Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mass Exstinction in progress?

Mass Extinction? We may be making it…but we won’t make it.

The last few days, mostly while watching people talk on cell phones while driving, I had the realization ‘we aren’t going to make it”. Our species is doomed. While there is a remote chance we could go on, and on and on …warring, polluting, bankrupting our morals and going deeper into debt… I’m not counting on our wisdom coming to the rescue. And the facts are not encouraging.
There have been at least 5 mass extinctions on earth (six if you count Noah's flood) over the last 500 million years. The worst was called the Permian-Triassic catastrophe about 250 million years ago. It wiped out 95 percent of all species on earth. There were two others before it --about 364 million and 439 million years ago respectively-- and two more after it -- about 200 million and then 65 million years ago.
Now, some experts believe we humans are now in the midst of the next mass extinction. And many believe that and our species disregard for the environment is the primary causal factor. It may be arguable that global warming is the cause, and that we are causing global warming, but there should be no argument that we are not just on the endangered species list. We are on the fast track to extinction. And, there are well over a dozen ways humanity can be wiped out. The good news -- humans are in control of about half of them. The bad news – humans don’t care…(and don’t care that they don’t care) about controlling them. The really bad news… the rest that we can’t control (asteroids, pulsars, pandemics) would be difficult to deal with…even if we were working together in global harmony…instead of using our technological prowess to plan the next war or mass murder.
If you think all this ’doomsday stuff” is hype..or believe Jesus will return to save us…consider the words of NASA’s Director in the Feb 23, 2006 issue of Rolling Stone. “In the long run a single-planet species will not survive”. In all fairness, it is in his professional self interest to promote advancement of space travel. But anyone with 30 minutes to read an astronomy book knows he’s dead on correct.
Even if Earth (and we humans) manage to escape all incoming galactic threats over the next 5 billion years we will still have to contend with the death of our sun. We may have gotten solar power perfected by then but there’s a good chance we’ll be out of oil by then. But I digress.
Fear not for the world during mass extinction. Earth will do just fine. Life will go on…without us. Evolution will ensure that millions of other species will evolve to fill the voids and the cars we leave behind. The strongest will not have survived. Because when Darwin said “survival of the fittest, he didn’t mean those with the biggest biceps or the baddest WMD. In the world of evolution “fitness’ means the ability to adapt. That’s something we humans suck at. We don’t change. We change things around us. We don’t adapt to a changing environment. We change the environment (or ignore it or pray that it will change back).
We are by far the most powerful species ever to exist. Our brains creation and powerful amplification of tools and technology could eventually enable us to move or recycle entire plants…But long before we reach that level of civilized behavior we will have used our nano technology to wipe each other out.
Our global environment (life support system) we depend on is extraordinarily complex and infinitely more complicated than we can imagine. We are just too collectively stupid and/or stubborn. Just for sake of argument, let’s forget the fact that our brain has the extremely flawed capacity to believe anything! And focus on our second greatest flaw…We don’t even do the things we know we should do (eat healthy, get exercise, don’t smoke, and wear a helmet, drive without texting….).

I have little hope for humanity. Things change. For the most part, we and our governments don’t.

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