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Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:24 AM

Confirmed by science: our species is doomed.

Think the debate on Global Warming is going to be turned as more and more evidence comes in? Think again. It turns out that political passion cripples a person's ability to reason. And it has nothing to do with their intelligence.

http://www.salon.com/2013/09/17/the_most_depressing_discovery_about_the_brain_ever_partner/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Kahan conducted some ingenious experiments about the impact of political passion on people’s ability to think clearly. His conclusion, in Mooney’s words: partisanship “can even undermine our very basic reasoning skills…. [People] who are otherwise very good at math may totally flunk a problem that they would otherwise probably be able to solve, simply because giving the right answer goes against their political beliefs.”

In other words, say goodnight to the dream that education, journalism, scientific evidence, media literacy or reason can provide the tools and information that people need in order to make good decisions. It turns out that in the public realm, a lack of information isn’t the real problem. The hurdle is how our minds work, no matter how smart we think we are. We want to believe we’re rational, but reason turns out to be the ex post facto way we rationalize what our emotions already want to believe.


Now here's the worst finding of all: having skills and education, in fact, exacerbated this inability:

In Kahan’s experiment, some people were asked to interpret a table of numbers about whether a skin cream reduced rashes, and some people were asked to interpret a different table – containing the same numbers – about whether a law banning private citizens from carrying concealed handguns reduced crime. Kahan found that when the numbers in the table conflicted with people’s positions on gun control, they couldn’t do the math right, though they could when the subject was skin cream. The bleakest finding was that the more advanced that people’s math skills were, the more likely it was that their political views, whether liberal or conservative, made them less able to solve the math problem.


If this is really the case, and right now, real life is bearing it out, you might as well not even blame greed. Evolution has left our minds too flawed to deal with worldwide existential threat like Global Warming.

I now see works like Ayn Rand's as being a form of mental vandalism. They actually damage people's minds.

This is so depressing. I have to add, though, it doesn't surprise me after witnessing this nation's political trajectory since 1980.

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Reply Confirmed by science: our species is doomed. (Original post)
caseymoz Apr 2014 OP
Katashi_itto Apr 2014 #1
el_bryanto Apr 2014 #2
MoonRiver Apr 2014 #3
randr Apr 2014 #4
el_bryanto Apr 2014 #5
caseymoz Apr 2014 #6
dembotoz Apr 2014 #8
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #36
MoonRiver Apr 2014 #7
Name removed Apr 2014 #25
Orsino Apr 2014 #86
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2014 #34
Silent3 Apr 2014 #9
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #11
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #12
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #13
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #14
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #19
darkangel218 Apr 2014 #76
bahrbearian Apr 2014 #23
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #30
bahrbearian Apr 2014 #39
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #47
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #50
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #51
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #52
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #53
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #54
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #55
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #56
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #57
AgingAmerican Apr 2014 #79
Silent3 Apr 2014 #15
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #18
jeff47 Apr 2014 #21
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #27
jeff47 Apr 2014 #32
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #35
jeff47 Apr 2014 #37
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #41
jeff47 Apr 2014 #43
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #44
jeff47 Apr 2014 #45
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #49
Jackpine Radical Apr 2014 #28
Silent3 Apr 2014 #72
EX500rider Apr 2014 #82
pipi_k Apr 2014 #26
NM_Birder Apr 2014 #31
pipi_k Apr 2014 #48
rrneck Apr 2014 #40
PasadenaTrudy Apr 2014 #85
caseymoz Apr 2014 #59
Silent3 Apr 2014 #70
caseymoz Apr 2014 #65
dixiegrrrrl Apr 2014 #10
workinclasszero Apr 2014 #16
MO_Moderate Apr 2014 #17
GeorgeGist Apr 2014 #22
caseymoz Apr 2014 #68
deutsey Apr 2014 #20
whatchamacallit Apr 2014 #24
jeff47 Apr 2014 #29
BillZBubb Apr 2014 #58
caseymoz Apr 2014 #63
BillZBubb Apr 2014 #87
caseymoz Apr 2014 #89
jeff47 Apr 2014 #81
BillZBubb Apr 2014 #88
caseymoz Apr 2014 #64
jeff47 Apr 2014 #80
caseymoz Apr 2014 #83
jeff47 Apr 2014 #84
caseymoz Apr 2014 #90
jeff47 Apr 2014 #91
L0oniX Apr 2014 #33
Tierra_y_Libertad Apr 2014 #38
caseymoz Apr 2014 #60
hobbit709 Apr 2014 #42
caseymoz Apr 2014 #61
FarCenter Apr 2014 #46
caseymoz Apr 2014 #62
Vashta Nerada Apr 2014 #66
AverageJoe90 Apr 2014 #67
caseymoz Apr 2014 #69
gulliver Apr 2014 #71
TampaAnimusVortex Apr 2014 #74
gulliver Apr 2014 #75
Orrex Apr 2014 #73
GoneFishin Apr 2014 #77
MindMover Apr 2014 #78

Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:28 AM

1. I came to this conclusion about a year ago. This when I realized it's pretty pointless.

 

Last edited Mon Apr 7, 2014, 11:13 AM - Edit history (1)

Humans as a group will always choose poorly.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:32 AM

2. Evolutionary leaps have happened in the past though -

Possibly we'll adapt to the new situation eventually. And at any rate, I'm not willing to right off the human race just yet.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:35 AM

3. An evolutionary leap, in a positive direction of course, would be the only thing that might save us.

It's a long shot though. What upsets me is that we'll take most of the rest of the earth's species with us when we crash and burn.

