Stupid Concentrate

As in, “This is a Concentrated Solution of Stupid”. Ok, I’ll stop holding back now, and tell you how I really feel…

Slashdot is supposed to be the site for nerds. That is, those attracted to pursuits that are more mentally oriented, as opposed to purely physical, visit there. You know, geeks who can’t get a date. But I guess that isn’t the same as intelligent.

Sigh. Steven Hawkings the astrophysicist who holds the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge (once held by Sir Isaac Newton), author and reputed most intelligent man on the face of the planet has asked the question on Yahoo: ‘How can the human race survive the next 100 years?’.

The first answer you see at geek central is “I imagine you can do better than ‘It Can’t.'”, which is a nice bit of stupidity (on many levels) right there. But the dismal display goes on and on and on… I should not single out any one of the over 800 responses (so far) as exceptional, because they all deserve special recognition. Yet, this one, by the pseudonomous writer IAmTheDave, caught my eye, and I will quote it at length:

Brutal honesty in my opinions here, but one can only assume that of that 10-14b, anywhere from 5-7b will be Muslim, 8-9b will live in countries currently engaged in either international or civil war, hundreds of millions will die each year of famine or genocide, global consumption of natural resources will more than double the levels they are now, wars will be fought over clean water (on top of other natural resources) and the distribution of wealth will be equally unevenly distributed as it is now – if not more.

To boot, major population areas will sustain the majority of growth, leaving sparsley populated areas still sparsely populated. Realization of the down-side of peak oil will have long hit, we will have seen poverty strike hard due to a crash in the international economy, etc., etc.

It’s a grim outlook for sure. Certain populations aren’t sustaining because quality of life is increasing, and people are not doing their part having their 2.5 children to sustain growth. Poverty usually sees upticks in populations (as do post-war times).

But with an acknowledgement of global warming but no plan to combat it, no centralized focus on greener technologies including renewable energy, increasing poverty, stupidly fast industrialization of nations that sustain world-majority populations, and wars still being fought based on religion – where can anyone expect to be in 50 years?

I certainly hope for a better future than this. But I live in the wealthy, greedy, oil-hungry 300m-person United States. My country accounts for shitloads of wealth with less than 1/12 of the population of the earth. I’m sure I’ll be better off than anyone living in the middle east, China, India, etc.

On top of that, the following things will come to pass: realization and fighting over natural resources as we can only sustain growth in China and India for so long; a conflict and resolution concerning North Korea, and so on.

Oh, and the US may lose it’s position as the world market leader… but that seems inevitable at this point in time too.

If there is one correct statement in this entry, I cannot find it. Amazingly, even the conclusions based on the extrapolated numbers (read, guesses) are incorrect. Most amazingly, even good and bad are mixed up! And just how do I parse the sentence “Poverty usually sees upticks in populations (as do post-war times).”?

I ask you, dear reader, one question: If the population was to double overnight, how many people would die tomorrow? The answer is, unless something else changes, twice as many as died today. If not, the average lifetime of the population is different. So is that a good thing (twice as many people) or a bad thing (twice as many deaths) or is it neither?

The average lifespan of the human animal has increased dramatically in the past 150 years, and increased miraculously in the past 50. This is not due to increased births, except for the fact that only people who were born, like Jonas Salk, made such a thing happen. Our increased population is because people are living longer and far, far better than was thought possible in the time of Napolean. More people are in misery, too. Yes, and more die every day than ever lived in the time of Moses and Ramses, total.

“But…But… Finite Resources!” I hear the Malthusians scream. Yes, the is a finite amount of X in the world. But just how do you know that you’re near that amount, and why would you possibly think that everything else stays the same in the world when X gets more dear, and that people don’t adapt, but only die in the short term, and why oh why would you think that people born after X is gone would even miss the stuff???

The poorest person on earth earns exactly nothing every year. Zero. Nada. She happens to be my niece, who is also quite well taken care of, thank you very much (but hasn’t paid a dime in income taxes… yet). And the poorest person on the planet will always earn nothing, even as the average income rises. Rises, I tell you! How awful a thing. Let’s rile against the rising income disparity!

Oh, I could go on, but Malthus stop believing in Malthusian catastrophies long before his followers. There’s just no cure for stupid, I suppose.

Explore posts in the same categories: Global Warming, post-modernism

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