< 1 2 3 > 
 
   
 

Nature’s Dangerous Decline

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
Avatar
 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
Total Posts:  6784
Joined  08-12-2006
 
 
 
08 May 2019 14:24
 

Comparing our current situation with the British in WWII, or with an asteroid headed our way, is an apples to oranges comparison. The Brits were facing an immediate threat to their own well being. A looming asteroid poses a threat to our immediate well-being. Whereas, Nature’s Dangerous Decline only poses a threat to future generations. It’s one thing to make a sacrifice to save one’s own life, another to make a sacrifice for the well-being of people who don’t even exist yet.

Should we value the well-being of future generations more than our own? That’s a matter of preference; as such, neither position (we should or we shouldn’t) is right or wrong or rational or irrational. It’s a fact that sooner or later humans will go extinct. Some group of people will eventually have to experience that. What difference does it make if it happens to people a hundred years from now or a million? Why should I care how long it takes for homo sapiens to go extinct, as long as it doesn’t happen during my lifetime? I’d rather maximize my own well-being than sacrifice for the benefit of people who won’t even exist until I’m long gone.

I suspect that much of the resistance to “making a difference” stems from that same preference, whether people are aware of it or not. Attacking science is merely a conscious justification of a subconscious, selfish preference. In other words, it’s pointless to try convincing me of the science. I first must be convinced to value the well-being of future generations over my own. Only then will I see that the science is valid.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
Avatar
 
 
Jan_CAN
Total Posts:  3468
Joined  21-10-2016
 
 
 
08 May 2019 15:32
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 08 May 2019 02:24 PM

Comparing our current situation with the British in WWII, or with an asteroid headed our way, is an apples to oranges comparison. The Brits were facing an immediate threat to their own well being. A looming asteroid poses a threat to our immediate well-being. Whereas, Nature’s Dangerous Decline only poses a threat to future generations. It’s one thing to make a sacrifice to save one’s own life, another to make a sacrifice for the well-being of people who don’t even exist yet.

Should we value the well-being of future generations more than our own? That’s a matter of preference; as such, neither position (we should or we shouldn’t) is right or wrong or rational or irrational. It’s a fact that sooner or later humans will go extinct. Some group of people will eventually have to experience that. What difference does it make if it happens to people a hundred years from now or a million? Why should I care how long it takes for homo sapiens to go extinct, as long as it doesn’t happen during my lifetime? I’d rather maximize my own well-being than sacrifice for the benefit of people who won’t even exist until I’m long gone.

I suspect that much of the resistance to “making a difference” stems from that same preference, whether people are aware of it or not. Attacking science is merely a conscious justification of a subconscious, selfish preference. In other words, it’s pointless to try convincing me of the science. I first must be convinced to value the well-being of future generations over my own. Only then will I see that the science is valid.

I don’t think that comparing those situations is an apples-to-oranges comparison; although they differ, the psychology of people coming together to fight a common ‘enemy’ is similar.  Complete extinction of humans may be further off, but from what scientists are indicating, there will be people who have already been born, who exist today, who may very well suffer from the effects of climate change and over-population in their lifetimes.  It’s already happening to some extent.  Did you read the summary of the report linked in the OP?

I do think that you make some valid points.  People are unwilling to acknowledge the importance or urgency of the situation if it means that they might have to make changes to their lifestyle.  There is undoubtedly selfishness involved.  Perhaps this could be subdued somewhat by the hopefulness and/or self-interest of the young.  As Jefe said (post #15), “All we need to do is engage them enough to have them make the effort”. 

I would assume that most people do care about the future welfare of their children and grandchildren; they just need more convincing.  If we’re unsuccessful, then perhaps humans deserve to go extinct.  But the tragedy and injustice would be that it’ll be the actions and inaction of our generation that caused it.

 

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
Avatar
 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
Total Posts:  961
Joined  13-02-2017
 
 
 
08 May 2019 18:06
 

ASD, can I join you and your colony of Ubermensch, whose very existence precludes a need for assistance and the rational regard for the well-being of others?