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Response to MoonRiver (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:44 AM

4. The leap would only be complete following

a die off and the remaining species would be declared "evolved" due to their survival.

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Response to MoonRiver (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:45 AM

5. Not necessarily - other animals can adapt as well - cockroachs for example will do just fine

I suspect.

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:48 AM

6. Yes, we're preparing the world


. . . for the age of the cockroach.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:51 AM

8. perhaps we need to learn to eat them before they eat us

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Response to dembotoz (Reply #8)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:34 AM

36. Some cultures around the world already do

 

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:50 AM

7. Yes, cockroaches will do just fine. A few other hardy species as well.

Assuming the earth is still habitable for more evolved species, evolution will begin again.

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Response to MoonRiver (Reply #3)


Response to MoonRiver (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 7, 2014, 12:55 PM

86. And those people we nail to trees, alas. n/t

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:11 AM

34. Hmm, that means a violation of how evolution works

 

Because you are talking of the speed in bacteria, generations are measured in days at the longest. Not an advanced chordate whose generations are measured in quarter of centuries. We are expected to be in real bad trouble by 2050.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:52 AM

9. Apocalyptic disaster doesn't mean end of our species

Humans as individuals are pretty fragile. Humans, as a species, are going to be damned tough to exterminate, even if we're killed off by the billions.

Which is not, of course, at all the same as saying, "Don't worry, be happy!". Some truly awful futures of hellish die-off are possible, but most of them won't lead to a complete end to the human species.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:57 AM

11. Humans are the only species that seves zero purpose to the cycle of life on Earth.

 


We are however the Alpha species in our ability to transform the environment to suit our needs. Humans are not going extinct, just less "Little House on the Prairie" ........ and more World War Z.

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:02 AM

12. "Humans are the only species that seves zero purpose to the cycle of life on Earth."

 

lolz.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #12)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:03 AM

13. unless you have a bible, then the entire earth was created FOR humans.

 

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:08 AM

14. "unless you have a bible, then the entire earth was created FOR humans."

 

What? Didn't think it could get better than the first comment. But the hits keep coming.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:18 AM

19. My own personal hand puppet, I'm honored.

 


Now say what I say while I drink this glass of water.

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #13)

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 11:41 AM

76. Yes. including the animals.

 

All for the mankind to use.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #12)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:42 AM

23. Channeling Prosense are ya?

You forgot the

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Response to bahrbearian (Reply #23)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:02 AM

30. Don't think I have ever done an emoticon. Maybe I have, just don't remember.

 

But you are correct, that posters comment deserves a good laugh. Don't think they are being serious.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #30)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:48 AM

39. I'm laughting at YOU

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Response to bahrbearian (Reply #39)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:41 PM

47. That's sweet. Always happy when I can make someone smile. Have a great day. nt.

 

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #47)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 01:56 PM

50. "Mission Accomplished" ! LOL

 

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #50)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 01:59 PM

51. Bush sucks.

 

Thankfully Obama got us out of Iraq.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #51)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:13 PM

52. Swing and a miss, .... sometimes one strike is an out.

 


I was wrong, you're not very good at this.

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #52)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:16 PM

53. No, I'm not good at this.

 

Didn't know it was suppose to be a part of my skill set. Bush still sucks and my point still stands. You should also keep smiling and have a great day.

Apparently we are both not good at something.

"Humans are the only species that seves zero purpose to the cycle of life on Earth."

After all, that isn't a comment made by me.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #53)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:21 PM

54. read the rest of the conversation below,

 


I'm pretty sure you will agree with the Jeff whatever his name is.


Maybe I should start with. DO YOU think there is a cycle of life on earth, a "natural" evolution of life ? or like jeff wants to believe, man's ability to wipe out other species for his own desire, IS the "natural' evolution of life. Other than the species of plants and animals humans genetically manipulated for his own desire, what exactly would be the impact to an earth without humans ?

So far I'm not as impressed as you think I should be, my comments make perfect sense, what evolutionary "Need" does the species of humans satisfy in the chain of life on earth? tell me you believe in GOD, and I'll understand why you can't get it.

I would explain the irony in my joke that you missed, but I don't think it would matter.

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #54)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:27 PM

55. "Humans are the only species that seves zero purpose to the cycle of life on Earth."

 

Seriously, you first comment I replied to was funny as hell. That's all I was doing. Making light of a blatantly false statement that I found to be amusing. The rest of it was just some fun. I am not invested in this. The comment was just so far out there I wanted to have a laugh at it. I hope you got a laugh out of it as well.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #55)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:39 PM

56. response was pretty much what I expected,

 


but hoped you had an opinion. No worries, I've been laughing all morning.

peace be with you,
amen.

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #56)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:46 PM

57. "but hoped you had an opinion"

 

I did have an opinion.

"Humans are the only species that seves zero purpose to the cycle of life on Earth."

That statement is false, can in no way be backed up, and is funny. By definition, I stated an opinion. Well the first two points can be considered facts, but the funny part is an opinion. Some people might not think it is funny. Some might find it to be a sad reflection on society. That makes the funny part an opinion of mine.

Peace with you also Birder.



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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #55)

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 12:29 PM

79. Show how this statement is false

 

What purpose do humans serve in the cycle of life besides destroying everything? We are ruining the land, air and seas. Is that our purpose? Destroyer?

