- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The crux of the matter.

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on December 25, 1999 at 12:55:03:

In Reply to: Nouns are declenched. Verbs are conjugated. posted by Frenchy on December 25, 1999 at 12:36:59:

: : : Yeah, but it's still the same predictions that were made last century by Hobbes (I think it was Hobbes) when he said that the population growth would outstrip the earth's capacity to feed the additional mouths.

: : (It was Malthus (1766-1834), actually, hence the adjective 'Malthusian' - Hobbes was around from 1588 to 1679.)

: : : So what happens? Some smart ass comes along and discovers fertilizers. Another smart ass comes along and invents tractors. Somebody else comes along and figures out how to make wheat grow in winter.
: : : See a pattern here?

: : Yes; everyone has automatically assumed from the start that population will continue increasing and tried to respond to that. The accepted paradigm is that population will increase; and each generation has instituted stop-gap measures to try and cope with the increase.

: : Intensive farming is merely the latest form; and the effects of intensive farming are so destructive to the environment that if present consumption patterns continue;

: : - 2/3 of the Earth's population will live in 'water-stressed' conditions by the year 2025

: : - some 20% of the worlds drylands are affected by human-induced soil degradation, putting the livelihoods of more than 1,000 million people at risk.

: : (Source: UN GEO-2000 report, published last summer)

: : The innovations you cited have done nothing to challenge the basic paradigm; that population is increasing.

: : To use the old smoking analogy again, it's like bringing out lower-tar cigarettes; they may be slightly less bad for your health, but they don't solve the paradigm problem; which is nicotine addiction; and if you raise your consumption of low-tar cigarettes to provide the nicotine hit you need, then you're harming yourself just as much as you were with the old high-tar cigarettes.

: Your pessimism about the fate of earth and its inhabitants leaves me speechless. Is this the angst of Generation X that I've read of?

I'm not Gen X.

: I'll have to continue disagreeing with these scenarios because I happen to believe that there will be in fact future discoveries that will be beneficial to mankinds survival. Call it Faith.

And there we have the crux of the matter.

Frenchy is basing his view of the future on faith in 'human nature'.

Unfortunately, 'human nature' is a psychological term, and an incredibly fuzzy one at that. Compare the views of Rousseau and Hobbes as to what constituted the 'natural state of man'.

I am basing my predictions on experimental data taken from real-world experiments and measurements of current physical data.

Frenchy, science and faith cannot co-exist; they cover entirely different areas of the human experience. You can't have faith in science any more than you can measure love. What you believe in is not science, but the Religion of Progress.

I don't need to have faith in the Second Law of Thermodynamics; it affects me equally whether I believe in it or not. I don't need faith in the Greenhouse Effect for precisely the same reason; it is demonstrable by physical evidence.

If you're going to argue physical science, leave 'faith' behind; it forms no part of physical science.

(and maybe, some day, you'll answer the other 80% of my post.)

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