Of course it bears pointing out that changing our lifestyle now can serve our interests as well as that of future generations; that it’s not a zero-sum free ride situation.  Like losing weight and ceasing smoking before pregnancy serves the interests of both the parent and the unborn child.  Why presume that improving our civilization now into long term sustainability amounts to a free ride for future generations at our expense?

And in any case, saying there’s no rationality to the effort because we’ll eventually go extinct is about as rational as saying I’m not going to avoid that oncoming car because I’m going to die eventually anyway.

[ Edited: 08 May 2019 18:21 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
Avatar
 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
Total Posts:  6784
Joined  08-12-2006
 
 
 
08 May 2019 21:20
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 08 May 2019 06:06 PM

ASD, can I join you and your colony of Ubermensch, whose very existence precludes a need for assistance and the rational regard for the well-being of others?

Not if you win this argument.

TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 08 May 2019 06:06 PM

Of course it bears pointing out that changing our lifestyle now can serve our interests as well as that of future generations; that it’s not a zero-sum free ride situation.  Like losing weight and ceasing smoking before pregnancy serves the interests of both the parent and the unborn child.  Why presume that improving our civilization now into long term sustainability amounts to a free ride for future generations at our expense?

That’s a good point, and one that often gets overlooked: how much of a sacrifice are we expected to make? What tangible rewards, if any, should we anticipate? There’s probably some hypothetical answers to those questions that would sway the consciences of enough of us selfish bastards to form a consensus in favor of taking action. But would said hypothetical action make enough of a difference to satisfy all you selfless do-gooders? Probably not.

TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 08 May 2019 06:06 PM

And in any case, saying there’s no rationality to the effort because we’ll eventually go extinct is about as rational as saying I’m not going to avoid that oncoming car because I’m going to die eventually anyway.

I’m not sure that’s such a great analogy. Getting run over by an oncoming car decreases my well-being. The fate of some future people who don’t even exist yet doesn’t. If I’m selfish, I’ll try to maximize my own well-being by avoiding oncoming cars and not losing sleep over future generations.

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
Avatar
 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
Total Posts:  961
Joined  13-02-2017
 
 
 
09 May 2019 03:15
 

That’s a good point, and one that often gets overlooked: how much of a sacrifice are we expected to make? What tangible rewards, if any, should we anticipate? There’s probably some hypothetical answers to those questions that would sway the consciences of enough of us selfish bastards to form a consensus in favor of taking action. But would said hypothetical action make enough of a difference to satisfy all you selfless do-gooders? Probably not.

I’m pretty sure the point of the parent and child shows a convergence of interests, not selfless do-gooding.  You yourself characterize morality as coordinating individual self-interest with the well-being of others.  All I did was illustrate your own definition.  As for the “hypothetical” benefits, if you think clean water, clean air, available resources, arable land, non-coastal flooding, decreased catastrophic storms, etc. are “hypothetical,” I’ll won’t debate the point.  But you might as well say lower cholesterol, non-obstructed alveoli, and normal vascular flexibility are “hypothetical” benefits of non-obesity and stopping smoking. 

I’m not sure that’s such a great analogy. Getting run over by an oncoming car decreases my well-being. The fate of some future people who don’t even exist yet doesn’t. If I’m selfish, I’ll try to maximize my own well-being by avoiding oncoming cars and not losing sleep over future generation

.

The analogy works, I think.  Not having children decreases the well-being of any given generation in society, for without replacement for deaths, no one is available to do the work required to make society function at any current level.  So in saying fuck future generations, one is only fucking oneself.  With that in mind, if one is to gain in their own self-interest from having the next generation—as one is with the expectation that they will work, and so on—then why not say one also has an obligation to them reciprocal to that gain—as one should?  This requires nothing more than coordinating self-interests—I scratch your back, you scratch mine. 

Bringing it back to the car, taking the hit is like a generation not having kids.  Before the impact, you’ve had a good life, so fuck it: I’m going to die anyway, why think of my future; let it hit me.  Unless you can think of a way your future can function without a replacement generation, the analogy works, as far as I can tell.  Any given generation that thinks only for itself is going to have a hell of a time with their own well-being once too old to do the work that insures it. If hell with extinction is the underlying attitude, one might as well take the hit from the car.  The difference would be a matter of timing, not principle.