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:09 AM

15. Define "purpose"

Plenty of species can and do disappear and life goes on. If a species is gone, and life goes on, did it serve "a purpose" or not?

Some species have more other species dependent on what they do, so their loss would cause more of a shake-up than others might (bees as related to many flowering plants, for example, and all that in turn depends on those flowering plants).

Does occupying an ecological niche with easily recognized dependencies equate to "purpose", i.e. it's the "purpose" of bees to pollinate flowers?

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #15)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:16 AM

18. Ok,...what "benefit" do humans offer the earth ?

 


what "purpose" do we serve, in the chain of life ? What niche, do we fill ?

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #18)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:34 AM

21. What "benefit" do dogs offer the Earth?

Your question is not answerable unless you explain your model.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #21)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:53 AM

27. Before humans cross bred dogs for specific reasons and purposes,

 


They filled the niche that was empty, come on man....I'm sure you've watched "Cosmos"

Humans create artificial environments, genetically alter the naturally occurring order of life, alter the genetic code that produces the natural cycle of evolutionary life, according to the naturally evolving cycle of environmental change. Humans have and will continue to create a more unbalanced evolutionary trajectory by manipulating the genetic code of all life. Plants, animals, even our own genetic coding is up for grabs as we splice animal and human organs together via food supplements and transplant advancements.

Humans started out as prey, food, or just barely more than large ground squirrels, our brain evolved to enable us to destroy the environment we depend on. We have created new diseases, that need new cures, that ultimately result in greater strains of harmful microbes that will resist cures, so we will create new cures and round and round we go.

Of course, maybe this was the natural order of life to begin with, "One gene to rule them all"...as it were.

-or- do you believe that the earth is a resource for the use of humans ? To do with as we please, alter as we see fit, destroy because we have ability ? Don't look back, you may turn to salt.

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #27)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:09 AM

32. Their niche was not at all empty.

There's plenty of other predators for that niche. For example, any of the large cats would fit nicely.

Humans started out as prey, food, or just barely more than large ground squirrels

So did dogs. And all other mammals. Yet this is apparently only a problem in your mind for humans.

-or- do you believe that the earth is a resource for the use of humans ? To do with as we please, alter as we see fit, destroy because we have ability ?

Yes, there's only two possible choices. 1) Incinerate everything or 2) slaughter humanity.

The only purpose for creature on Earth is to reproduce. Doesn't matter if you're talking about humans or dogs. Or snails. Or algae. Or bacteria. Each of those has a different strategy to achieve their reproduction, but that's all they are really going for.

"Natural" is not necessarily the pinnacle of good. "Natural" is just the result of chance played out over a very long time. Attaching nobility to "natural", as you do here, is an artificial construct. Just like attaching nobility to "job creators" or anything else - nobility itself is an artificial construct.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #32)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:22 AM

35. By your rationale, then to hell with other life species, we will determine what is "natural".

 


humans are able to genetically alter life, so that is the "new" natural order of things. The life cycle of the earth is dependent on the will of man, as it should be.

Fuck the Galapagos islands and they way those creatures have survived, I want some new beach font property and a new jet boat. If those creatures were meant to survive, or evolve in a "natural" manner as in the way "nature" intended, they would have evolved into humans first. Fuck em, ...... we can so we should it's only "natural".

No creature is able to defend it's evolutionary path against us, because we are able to manipulate all genetic ability.

I of course disagree with you.



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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #35)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:36 AM

37. No, that's your mischaracterization.

But hey, it's much easier to attack than what was really said.

humans are able to genetically alter life

Every species with sexual reproduction is able to "genetically alter life". That's why children are not clones of their parents.

The life cycle of the earth

Doesn't exist.

Again, people have created an artificial construct and applied it to the Earth.

All life is trying to do is create more of itself. There is no purpose beyond that for any lifeform on Earth. Some creatures do that via creating food, and others do it by eating the first group. That predation doesn't mean the creatures serve some sort of noble role in the ecosystem - humans created that construct because it's appealing to imagine there is some sort of cycle involved.

All those creatures are trying to do is live long enough to make grandchildren.

Fuck the Galapagos islands and they way those creatures have survived, I want some new beach font property and a new jet boat.

Again, there are options between destroying everything and slaughtering humanity. Though that would get in the way of your rant...

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #37)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:54 AM

41. Like I said,

 


Fuck the Galapagos.

All I want is to reproduce, and the tried and true method of attracting a mate is to offer a more desirable environment to raise our young. The jet boat is simply my prize for being at the top of the food chain. No creature can expel me from my desire, only my own faulty sense of entitlement can poison the land where it no longer serves my needs. Chernobyl, is not for me anymore, let other creatures suffer that experience. I want pristine beach front, and we both know that no creature can stand against the natural will of man's desire.

I am human, all other species kneel at my feet, I am the new natural order of life. I want, I take. I need, I take. Resist and I will exterminate, defend and I will eradicate, be useful and I will raise you for my meal. I will mourn for natures destruction, but only with one eye, the other is searching for my next desires target. I am man, I am the new natural order of life on earth.

again, I disagree with you. but I'll admit, I'm starting to feel like exerting my superiority on some nature, I am superior because I am human, other creatures are genetically altering life, they are just not able to keep up. Eliminating what is in my way is only part of the new natural order.

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #41)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:04 PM

43. Ah yes, keep beating the strawman.

I am human, all other species kneel at my feet, I am the new natural order of life

Is your lie.

You'll note the word "superior" does not appear in my posts. Nor a synonym.

