Disappointment about our own species

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Mark UX, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Here's an interesting article on the subject, from a pre-historic perspective:
    http://www.economist.com/node/10278703

    Essentially, it describes that prior to the advent of civilization, when humans were hunter-gatherers, they were constantly at war with each other and their short lives were due mostly to this war and the scarcity of resources that caused it. Cave paintings record how humans changed the food they hunted as they exterminated the different prey (from big and slow to small and fast). Farming and civilization changed all that, enabling an explosion in population and vast reduction in violence. All due to learning how to manipulate, accentuate and preserve the environment.
     
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, I have seen the Hellstrom Chronicle. When those ants are done it looks like an atomic bomb exploded, except it does not leave a radio-active residue which makes life impossible, except perhaps for an ant.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorylus
    There are no "Australian" rabbits. We imported them. A wise choice, or ignorance of natural law?
    "Florida" Pythons (from Asia and Africa) are becoming a threat to the Everglades. "Great Lakes" Carp (from Asia) are killing all other native fish.
    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/07/21/invasive-pythons-threaten-florida-everglades
    http://ftw.usatoday.com/2013/10/asian-carp-great-lakes-invasive-species

    Lest we forget that magnificent animal, the American Bison which were used for target practice by passerbys from the new railroads we built and left to rot. Need or Sport?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_bison

    Can we honestly call that responsible stewardship of our own ecosystem?
    Far better today than when? Better than before we built L A? We just cannot see ourselves as an invasive species, can we? Killing everything that is "inconvenient" or for "fun" (not from need such as the driver ants).

    Oh, of course now we need to deal with the water shortage, the most abundant free commodity on earth.
    Today we pay $1.00 for a bottle of clean water? Why is that, pollution perhaps?
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/initiatives/freshwater/panafrica/threats

    Don't misunderstand, I am hopeful that my grandchildren will still have a decent place to live, but I'm really worried. Our family lived for 5 years in a log cabin in the woods, which has given me a RW look at Nature and respect for its awe inspiring beauty and the evolutionary balance of locally evolved species.
    We have created concrete jungles for human habitat, and cockroaches and rats.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
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  5. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    Yes but we are the only species that really knows better.

    We are engaged in a struggle between our evolutionarily instinctive side and our more conscious and deliberative side.

    Yes we destroy the environment and compete with other species.

    But we also take steps to protect both the environment and the other species that share the planet.

    We create environmental protection laws and encourage repopulation of certain species. No other animal does that.

    So we do have this more evolved side trying to override our instinctive reflexes.

    And if we continue in this habit of employing our more conscious and deliberative side long enough, eventually it will become instinct and supersede the more reckless and competitive behaviors we call instinct today. Habit is ten times nature, as they say.

    Our primitive competitive side is dying. It's dying in fits and starts but it's dying.

    Corralling other species in a refuge in order to help preserve and encourage their numbers would have been unthinkable to our prehistoric ancestors.

    50,000 or more years ago we couldn't get along with wolves. Now some of us are hugging lions and bears.
     
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  7. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    I think the poster meant we (humans) take more than we really need to survive comfortably. In other words, we don't really need McMansions or really need to use fossil fuels to the extent we do. But we just continue to do it anyway because, as the poster suggested, we're not much smarter than yeast.

    Well, some of us, at least.

    Who's a good boy? You're a good boy!

     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
  8. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Humans are much smarter than yeast, more capable too, but just as lacking in wisdom / self control, especially.
     
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  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Radioactive residue does not "make life impossible." The Red Forest in the Ukraine, where the core of the Chernobyl reactor ended up, is now one of the healthiest ecosystems in Russia. It does make life difficult for _people_ though, which serves us right.
    Nope. Since then we have learned quite a bit. We are now reintroducing bison in the American west. (And they are truly awesome animals.)
    The driver ants don't "need" to do that, any more than we "need" to build cities. They don't need to expand their numbers and split to form new colonies. They do it because they have evolved to reproduce as much as possible.
    I pay 3/10 of a cent per gallon for water, and I am in San Diego, one of the hardest hit places for the drought. (Naturally if you want a pretty bottle with pictures on it, refrigerated, in a convenient disposable format, you will pay more. Up to you.)
    It's an illusion, just as the "noble savage" turned out to be a media-created fantasy. Nature is as deadly and as greedy as it can be. The difference is that humans no longer have natural limitations on their greed. Fortunately we are (slowly) discovering that limiting ourselves is a good idea.
     
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  10. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    As I've said before, I don't think we are capable of destroying it. We're only capable of destroying our own back yard. What we're doing is no different than a swarm of locusts destroying everything green in a certain area.
     
  11. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    They don't call it GLOBAL warming without reason. For clearly understood reasons, the rise in sea levels as Antarctic ice melts will be nearly twice as large in the North Atlantic as in some other places.

    Reason has to due with the current gravitational attraction of that large ice mass, keeping the North Atlantic water surface exceptionally lower than it would other wise be. That will cease.
     
  12. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Sure, and that's only a small part of our own back yard.
     
  13. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    If by "back yard" you really meant the earth, then you should consider altering:
    "I don't think we are capable of destroying it. We're only capable of destroying our own back yard. What we're doing is no different than a swarm of locusts destroying everything green in a certain area."
     
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    No other animal needs to, they take only what they need and in that process a natural balanced environment forms, each confortable in their niche of the hierarchy (food chain).

    But that is not correct. Herder ants practised aphid herding long before we even existed.
    Other ants practised agriculture long before man existed.
    It seems to me that Wolves choose humans because there was so much waste, easy pickings.