[ Edited: 11 May 2019 03:10 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
Jan_CAN
 
Avatar
 
 
Jan_CAN
Total Posts:  3468
Joined  21-10-2016
 
 
 
09 May 2019 06:46
 

It is the negative aspects of human nature that got us into this mess:
shortsightedness, lack of respect for the environment (less so for indigenous peoples as pointed out in the OP report summary), greed and selfishness.

Our hope lies in the positive aspects of human nature:
ability to cooperate and problem-solve, imagination and innovativeness, compassion.

It’s becoming clear that we’re at a turning point – which aspects of human nature win out will determine our future and if we will actually have one.

We can’t outlaw greed and selfishness, but policies/regulations/bylaws can be implemented that minimize their impact.  I don’t have the expertise to know all that these should entail, but enforcing policies that affect everyone equally and fairly should lessen the power of the greedy.  The immense challenge is that the majority will have to get on board.  There’ll need to be a collective will that drives and accepts the myriad of actions that must be taken.

 
 
proximacentauri
 
Avatar
 
 
proximacentauri
Total Posts:  335
Joined  07-02-2017
 
 
 
09 May 2019 10:39
 
Jefe - 08 May 2019 08:46 AM
Jan_CAN - 08 May 2019 07:34 AM

On the other hand ...

We might have the potential to come together effectively against a common enemy – extinction.

During World War II, the British people came together to fight a different kind of common enemy.  In regards to effort and industry, “the whole population was involved in a practical way in helping the war effort”.  With rationing, “the theme of equality of sacrifice was paramount”.  “The success of the government in providing new services ..., as well as egalitarian spirit, contributed to widespread support ...”.  And propaganda played a role – not limited to articles and reports that are read by only a segment of the population, but a widespread government effort that inspired everyone to participate.

The circumstances were different, but the psychology required seems similar.

I think you have to convince those that consider ‘this world not their home’ to treat it better, and understand the ramifications of inaction.  Pence’s crowd.

I doubt if they can be convinced. But if we can marginalize their political power, then we may be able to move forward. I agree that getting out the millennial vote is key.

 
Cheshire Cat
 
Avatar
 
 
Cheshire Cat
Total Posts:  1321
Joined  01-11-2014
 
 
 
12 May 2019 17:18
 

How likely do you think that is? That the whole network of civilization would collapse?
I would estimate the chances are about 49 percent that the world as we know it will collapse by about 2050. I’ll be dead by then but my kids will be, what? Sixty-three years old in 2050. So this is a subject of much practical interest to me. At the rate we’re going now, resources that are essential for complex societies are being managed unsustainably. Fisheries around the world, most fisheries are being managed unsustainably, and they’re getting depleted. Farms around the world, most farms are being managed unsustainably. Soil, topsoil around the world. Fresh water around the world is being managed unsustainably. With all these things, at the rate we’re going now, we can carry on with our present unsustainable use for a few decades, and by around 2050 we won’t be able to continue it any longer. Which means that by 2050 either we’ve figured out a sustainable course, or it’ll be too late.
— Jared Diamond

https://tinyurl.com/y3m5u6sb

We’re screwed.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
Avatar
 
 
Jan_CAN
Total Posts:  3468
Joined  21-10-2016
 
 
 
13 May 2019 08:01
 
Cheshire Cat - 12 May 2019 05:18 PM

How likely do you think that is? That the whole network of civilization would collapse?
I would estimate the chances are about 49 percent that the world as we know it will collapse by about 2050. I’ll be dead by then but my kids will be, what? Sixty-three years old in 2050. So this is a subject of much practical interest to me. At the rate we’re going now, resources that are essential for complex societies are being managed unsustainably. Fisheries around the world, most fisheries are being managed unsustainably, and they’re getting depleted. Farms around the world, most farms are being managed unsustainably. Soil, topsoil around the world. Fresh water around the world is being managed unsustainably. With all these things, at the rate we’re going now, we can carry on with our present unsustainable use for a few decades, and by around 2050 we won’t be able to continue it any longer. Which means that by 2050 either we’ve figured out a sustainable course, or it’ll be too late.
— Jared Diamond

https://tinyurl.com/y3m5u6sb

We’re screwed.