You are starting from a framework created by people because it is appealing. To many, the idea that "nature" is noble is appealing. That there is some sort of overall design in which all the non-humans fit is also appealing.

My entire point is that framework is wrong. There is no such design. And nobility is a construct created by humans - dogs don't feel noble.

We should not be annihilating the environment, but not because "natural" is noble. But because we're much better off not annihilating the environment.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #43)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:22 PM

44. I would be better off in the Galopagos,

 


If I had enough little green pieces of paper, I would be there right now. Along with the other 40 whatever thousand people, slowly manipulating an isolated natural oasis for their own desires.

The framework of future life, will be directed by one life form, humans. And it will be done in a selfish, destructive manner, that only serves humans.

Life before man was only a blip in the natural order of life, the construct of the future will be determined by humans, and human desire alone.

creatures not able to co-exist with humans are destined to be eliminated, as nature intended.

We are not going to agree. But at least zoos will remind what creatures were eliminated to satisfy our construct.






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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #44)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:25 PM

45. You would be better off learning to read.

We are not going to agree.

We are closer in agreement than you want to believe.

But you have lies to spew so you can feel righteous.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #45)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 01:26 PM

49. Dazzle me with what you consider my "lie".

 

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #21)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:59 AM

28. Dogs owe significant parts of their morphology to human intervention.

They offer benefits to humans, so I would argue that they share in whatever purpose or lack thereof you choose to attribute to humans.

Anyway, what greater purpose does the biosphere itself serve?

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #18)

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 10:07 AM

72. You can't separate concepts like "benefit" or "purpose" from your human perspective.

Last edited Sun Apr 6, 2014, 11:12 PM - Edit history (2)

There are so many different preconceptions to try to cut through here, it's hard to know where to start. One thing I might as well get out of the way is this: I'd love to see the Galapagos preserved. I want polar bears to stop losing habitat, and to regain what they've lost. I'd like for the vast islands of plastic garbage to disappear from the oceans, for the excess carbon dioxide to be cleared from the atmosphere.

As far as we know, however, we humans are the only ones who give a damn about any of that. We're ironically both the perpetrators of great ecological damage and the only ones with a "big picture" perspective to care about the damage we're doing. The other species on this planet aren't worrying about how their grand-descendants will live, they aren't conscientiously performing vital functions and nobly refraining from damaging behavior. They're just doing what they do.

Do you know why it's hard to find examples, apart from humans, of organisms that destroy the environment they depend on, kill themselves off, and take plenty of other species down with them? It's not because that doesn't happen. It's not because there's some "natural law" that other organisms are scrupulously obeying that humans have uniquely decided to break.

It's because nature has "let" it happen, has let all of the bad side-effects befall all of the other species as a destructive species kills itself off, and then natural selection puts and end to that particular species, or the ecosystem adapts to the new species and it's no longer obviously destructive in the newly adjusted environment.

The first cyanobacteria are a perfect example of this. Before photosynthesis came along, the world was nearly devoid of "free" oxygen (that is molecular oxygen, pure O₂). Oxygen was a poison to most life on earth. That didn't trouble the non-conscience of the cyanobacteria, however. Blithely emitting oxygen without hesitation or remorse, they went on to radically alter the chemistry of the atmosphere and the oceans, to plunge the world into an ice age, and to kill off most other life on the planet (and plenty of their own kind too) until a new equilibrium was reached over millions of years where life eventually not only adapted to, but came to depend upon, abundant oxygen. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxygenation_Event)

If you think of "nature" not just as living organisms, but inclusive of the Earth itself, this planet has indiscriminately killed organisms and species in vast numbers many times, as the result of major seismic, volcanic, and tectonic disruptions. Only by unprovable faith can you imagine that the physical planet is somehow guided by concern for some ultimate "benefit" to all life when it goes about causing so much death.

Expand the idea of "nature" to the universe as a whole, or at least our cosmic neighborhood, and then you have asteroids and comets causing death and extinction without a plan, without consideration of purpose or benefit. Only luck has saved us from total extinction of all life. There's no reason at all to imagine that nature somehow chooses the timing and the size of major impacts with a mind toward creating specific planned results, or that nature is even slightly constrained by any rough guiding principle to create some sort of "balance". If large enough an asteroid comes along, the impact will boil the oceans and turn the surface of the Earth into lava. If the melting is deep enough, every last living creature down to the hardiest subterranean bacteria will die.

If you do want to believe that there's some plan, some intelligence, some guiding principle, then humans would be part of that plan. How could you dismiss the purpose or benefit of humans if we're part of such a plan? Either the Planner or the Intelligence isn't that smart, or some mind much better than ours has its reasons for putting us here.

If you don't believe in such things (as I personally don't), then humans aren't apart from nature, we are nature. We're just one of those random things that nature churns out. "Artificial" is not the opposite of natural, it's a subset of natural. Only in the context of our own human thinking can we regret our impact on other life, possibly change course and prevent things from getting worse. Outside of that kind of human self-reflection, the destruction we cause is merely a different form of natural disaster (albeit a particularly elaborate form), among others that nature produces from time to time without any moral "right" or "wrong" about it, without purpose, without consideration of benefit to other living organisms.

Not one thing I'm saying here, or that I've seen anyone else say in this thread, is remotely equivalent to saying "Fuck the Galapagos!", no matter how strong your urge to repeat such an outcry out of exasperation or petulance, simply because others aren't willing to go along with your notions of "purpose" or "benefit".