    But is true, man is able to cultivated symbiotic relationships. If only Greed was not in our way.
    The picture shows a man hugging a lion, the news is reporting a dentist killing a protected lion for sport.

    And this is a wonderful example of human/animal, as well as animal/animal interaction.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
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  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Which of course would be incorrect if our back yard (that certain area) is the entire earth.

    But it is true, we cannot destroy the earth itself, it has been through much worse than humans.
     
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Again, incorrect. Any animal will eat all it can and reproduce as much as it can, and (if allowed) continue until it kills everything else. In nature, predation/starvation/disease prevent this from happening.
     
  17. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I'll clarify "destroying" our own back yard: We're capable of damaging our own back yard (the earth) to the point where we can't live there any more - but it will still be there and other living things will still be there; they'll probably even be better off without us. We're only capable of "destroying" the earth for our own purposes.
     
  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I disagree with equation "eating all you can" and "reproducing all you can" with the definition of Greed.
    As I mentioned earlier, decision making is always based "in the direction of greater satisfaction". Determinism.

    But as far as I know, only humans possess the mental ability to find abstract satisfaction in the accumulation of wealth and power.

    Most (if not all) other organisms do not contemplate future needs, except storing food for winter, drought, etc. They act from immediate need and evolved survival instincts only and in hive societies all the wealth is shared. There are but a few species that engage in sexual intercourse outside of estrus. Exceptions can be found in hive insects which need only a single mating to produce continual fertility of the queen (as in bee hives).

    But insects (except for queens) have a very short lifespan and their population must be regenerated very quickly, in order to maintain stable societies.

    Although basic survival skills (in the direction of greater satisfaction) are the "mother" of greed, Human Greed itself has no longer any connection to basic survival needs, because it is not shared with the greater human hive.

    I am NOT advocating, going back to living in caves, but neither do I see a "need" for storing trillions of dollars in tax-free off-shore accounts at cost of raping the earth's resources and destroying the ecosystem in the process. The results of that is the current " income inequality" and disparate living standards and I am afraid, also the lowering of the value of "life" in favor of abstract wealth.

    The natural balance of the earth's ecosystem was accomplished and maintained by the natural sequestration of CO2 deep underground, preventing its escape into our atmosphere. This took billions of years.
    But our infinite appetite for technology, has caused us to reintroduce most of that sequestered CO2 back into the atmosphere. The results of that (after just a few centuries of human activities) are slowly becoming apparent on a Global scale and maybe already be irreversible.

    I hope not, but I am concerned.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  19. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    That quick death, sometimes after only three weeks of nectar /pollen collection in summer for "worker bees" is not true in Winter. Most live many months - until spring. Bees do not have any healing ability; lose leg and they may still get by for a while with 5, but a wing badly damaged is soon their end. They literally "work themselves to death."

    Other than this minor point, I basically agree with your post.
     
  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    12,713
    It's taking more than you need. (When it comes to eating, of course, we call it gluttony.)
    A great many animals spend inordinate amounts of energy, time and health to gain power. The leader of a wolf pack must often fight the other wolves - risking injury, infection and death - to claim the top spot. Alpha apes spend a lot of time in dominance displays to achieve alpha status, thus assuring them of mates, grooming, deference etc.
    In ant hives, sick ants are immediately slaughtered because they start to smell different (and smell is how ants tell each other apart.) However, it is just as much a mistake to call that cruelty as it is to call sharing of food altruistic. It is programmed behavior.
    Heck, there is no need to live in a house; we evolved to be able to live outdoors. But most people prefer houses, even if they don't "need" them. We don't need to eat meat, or post on the Internet, or paint pictures, or help the poor. Those are all optional things we choose to do.
    We are nowhere close to releasing all the sequestered carbon; we couldn't do that if we tried. However I agree that what we are releasing is causing trouble. Keep in mind, though, that no matter how much we release, we won't do anywhere near the damage that cyanobacteria did to the Earth (as it existed then) about 2 billion years ago.
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    billvon,

    Reread the definition of Greed.

    Also, definition of Gluttony:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluttony
    A python may swallow an entire animal, but then it will not need to eat for weeks, AND IT DOES NOT!
    otoh, the intentional gorging and purging of huge amounts of food by humans is Gluttony.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins
    These are human attributes. As are all the "cardinal sins" properly identified in the philosophy of various scriptures.
    As atheist, I can wholly appreciate the importance of those "observations".
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  22. river Valued Senior Member

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    9,162
    We as Human Beings don't believe in ourselves.

    Above all else , we must believe in ourselves.

    Otherwise other beings will dominate us. Use Humanity against us. And kill us.

    Or enslave Humanity.

    river
     
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,558
    On the contrary, Human Beings overestimate themselves. A sense of "special entitlement" to excess resources is an imbalancing factor in nature and by extension our culture.

    Above all else we must respect our paradise.

    Of course, if our behavior causes our own extinction, you bet other beings wil dominate us. Most of them very small.
    .
    But River, we are inevitably slave to our environment already. The mathematical functions of the earth's eco-system is not going to adapt to out behavior. They will matematically resist ( or set up secondary results) by the natural timeless law of Cause/Effect.

    Can we survive a 5 foot raise in the oceans?
    Can farms be productive in 120-130 F ?
    How much more water is going to be needed to insure the next crop?

    How are we going to reverse our cntinueing negative impact, before it is too late, and Nature will decide out Fate.

    Our actions today will determine the future of the US. How many people have changed their habits in a purposeful, deliberate action to minimize the human foot print, Which have now become as large as to affect the health and economies of entire countries.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015

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