Such dire predictions as this one can give people the idea that we are indeed ‘screwed’.  There needs to be a sense of urgency to make it clear that we ALL need to make and accept major changes now, but this also needs to be balanced with the impression that these can be accomplished or there is a risk that people will fall into a state of fatalism.

 
 
unsmoked
 
Avatar
 
 
unsmoked
Total Posts:  8683
Joined  20-02-2006
 
 
 
13 May 2019 11:43
 
Jan_CAN - 13 May 2019 08:01 AM
Cheshire Cat - 12 May 2019 05:18 PM

How likely do you think that is? That the whole network of civilization would collapse?
I would estimate the chances are about 49 percent that the world as we know it will collapse by about 2050. I’ll be dead by then but my kids will be, what? Sixty-three years old in 2050. So this is a subject of much practical interest to me. At the rate we’re going now, resources that are essential for complex societies are being managed unsustainably. Fisheries around the world, most fisheries are being managed unsustainably, and they’re getting depleted. Farms around the world, most farms are being managed unsustainably. Soil, topsoil around the world. Fresh water around the world is being managed unsustainably. With all these things, at the rate we’re going now, we can carry on with our present unsustainable use for a few decades, and by around 2050 we won’t be able to continue it any longer. Which means that by 2050 either we’ve figured out a sustainable course, or it’ll be too late.
— Jared Diamond

https://tinyurl.com/y3m5u6sb

We’re screwed.

Such dire predictions as this one can give people the idea that we are indeed ‘screwed’.  There needs to be a sense of urgency to make it clear that we ALL need to make and accept major changes now, but this also needs to be balanced with the impression that these can be accomplished or there is a risk that people will fall into a state of fatalism.

Practically every roof in Los Angeles County could be covered with solar panels and every car and truck on the L.A. freeways could be powered by the sun.  Skies in the City of Angels could be blue again. 

What are the reasons this isn’t happening?  Too expensive?  https://www.oecd.org/env/tools-evaluation/thecostofairpollution.htm

THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF OUTDOOR AIR POLLUTION

Report, June 2016

Outdoor air pollution could cause 6 to 9 million premature deaths a year by 2060 and cost 1% of global GDP – around USD 2.6 trillion annually – as a result of sick days, medical bills and reduced agricultural output, unless action is taken, according to a new OECD report.

The Economic Consequences of Air Pollution finds the consequent reduction in global economic output by 2060 will equate to around USD 330 per person, as annual healthcare costs related to air pollution rise to USD 176 billion from USD 21 billion in 2015 and the number of work days lost to air pollution-related illness jumps to 3.7 billion from 1.2 billion.

 

Image Attachments
 
123_2334.JPG
 
 
 
proximacentauri
 
Avatar
 
 
proximacentauri
Total Posts:  335
Joined  07-02-2017
 
 
 
13 May 2019 11:43
 
Jan_CAN - 13 May 2019 08:01 AM
Cheshire Cat - 12 May 2019 05:18 PM

How likely do you think that is? That the whole network of civilization would collapse?
I would estimate the chances are about 49 percent that the world as we know it will collapse by about 2050. I’ll be dead by then but my kids will be, what? Sixty-three years old in 2050. So this is a subject of much practical interest to me. At the rate we’re going now, resources that are essential for complex societies are being managed unsustainably. Fisheries around the world, most fisheries are being managed unsustainably, and they’re getting depleted. Farms around the world, most farms are being managed unsustainably. Soil, topsoil around the world. Fresh water around the world is being managed unsustainably. With all these things, at the rate we’re going now, we can carry on with our present unsustainable use for a few decades, and by around 2050 we won’t be able to continue it any longer. Which means that by 2050 either we’ve figured out a sustainable course, or it’ll be too late.
— Jared Diamond

https://tinyurl.com/y3m5u6sb

We’re screwed.