Purpose is contextual. Without a defined context, defined goals, desired outcomes, "purpose" makes no sense. In the absence of humans, who or what would the context be? What would the goals be? "Benefit" doesn't mean anything without a context is which "the good" has been defined.

Is life itself a goal? If so, is more life better than less life? Should "more" be measured in bulk quantity, in metric tons of biomass? Is diversity what's supposed to be important about life, and if so, is having a billion species intrinsically better than a million? Is complexity of life a value, making alligators more valuable than lichen? Are intelligence and self-awareness important, making whales more valuable to preserve than yet another species of beetle? If you value whales for their intelligence, why not humans then?

You're utterly and completely applying your own human standards if you propose a system of value for life that tempers valuing intelligence and self-awareness with a moral judgment about perceived destructiveness. It's contradictory to wish away humans in order to preserve a world whose value is defined by humans. You might protest that there are "intrinsic" values that exist without us humans, but if you dig deeper than your surface emotional responses you'll find those supposed intrinsic values are elusive, and you'll see that nature shows no signs of itself promoting or maintaining those values.

And by the way, unless you're actively planning, like some action movie supervillian, to plot the destruction of the entire human race, isn't bitching about humans having no purpose, moaning about how the Earth would be better off without us, just a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing?

If you want to define a possible purpose for humans, consider this: Life on this planet is doomed without us anyway. It's just a matter of time. If a giant collision doesn't kill us all first, or a massive gamma burst, then the sun is slowly heating up and in a few hundred million years will boil and burn away all life on this planet. In a few billion years the sun will expand into a red giant, likely expanding far enough to swallow up the entire planet.

For all of our human potential for destruction, we're currently also the best bet for preserving life on this planet and spreading it out among the stars, allowing life to go on without dependence on a single, fragile world.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #72)

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 12:51 PM

82. +1000 Very well put! n/t

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:50 AM

26. I understand what you're saying,

I think...

In my mind, humans...especially in light of the terrible things we're doing to our planet now...could disappear from the face of the earth tomorrow and the place would get along just fine without us.

In some ways, it might even be better off


And while it's probably true that many other species could disappear and there wouldn't be a severe impact, I would say there are few species besides our own where their disappearance could be said to be a beneficial thing.


In the days when we, as a species, lived off the land just like all the other animals, things were fine, from an ecological standpoint.

Then we became industrialized and started raping and plundering our own planet...ruining the land and atmosphere, etc.

So unless we can stop doing that while still enjoying a decent standard of living, we're nothing more than a festering wound on the planet.

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Response to pipi_k (Reply #26)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:06 AM

31. see my post #27 above.

 

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #31)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:44 PM

48. Yep...

we play "God", and sometimes we hurt/kill ourselves and other beings in the process

As a species, we've gotten way too big for our collective breeches.

We've lost respect for the world around us

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:52 AM

40. As George Carlin once said,

"Maybe the planet needed Styrofoam".

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Response to NM_Birder (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 7, 2014, 11:07 AM

85. We are parasites

IMO. Maybe for the better..

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 08:19 PM

59. That's the outcome I hope for.


But think of how horrible it's going to be if the human population falls to a third of what it is now in three hundred years. Actually, think of how horrible it would be if we have a die off like that in just fifty years. And how are we going to keep any of the technology we have?

But I got to wonder if we're going to get off that easy. Since it's going to take millions of years for the oceans to recover, and because we're leaving so many things poisoned, I could really see the end if food distribution systems are badly disrupted and if the manufacturing that supports our technology becomes untenable.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #59)

Sat Apr 5, 2014, 09:47 AM

70. Humans only need technology and "food distribution systems" to live in large numbers...

...with food production kept as a specialty occupation, rather than being an essential part of most people's lives.

What would most likely happen in the event of a huge ecological catastrophe is that our population would be cut down to a few scattered millions, maybe even just hundreds of thousands. You might look at such huge losses and say we were "completely wiped out" compared to our current population, but a very tiny fraction of a percent of what had been the human race would still be more than enough to perpetuate the species, living by hunting, gathering, and subsistence farming.

We're adaptable enough to scrape by in small numbers even in a devastated world. "Extinct" means extinct -- not one of us left, and that's hard to do. Even "nearly extinct" is a tough standard, not a matter of mere relative population numbers, but a matter of numbers being so small that genetic diversity is threatened and breeding opportunities become rare.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:06 PM

65. I don't think extinction is preordained.


However, I see that as a likely scenario, possibly starting this decade.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:54 AM

10. For once I am glad I am lousy at math.

knew it would pay off one day.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:11 AM

16. The cockroaches will rule this world

 

much better and way more fairly than greedy violent racist psychotic human beings ever did.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:14 AM

17. Common sense trumps numbers every time

 

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Response to MO_Moderate (Reply #17)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:42 AM

22. You win.

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Response to MO_Moderate (Reply #17)

Sat Apr 5, 2014, 08:01 AM

68. No, reality will trump numbers.


But only because people can miscount, make math errors, or use the wrong formulas, or not have access to important data. As long as the numbers give an accurate description of reality, though, they supersede what common sense can tell us.

The indications here are bad, but I would say that the numbers are far from complete. They do, however, jive very well with what my intuition has been telling me.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:29 AM

20. I have a friend who is pretty good at advanced math,

teaches algebra, has a background in engineering, working on his PhD, etc. While I suck at math (I'm a liberal arts/literary type), we both share a working-class background, we share similar interests in humor and guitar, among other things.

