUT IT DOWN. The PTB cannot send out riot troops, they cannot teargas us, the PTB will be defenseless when we stay home spending no money and SHUT IT DOWN. Join now and SHUT IT DOWN!

  • I’ve posted a new essay, and more. It’s here.

  • Copy paste and post this notice to the people. There is a new social activist movement, called “SHUT IT DOWN”. Wherein we the people, shut the system down by, staying home from work, not spending any money we can SHUT IT DOWN. The economy as is, is teetering on the brink, with zero to no growth and it would not take much to SHUT IT DOWN. We the people can do this with out any demonstrating or window breaking, we all just stay home and SHUT IT DOWN. The PTB cannot send out riot troops, they cannot teargas us, the PTB will be defenseless when we stay home spending no money and SHUT IT DOWN. Join now and SHUT IT DOWN!

  • @Dave Thompson

    I can hardly imagine that the people will ever shut down Empire, because they completely depend on Empire, that’s the “beauty” of the system:

    No shutting down of Empire without shutting down civilization. Even Doctor Guy McPherson is completely dependent on the system. See, no internet, no NTE blog, no tours/lectures about NTE by plane or car or train without the system :-)

    But never mind:

    Mother Nature will shut down the system soon enough 8-)