Such dire predictions as this one can give people the idea that we are indeed ‘screwed’.  There needs to be a sense of urgency to make it clear that we ALL need to make and accept major changes now, but this also needs to be balanced with the impression that these can be accomplished or there is a risk that people will fall into a state of fatalism.

“Men argue. Nature acts.”
- Voltaire

As long as the isolated tribalism of your neighbors to the south reigns, don’t expect much help from us. We will continue to plunder and foul the earth if we think it’s to our benefit. With no inclination whatsoever to preserve the earth’s fragile biosphere for future generations.

 

 
Jan_CAN
 
Avatar
 
 
Jan_CAN
Total Posts:  3468
Joined  21-10-2016
 
 
 
13 May 2019 12:24
 
proximacentauri - 13 May 2019 11:43 AM

“Men argue. Nature acts.”
- Voltaire

As long as the isolated tribalism of your neighbors to the south reigns, don’t expect much help from us. We will continue to plunder and foul the earth if we think it’s to our benefit. With no inclination whatsoever to preserve the earth’s fragile biosphere for future generations.

Voltaire probably never envisioned a time when Man’s thoughtless arguing could have the potential to cause Nature’s acting to obliterate said Man.

Yeah, the neighbours to the south aren’t helping much of late, but we’ve all done our fair share of plundering and fouling the earth.  (Although attitudes north of the border may be somewhat more ‘enlightened’, any progress is lagging behind what it should be IMO.)  It’s possible that the U.S. will reassess some of the benefits of continuing on as they have been considering they’ve had their fair share of the costly effects (worsening of hurricanes, flooding).  Instead of making money on hip waders and generators, perhaps there needs to be some convincing that there is money and progress to be had in alternate energy development, resource sustainability, etc.?

 

 
 
proximacentauri
 
Avatar
 
 
proximacentauri
Total Posts:  335
Joined  07-02-2017
 
 
 
13 May 2019 12:56
 
Jan_CAN - 13 May 2019 12:24 PM

  It’s possible that the U.S. will reassess some of the benefits of continuing on as they have been considering they’ve had their fair share of the costly effects (worsening of hurricanes, flooding).

Most conservatives here view the worsening hurricanes & flooding connection to climate change as “fake news”.

Jan_CAN - 13 May 2019 12:24 PM

Instead of making money on hip waders and generators, perhaps there needs to be some convincing that there is money and progress to be had in alternate energy development, resource sustainability, etc.

The potential money to be made in alternative energy is a potential motivator. Also, I think becoming energy self-sufficient as a country could be emphasized and this will appeal to the isolationists.

 
Jan_CAN
 
Avatar
 
 
Jan_CAN
Total Posts:  3468
Joined  21-10-2016
 
 
 
13 May 2019 13:36
 
proximacentauri - 13 May 2019 12:56 PM
Jan_CAN - 13 May 2019 12:24 PM

  It’s possible that the U.S. will reassess some of the benefits of continuing on as they have been considering they’ve had their fair share of the costly effects (worsening of hurricanes, flooding).

Most conservatives here view the worsening hurricanes & flooding connection to climate change as “fake news”.

Jan_CAN - 13 May 2019 12:24 PM

Instead of making money on hip waders and generators, perhaps there needs to be some convincing that there is money and progress to be had in alternate energy development, resource sustainability, etc.

The potential money to be made in alternative energy is a potential motivator. Also, I think becoming energy self-sufficient as a country could be emphasized and this will appeal to the isolationists.

It’s difficult to understand how those particular conservatives can disbelieve what the majority of scientists are saying now that we’re seeing glacial melting and climate change.  But I do understand the desire not to believe because it’s scary stuff.

Money does talk.  In addition to the money to be made by companies through innovation, I think individuals could be encouraged by financial incentives.  A specified percentage tax break for home renovations that increase energy efficiency, for new homes that incorporate solar panels, for those purchasing hybrid/electric cars, etc. 