Yet, he's a die-hard Republican and I identify myself as a Democratic Socialist. I've cited scientific and historical evidence when we've debated, but trying to get through to him is like throwing jello at an iron wall (the only thing he ever relented on was his belief that Hitler was leftwing...I finally inundated him with so much evidence contradicting him that he conceded and quickly just dropped the subject).

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:48 AM

24. Politics is a nasty drug

and this place is filled with zombie junkies.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:00 AM

29. Humans will not go extinct.

Yes, sounds like a "rah-rah go people" statement, but it's really a measure of our adaptability and just how difficult extinction is.

Let's say climate change turns out to be 10 times worse than we currently fear. About 7 billion people die. Still not extinct - there's about 150 million people left.

Massive asteroid impact, like what killed the dinosaurs? Similar result - billions die. Still have plenty of people to carry on the species.

Viruses or other diseases? Nope. Again, can kill billions. But such an epidemic will cause society to break down, and we'll cluster into isolated groups. Some of those groups will survive.

Nuclear war? See: Asteroid Impact.

Eventually, our sun will become a red giant that will envelop the Earth. That's obviously bad for our species on Earth, but we already have the technology to build artificial habitats and attach them to spacecraft. We don't do it now because we don't have sufficient motivation to send people on a multi-generation one-way trip. The sun going red giant would provide that motivation. Plus we'll have a few million years of technology development to make it more practical.

There's really only three cases I can think of where extinction could be in the cards:

1) Annihilation by extra-terrestrials. If they can get to our planet, they probably have the technology to hunt down every last one of us, if they were so motivated.

2) All the stars go out. In a few hundred quadrillion years, every star will have burned out. That could be a problem. Depends on our ability to build artificial habitats at that time. If we don't have sufficient ability to generate power in the absence of any stars, we won't be able to keep ourselves alive.

3) Heat death of the universe. Eventually, protons decay. So in a few hundred sextillion years, the very matter that makes up the universe will have broken down. We obviously can't outlast that.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #29)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:08 PM

58. You greatly underestimate the possibilities and the risks.

For instance, a nearby supernova birth, if we are in the path of the gamma ray burst, would wipe out the human race in less than two days. There would be no warning. There would be no time to prepare, and frankly no hope even given years to prepare.

As for an asteroid impact, that may or may not wipe out humanity depending on the kinetic energy involved. A massive enough asteroid would cause extinction.

A full scale nuclear conflict also could kill us all off. The initial exchange would not. Subsequent radiation effects would kill off a large number of those left and weaken the rest. The nuclear winter created by the blasts would destroy vegetation on most of the planets surface for years. Few would survive that, and those who did would face long odds of creating a successful future generation.

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Response to BillZBubb (Reply #58)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 08:53 PM

63. Gamma ray burst?


I think it would destroy life on only one side of the planet. I'm not certain even gamma rays can travel through thousands of miles of rock. Still, that would be a really big hit.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #63)

Fri Apr 11, 2014, 08:30 PM

87. The Earth rotates.

The burst lasts for much longer than a day.

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Response to BillZBubb (Reply #87)

Thu Apr 17, 2014, 11:02 PM

89. They do? So, it's not exactly a flash?


Oh, that's dramatic. So one side of the planet goes silent and then it continues hour by hour?

I would still think, though, that they vary a lot in length of time. I'll have to look that up.

I wonder if it's ever happened in the prehistory of Earth, then.

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Response to BillZBubb (Reply #58)

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 12:40 PM

81. There is no star close enough to us to cause a deadly gamma ray burst.

None of the stars that are close enough for a gamma-ray burst to be dangerous are capable of producing a gamma ray burst.

As for an asteroid impact, that may or may not wipe out humanity depending on the kinetic energy involved. A massive enough asteroid would cause extinction.

You'd need an object large enough to re-liquefy the Earth's surface. Such as the impact that created the moon. An object that big is relatively easy to find, and there's no object that big close to Earth.

A full scale nuclear conflict also could kill us all off. The initial exchange would not. Subsequent radiation effects would kill off a large number of those left and weaken the rest. The nuclear winter created by the blasts would destroy vegetation on most of the planets surface for years. Few would survive that, and those who did would face long odds of creating a successful future generation.

Face long odds because........?

Radiation in such an event will not be distributed all over the Earth. Some parts will be "hot", others will not. People already live in the areas that are unlikely to be "hot".

Nuclear winter will definitely harm food production, but we don't need to feed billions for the species to survive. Getting down to thousands would still leave an easily sufficient "breeding population".

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #81)

Fri Apr 11, 2014, 08:40 PM

88. None that we know of right now...

But since the most dangerous are white dwarfs, it is likely that we don't know about potential threats due to their dimness.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #29)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:04 PM

64. I think you lack imagination.


Similar ubiquitous species have gone extinct. (See trilobite.)

I hate to say a lot of what you take for human adaptability has also been accompanied by good luck. Our luck ran out in the 20th century when space travel and fusion energy never lived to our hopes. Every science fiction from 1930-1970 presumed a universe where we had unlimited living space and access to massive amounts of energy. The universe wasn't that generous.

Enough for comparisons. I don't think you have an accurate idea of the problems of adapting to a world where, for example, the oceanic ecosystems have been wrecked and inedible jellyfish are the only catch.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #64)

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 12:34 PM

80. Again, it is not ubiquity. It's adaptability.

Trilobites couldn't live in every habitat on Earth. Humans can.

