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Predicting what the planet will be like, and what the human population will be, ninety years from now, is futile. And doesn't actually move anything useful forward, since pronouncements like these are so easy to dismiss as marginal or crazy.

I'm not saying they are marginal or crazy, any more than any other numbers thrown around. I'm just saying we don't know, and would be better off looking for arguments based on what can be rationally approached. Or narratives that are less easy to throw out of the window.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 02:48:08 PM EST
And are we worth it? Nobody has ever given me a satisfactory answer to the question of why we, homo sapiens, are here ;-)

This is in spite of the best minds and bodies throughout history being devoted to finding the answer. My best guess is that it doesn't matter.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 03:08:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If not here, where else would we humans be?

I think it matters because some us think it does. Although it could be interesting, I suppose, that as a species we collectively decided through our actions to go extinct. Interesting to anything that might notice at some later point in time.

I doubt any other species on earth decided to go extinct. But really, in the big picture, with nearly 7 billion people extinction talk seems silly. There will be far many other species that die off before humans do.

by Magnifico on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 04:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
are we worth it?

why we, homo sapiens, are here ;-)

I dunno who's supposed to answer those questions... Perhaps whoever can also knows how many humans will be left (Behind?) at the end of the century.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 04:39:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're worth it to us.

Or we should be.

Unfortunately we're not, which seems to be part of the problem. Expecting a Deus Ex to take responsibility for our future when we refuse to isn't helpful.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 04:49:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly wouldn't be helpful. But that wasn't where my snark was aiming.

Oh, and I think we are worth it. But that's just me (thinking).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 05:01:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're worth it to us.

Or we should be.

Unfortunately we're not, which seems to be part of the problem.

The history of humankind in three short sentences...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 05:29:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In using the word "worth," what are we being tested against?

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 05:32:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
And are we worth it? Nobody has ever given me a satisfactory answer to the question of why we, homo sapiens, are here ;-)

This is in spite of the best minds and bodies throughout history being devoted to finding the answer. My best guess is that it doesn't matter.

teleology strikes...

why we are here, two answers:

  1. sheer random dumb luck

  2. no two people will have the same answer, because each makes their own contribution to the resolution to that existential tension.

it amuses me to think that it matters hugely, and not at all, simultaneously...

;)


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 28th, 2010 at 07:00:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since we are here (one way or other), why are we behaving like unconcerned morons?
by das monde on Tue Jun 29th, 2010 at 11:02:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
um, i hope you're not speaking for yourself or the other ETers!

short answer: because that's what we are unless we know better, because someone kindly slipped us a clue.

or spiked the punch, whatever...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 09:07:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure enough, I think of myself and fellow ETers rather better :-)

what we are... is what clues do we take. The thing is, there is this dominant elephant clue that we can't escape to take. The authoritative clue is that nothing else matters but your relative success in money, sex, SUVs and iPhones. We rationalize everything with game theory, evolutionary psychology, genetics, investment returns or sperm count. The humanity did not know this so well until quite recently. It was more grown up 30-40 years ago, for God's sake.

by das monde on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 10:20:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... why are we behaving like unconcerned morons?

Well, as one of the we I discovered that maybe .01% of people represent the real trouble makers (ultrawealthy/corporate higher-ups), another 99% would join that crowd given half a chance, and the rest of US realize that we are woefully outnumbered regardless of what we say/do.

What do you wish for the terminally ill?  A quick painless death.  What do I wish for the human species?  The same.  And that's being merciful given what you've done to the planet.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 09:44:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
iz you channeling your breakfast chicken, forsooth?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 07:22:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody has ever given me a satisfactory answer to the question of why we, homo sapiens, are here ;-)

I didn't realize that modern non-religious people still asked that question.  Decrease in Gibbs Free Energy, my dear Sven.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Jun 29th, 2010 at 04:55:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
why we, homo sapiens, are here

I always figured it was because an evolutionary niche for an intelligent, social omnivore existed.

Which kind of simplifies the metaphysics, IMO.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Tue Jun 29th, 2010 at 12:08:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
heh, that's a tidy little belief system, no fuss, no muss.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 07:23:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody has ever given me a satisfactory answer to the question of why we, homo sapiens, are here



She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jun 29th, 2010 at 02:04:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That more or less sums up my view ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jun 29th, 2010 at 03:17:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed.

('So, 1953 issue of Popular Mechanics, where is my personal jetpack?')

by Number 6 on Tue Jun 29th, 2010 at 08:22:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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