 

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
Avatar
 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
Total Posts:  6784
Joined  08-12-2006
 
 
 
13 May 2019 15:20
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 May 2019 03:15 AM

That’s a good point, and one that often gets overlooked: how much of a sacrifice are we expected to make? What tangible rewards, if any, should we anticipate? There’s probably some hypothetical answers to those questions that would sway the consciences of enough of us selfish bastards to form a consensus in favor of taking action. But would said hypothetical action make enough of a difference to satisfy all you selfless do-gooders? Probably not.

I’m pretty sure the point of the parent and child shows a convergence of interests, not selfless do-gooding.  You yourself characterize morality as coordinating individual self-interest with the well-being of others.  All I did was illustrate your own definition.  As for the “hypothetical” benefits, if you think clean water, clean air, available resources, arable land, non-coastal flooding, decreased catastrophic storms, etc. are “hypothetical,” I’ll won’t debate the point.  But you might as well say lower cholesterol, non-obstructed alveoli, and normal vascular flexibility are “hypothetical” benefits of non-obesity and stopping smoking.

You appear to be combining two separate arguments: the appeal to (tangible) self-interest, and the appeal to morality. Let’s take them one at a time.

Your appeal to self-interest can be broken into two subcategories: the “convergence of interests” and the “hypothetical benefits . . . clean water, clean air . . . .” The people most affected by global warming will be people who won’t even exist until after I’m dead. I think it’s safe to say people who won’t exist until after I’m dead will not have any impact on my interests. There is no “convergence of interests” there.

As for the “hypothetical benefits,” there are a few possibilities here, depending on which climate change model you’re going with. The most pessimistic models indicate that nothing we do today—even if we stopped all anthropogenic carbon emissions tomorrow—will have any effect until long after we’re dead. In terms of short term outcomes (our lifetime), anything we do at this point is tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The less pessimistic models, on the other hand, show that even if we take no action, the short term impact (our lifetime) on “clean water, clean air . . .” won’t be all that significant. So again, it’s hard to justify taking action based on a short term cost-benefit analysis. The costs will be immediate, but the benefits won’t be realized until long after we’re gone.

(The caveat is if we end up repealing clean air and water regulations already in effect. That could have an immediate effect. But my opposition to taking further action shouldn’t be confused with support for reversing action already taken.)

The appeal to morality is more interesting. Since you’re acquiescing into my definition of morality—“A mechanism of control that reconciles self-interest with the well being of others”—I’ll look at it through that lens. It all boils down to the meaning of, “others,” doesn’t it? Which is why I left that word deliberately ambiguous. I think the key factor here is proximity. The intangible reward for sacrificing my tangible self-interest on behalf of someone close to me is significant: the warm, fuzzy feeling I get from helping them and the feelings of shame and remorse that I avoid by not taking advantage of them. Not so for some anonymous stranger on the other side of the planet. Which is why we have lots of people dying of starvation and disease on the other side of the planet when we could easily help them.

How “proximate” to me is someone who won’t exist until after I’m dead? I say, even less so than all those people dying of starvation and disease on the other side of the planet.

Which leads to an appeal to ethics: shouldn’t we indoctrinate our children to feel morally culpable vis-a-vis non-proximate others? So they will feel warm and fuzzy when they send all their leftover disposable income to people on the other side of the planet and future generations? And ashamed if they don’t? Leave aside the question of whether, for most people, that’s even possible. Doesn’t it boil down to sacrificing the well-being of one set of people (those alive today) in order to increase the well-being of another set of people (future generations)?

How far would you be willing to go for those future generations? Suppose the only way we can “take action” is to abandon democracy and institute a dictatorship with the power to impose by force the measures needed to offset global warming. Everyone would be required to live at the poverty line so that most of our resources could be directed toward “taking action.” Would you be in favor of that? I’m not suggesting that’s what it would take, just trying to get an idea of whether “taking action” transcends any kind of cost-benefit analysis in your mind.

 
 
 < 1 2 3 >