Trilobites couldn't grow food. Humans can.

Trilobites couldn't build artificial habitats. Humans can.

And so on.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #80)

Mon Apr 7, 2014, 12:08 AM

83. Uh, no, humans can't live in every habitat.


You overstate human adaptability. I don't see humans colonizing the deep sea, the acid lakes in Mexican caves, the fiery calderas of volcanoes, the top of Everest, or the Antarctic interior. True, human can go there temporarily (with costly equipment manufactured outside of those zones) but they can't sustain themselves there. To live in such places, it takes a lot of expense and supplies from places where humans can sustain themselves, supplies that aren't reciprocated in trade. (The same goes for Mars, BTW, and space in general.)

Trilobites were probably as ubiquitous in every marine environment now as cockroaches are in terrestrial environments. They probably had similar niches. How awful would the worldwide environment have to become if they die out?

Your statement about living in every habitat on Earth simply doesn't stand up to observation. Human beings can live everywhere they consider a habitat, and that's something different.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #83)

Mon Apr 7, 2014, 11:01 AM

84. Yes, we can. That doesn't mean we have.

We have the technology to colonize the deep sea. It's absurdly expensive, so we haven't bothered. If it was the last habitable place on Earth, we would bother.

To live in such places, it takes a lot of expense and supplies from places where humans can sustain themselves, supplies that aren't reciprocated in trade.

We do that because that's the cheap way to do it. Not the only way. We've spent R&D time to figure out how to grow food on a spacecraft. We don't do it because we don't have to. If we had to, we could do it.

Trilobites were probably as ubiquitous in every marine environment now as cockroaches are in terrestrial environments. They probably had similar niches. How awful would the worldwide environment have to become if they die out?

Once again, ubiquity is not adaptability.

We're adapted to live on African savannahs. That's it. Everywhere else on the planet does not work for our natural form - too hot, too cold, too dry, and so on.

Yet we do live everywhere else on the planet because of our adaptability. We aren't restricted to our natural form. We can wear clothes, and thus colonize Europe. We can pump water from deep in the Earth, and thus colonize deserts. We invented transportation systems so we aren't limited by places we can walk to. We invented houses and other buildings to protect us from an environment we can not naturally survive.

Your statement about living in every habitat on Earth simply doesn't stand up to observation. Human beings can live everywhere they consider a habitat, and that's something different.

The fact that we don't bother to live in extreme environments does not mean we can not. It means we do not bother because we have elsewhere to live. Take away those other options, and some of us will move there.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #84)

Thu Apr 17, 2014, 11:55 PM

90. Don't bother? Sounds like sour grapes.


The fact that we don't bother to live in extreme environments does not mean we can not. It means we do not bother because we have elsewhere to live. Take away those other options, and some of us will move there.


Don't bother? You said it yourself. "It's absurdly expensive." That's totally different than not bothering, and you seem unable or unwilling to translate how expense translates to the real world and what it implies for adaptation.

Expensive likely means humans there have to be supported by specialized, massive labor from people in a friendlier environment who make the equipment for which the colony depends. This is not adaptation.

You could only call people adapted to their environment if they are self-sustaining there. This means people have to either support themselves on raw materials available there: they must then perform manufacturing and food production in the hostile environment. There's one alternative: and that's they have to make at least an even trade for the raw materials, food, or manufactured goods.

If they are being subsidized from the surplus of people living in a friendlier environment, to create an environment similar to the friendly one from which they came, then they're not adapted.

If you continue to keep yourself ignorant of these problems and claim humans are adaptive to anyplace, it means you're just emotionally resistant to my point, for reasons other than facts. You're making an argument from exceptionalism, which is as much of a delusion when applied to humankind as a whole as it is when applied to Americans alone.

There's no point in my continuing this conversation. You've made no other arguments except a reiteration of what you already said, which I already refuted. So, goodbye.






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Response to caseymoz (Reply #90)

Fri Apr 18, 2014, 12:02 AM

91. Sour grapes is coming back 11 days later to reply. (nt)

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:10 AM

33. If you are an American Indian you already knew this.

 

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:40 AM

38. Evolution has no direction.

 

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #38)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 08:33 PM

60. Yes it does.


But only in retrospect. Like you could tell that squirrels' evolution made them arboreal.

If they're testing people in the lab and they are coming up with these results, a way to describe it would be that nothing in human evolution made our minds adaptable to a problem on the scale or of the type that is Global Warming. Our brains are shaped to respond socially to each other, competing for status within our social group or competing against other human social groups. That precludes a rational response to threats that eclipse anything we'd see from our societies. It's almost like expecting cows to take rational precautions against a volcanic eruption.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:00 PM

42. May just prove that in the long run, intelligence is not a survival trait.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #42)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 08:34 PM

61. Yes, if there's anybody left to prove it to.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:27 PM

46. An estimated 99% of species have gone extinct -- why would humans be different?

 

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #46)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 08:48 PM

62. Up till now there was a reason.


It was supposed to be our sentience that made us the exception. Our species is so dominant, clever and ubiquitous we became deceived. It's a bit like American Exceptionalism.

There were two massive technological failures in the 20th century that doomed us. One was that space travel was far more daunting than we thought. Spreading our population to other planets would prove untenable. The second is fusion energy, leaving us dependent on fossil fuels. Our species was lucky. We bet on a universe that gave us some access to infinite living space and infinite energy. We're going to lose that bet. We're not used to losing.

