What do you propose? You are rejecting, in a categorical sense, many alternatives that very smart people believe have promise.
Second part first. Psi, I would love to know who these “smart people” are. As I tried to point out, the smart people I pay attention to have done the energy analysis, as I indicated, and the results have uniformly been discouraging. Years ago I worked in the thermal solar energy buisness when HUD was supporting demonstration projects in this country. Rather than go through the litany, I will simply say that the results of the kinds of analyses I mentioned in the prior post were done and found that the net energy from thermal solar (active, not passive) was much lower than, say, from natural gas heating and in some cases was actually negative!
Here is what I have seen. Someone at Cal Tech proposes a basic science experiment to see if energy could be generated using X technology. This is basic science, not a plan to save the earth. However, they do frame the problem with the energy question in mind so that funding agencies get interested (DOE pushes all kinds of far out stuff - they have real hope believe me). If they have any success in their scientific efforts, the press picks it up and says, based on the hint in the original funding proposal, that this could be a solution to our energy needs. Suddenly we have a solution, if only the process using technology X can scale up to production levels. Guess what never happens.
The latest hype is over the hydrogen economy based on hydrogen as an energy carrier and fuel cell technology for all kinds of industrial and private (including transportation) uses. We even have $1.5billion earmarked in the president’s energy bill for the hydrogen car. Sounds great. The little science that creeps into the public discussion only adds to confusion. Now I suggest you go read “The Hype About Hydrogen” by Joseph Romm. Then contrast the public perception of this technology and the president’s oh-so-intelligent policy proposal with the real science. As I said before, some of these detailed, science-based analyses can be a real eye opener. BTW: Romm does cover some of the misconceptions about energy sources needed to produce hydrogen and the relative efficiencies thereof.
[quote author=“psiconoclast”]Are you proposing that we do nothing?
Or are you proposing something darker? Should we start killing the most useless people now, so that we can conserve energy?
I started this thread with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek proposal that all the secularist scientist (and families I should add) go to Canada, set up shop away from the US anti-intellectual (and growing anti-science) millieu. There they should work on solutions that will allow a re-start of Homo whateverus after the rest of the species kills itself off. I don’t propose to kill anyone. I do think that if you want to minimize painful, suffering deaths you will want to sterilize huge portions of the population so as to reduce the intensity of the crash. I think that Guest/George had a not-unreasonable idea about genetic research to determine what, if anything, could be done to hasten the emergence of a more wise species (how about Homo eusapiens - man the truly wise?)
[quote author=“psiconoclast”]I think that it is pretty clear that I believe that the current economic system needs a complete tear down and rebuild. It is also clear that I believe that environmental problems are serious, and seriously underestimated. At this point, I believe that some amount of death and suffering (above and beyond the normal levels) will accompany the transition from where we are to where we need to be. I also believe that the only acceptable path forward is the one the increases this death and suffering by the lowest possible levels.
As far as my “optimism” with regards to my various “rays of hope” - well, I don’t know how optimistic I really am. But I do believe that we have to try. Your posts are rapidly degenerating into defeatism which is not particularly useful.
It is clear what you believe. I’m not sure why you believe as you do, except to suspect it is based on hope. You have offered examples of ideas, but not analyses of why these are good ideas (or pointers to some good scientific literature). So my question is why do you have such faith that things will work out - maybe a “soft landing” scenario?
If I were a defeatist, or felt defeated, I wouldn’t try to use my imagination to think outside the box and wonder about possible real solutions to what seems clear from my perspective to be the real problem. I will always entertain evidence that provides a different (and hopefully rosier) perspective. But it has to be good evidence and not just ideas that are floating around.
[quote author=“psiconoclast”]I know it seems bad, but there are things that can be done. This entire subject is actually the core reason why I am so angry about the dismantling of science in our school system. The next 100 years will see the greatest need for well trained scientific minds that the human race has ever known, and the stakes will literally be life and death for billions of people.
As a friend of mine likes to say: Fine fine fine. We’ve established that the sky is falling. What do we do about it?
Well I think my proposal provides an answer and would alleviate your fear about what is happening with science in the US.
I guess what I am trying to say is that we are faced with an unprecedented set of global-scale problems that are propelled by the population overload and the profligate consumptive behavior of a few to be followed by the same (desired) behavior of many more (the Chinese for example). We HAVE to be open to radical ideas to “solve” these problems in the sense that our objective is to preserve the genus Homo in spite of whatever rath nature we have begot. The sky WILL fall. I don’t think we can stop it. But we can pick up the pieces if there is an us surviving that fall.