End of the road for Gaia?

Discussion in 'Science and the Universe' started by Thomas, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    True, true. There's still hope though.
    Technological revolutions historically have been unhealthy, such as the Industrial ones. I know a little because of a book by Thomas A. Misa. Technology used to be thought of as always positive, as if it were automatic that tech would continue speeding us to better & better lives. We even started referring to our civilizations as 'Advanced' as it it was simply a matter of time until everyone else caught up. Its silly to think that way, but it just seemed like it for a while.

    On the other hand technologies have eventually contributed to our well-being. Part of the pressure to have indentured servants has gone away because of common appliances like washing machines and chemical cleaners, cars that you don't have to feed and stable, and banks that will protect your money for you. I agree that technology is dangerous and new technology is often misused (like using computers for high-speed automatic trading), but technology is still awesome and useful.

    Better people through better clothing! Tougher skin and better looking than ever. It'll be 'Fabulous'!

    True, and it appears that we can't leave. We'd better not ruin it.
     
  2. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    The one historical anecdote that gives me some hope is what science was claiming in the 1980's. Those of you who were around will recall that a group of scientists warned of a coming global catastrophe sometime around or just after the year 2000 - there was not enough food being produced to meet the demands of projected population growth.

    Food shortages, riots and possibly wars were a serious concern. What no one could foresee was the technological innovations that allowed farmers to produce much more food on the same amount of land.

    Since then there, of course, have been drastic food shortages in certain isolated areas, mostly in the so called Third World. And food shortages even in the industrialized nations (but that is from a shameful lack of concern by the haves for the have nots more than anything else).

    What we have today is far more serious than the issue back then. Today we are looking at a double whammy of dwindling resources while at the same time, there is a huge spike in the percentage of the world population wanting access to those resources.

    Can technological innovation saves our butts again? I don't know but it is a race against time to find out!
     
  3. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    "Gaia" was a fun theory, while it lasted.
    Think about it . . .
    Particularly, in terms of the old metaphysics:

    Earth (all geologic and biologic processes, collectively) as "body."

    Then add-on the "mind" layer:
    --First, DNA passing on species-memory to each new generation.
    --Next, higher forms of memory-transmitters (like mice) learning from watching their parents and experientially passing these practices on to their offspring.
    --Primates using semantic language as a shorthand for actually experience, for increased and speeded memory retention and application.
    --Humans build bodies of knowledge, beyond personal and small-group memory: knowledge to draw upon, rapidly, to solve problems . . . by telling stories, later by creating books and libraries, later still by our near instantaneous libraries (collective human memory/knowledge) called Mass Communications and the Internet.
    (And this is merely one of the ways in which the Planet teaches itself to "think.")
    The Planet Earth as a single living entity?
    This is not a ridiculous idea. Actually, a pretty appealing idea.

    Science, however, has pretty much debunked what is referred to as the "Strong Gaia" (Earth as living entity) thesis.
    (The chief reason that the theory proved wrong is because it is predicated upon the old dualist Metaphysics, which itself is dead wrong.)

    But scientists have uncovered innumerable forms of planet-wide self-correcting feedback-systems, which do, in fact, keep the planet in a relative biological balance. And then there are factors like our weather-systems which are undeniably planet-wide. The larger ecosystem effects the smaller (more regional and local) ecosystems in direct and indirect ways. And vice-versa: changes in local ecosystems impacting the whole planetary ecosystem.
    This latter "Weak Gaia" thesis has largely been proven correct by science. Ecologically, everything does effect everything else. Not always immediately, but eventually and thoroughly ("Butterfly Effect").
    Ecosystems are causal systems, but ones not with "physical" linear causes. Ecosystems have, instead, a kind of "intelligent"/cooperative causality, a causality of a nonlinear nature. ("Weak Gaia.")

    And when long-time "stable" ecosystems begin to collapse, the effects can be rapid.
    That is the great fear amongst the Green community. What if the encompassing Planetary Ecosystem itself collapses? Then what?

    The End of the World?
    No.
    Certainly, a New Planetary Ecosystem will emerge. And eventually stabilize.

    The question, of course, is:
    Will it be friendly to humans?
    Will humans even still be around?

    Like mice and ferrets after the Yucatan asteroid -- which initiated the dinosaur-destroying Great Freeze -- humans are surprisingly resourceful creatures. So I suspect some of us will still be around. But in the great battle for resources, during the collapse, will "moral" values -- as we understand them -- disappear entirely, too?

    That's my fear!

    So I'm all for trying to fix the Old Planetary Ecosystem, as best we can.
    Or, at the very least, carefully managing the collapse when it comes . . . i.e. in doing so, keeping us true to our religious and humanistic values.

    If these collapse also . . .I'm personally not so sure I want to still "be around" to witness it.

     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    They are already, they're just being quietly side-lined.

    It's a valid one.
     

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