I can't find any comfort in the fact that we're just like other animals.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:22 PM

66. Extreme political passion is just as bad as religious fundamentalism.

 

The only difference is the topic.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:31 PM

67. I'm sorry, but this study was obviously terribly flawed.

 

BTW, I do realize that some people really do have this kind of problem. But this is hardly a "feature of human evolution", asthey claim, and highly flawed "studies" such as this really don't do anything useful and very often end up as nothing but exercises in rather extreme confirmation bias.

Here's one of the interesting responses:

ASterling Sep 18, 2013

Who went to the original "study"? (I realize I read the Nyhan "material" now and two "scientists" or more are being cited). I still can't find the graphs that people were shown to test whether or not they could do math if they watched Fox News.

Here's some "facts" ...

"Political Science" isn't science. A law school professor, a health science "policy researcher" and a government professor are not qualified to carry out neuroscience experiments. Nyhan, who I've seen quoted by the author of this article and others before, selects out any/all participants in any of his studies who might perform differently than his pre-desired expectations. That behavior fits the exact description of the lead of this article. Actual scientists refer to this as "experimenter's bias." It actually goes beyond "experimenter's bias" because the group is pre-selected and so-called "experiment" designed to produce the result envisioned in advance. The so-called "experimenter" continued to eliminate groups of individuals participating until he (I am deliberately using the male pronoun) got down to groups that fit his pre-selected criteria (in Nystrom's case, "strong Republicans"

As to the "math" - these people were using graphs. A graph is automatically removed from primary data and can easily be manipulated to present deceptive visual data.

http://www.physics.csbsju.edu/stats/display.html

Nearly all of the discussion I find on the internet about "lying with graphs" comes from political science disciplines. I found an entire article seeking to rectify disparate charts, some of which showed trends about which the author was concerned (income disparity) with others showing information conflicting with that.

http://faculty.atu.edu/mfinan/2043/section31.pdf

Since the universe of people does not equal "strong Republicans," and there's considerably more knowledge about proper experiment design, chart and graph presentation, and data analysis in, oh, just about any discipline other than poly sci, I'm thinking this article is more evidence that Salon is like Vanity Fair, only without the good gossip, good writers like Hitch and no sexy pictures. It's a fapping fest for people to hate on "strong Republicans."


Of course, I don't find myself 100% agreeing with this person but he does seem to have a point. It definitely seems like these results were skewed to produce a specific result.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #67)

Sat Apr 5, 2014, 08:37 AM

69. I can't think of a reason


. . . why anybody would have a confirmation bias toward these results. Discourage people from trying? Perhaps. Well, we don't have a choice in the matter of Global Warming no matter what the study tells us. We have to swallow the Prozac and try to persuade them.

A poly-sci professor might be as competent to judge if somebody is doing the math and the cases when they are, and to record the data correctly. For this study (rather than Global Warming studies) it's sufficient.

I wouldn't call this flawed, but I would call it preliminary. I don't believe the article mentioned human evolution and its deficiencies. No, that's my thesis. I just think this study supports it. My rationale is I can't think of how or why human beings evolved to tackle a problem like Global Warming. We just don't have the level of social organization required to deal with it. We contrive our social units to compete against each other and protect their territory. So of course suspicion over misinformation is to be high.

What the means is the science behind Global Warming has always been the easy part. Coming up with countermeasures is the easy part. The hard thing to solve is getting human societies to deal with it, because it has to be dealt with on a global scale.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Apr 5, 2014, 10:23 AM

71. Wipe Republicans out at the polls for about three elections.

Their minds will change. Saying "two plus two is five" on global warming and so forth has nothing to do with science for Republicans. It is just team spirit. It strengthens their loyalty to one another. It's a mixture of lying to the devil, backing your buddy's lies, and trying to insist a reality into existence.

Once they Republicans identify having stupid opinions with being on a powerless team, they'll change. That is a major reason it is so important that everyone vote.

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Response to gulliver (Reply #71)

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 10:41 AM

74. Nice... That was an interesting response.

Now I've been a democrat for most of my adult life - but I can also appreciate the irony of responding to the ops posting on extreme partisan thinking and how it cripples critical reasoning, with MORE partisan thinking. Granted, it is a partisan site - so its to be expected I guess, but still...

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Response to TampaAnimusVortex (Reply #74)

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 11:08 AM

75. Consider that it might be an objective fact.

Consider the possibility that voting against the Republican Party en masse would result in the end of the phony debate on global warming. Over time, people tend to develop rhetorical blind spots with names like "partisan" and "government" and "politician" and so forth. And these blind spots become, for them, a source of irony and humor. It is possible that, for you, there is no partisan correlation between scientific ignorance and the Republican Party. If so, I encourage introspection.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 10:31 AM

73. Just yesterday I read an article predicting human extinction within 35 years.

Interestingly, that article was published in 1967.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 12:01 PM

77. Darwin's theory doesn't have a built in guarantee for long term human survival.

If we're collectively too stupid to protect our water, food and biosphere, then in a sense we will get what we collectively deserve.

It's too bad that the morons who are voting their children and grandchildren into extinction have to take the rest of us with them.

Fug 'em. It's a bit of a consolation to know that they will get what they deserve.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 12:06 PM

78. your title is your thoughts on the article and has really very little to do with the content ...

of the article ...

my thought is that your thoughts are the doom of mankind, and as soon as you stop dooming mankind we can all get back to fixing what is broken.

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