June 12, 2007

Discarded reasons why civilization should end

1. global warming, being responsible for it
[A runaway warming is not happening, and not possible. The warming that there is probably has nothing to do with civilization, except urban heat islands. Industry probably hasn't even affected CO2 levels more than a few years cumulatively because of the adjustment of the natural system to absorb industrial output, several times more carbon being in plants than in the atmosphere and increased CO2 increasing plant growth, a powerful negative feedback. Even if it were happening, big deal, the Earth's climate has changed as much before.]

2. DDT and other pesticides and herbicides
[No, they don't kill everything and cause extinctions. There are some that as Rachel Carson wrote about cause local die-offs if overapplied, including poisoning of a few people who are exposed acutely, but that's why there are warning labels and regulations. A major pollution disaster where no one is held accountable is not an everyday thing. The residue in the environment is a small price to pay for control of malarial mosquitoes and other pests, not as bad as civilization's unintentional pollutants. Nature is full of natural insecticides produced by plants anyway. That's why they aren't all eaten by insects already.]

3. destruction of archaeological treasures in Iraq because of war that wouldn't be possible without civilization
[This makes no sense as a reason for civilization to end. If civilization ends, then not only will archaeology not be done and treasures not dug up, and thus effectively lost, but civilization will cease producing artifacts for future archaeologists to dig up, and civilization having been a bad mistake will mean that the treasures considered priceless because they come from the beginning of civilization should be thought worthless.]

4. civilization being too irresponsible to prepare for every contingency that might cause its own collapse
[That's at most a reason why civilization might collapse, not a reason to help it along. If you see a contingency that might require preparation, then you can warn people, and they might take heed. That's the main reason Y2K fizzled: Everyone was warned and overprepared. People are looking at the possibilities of an asteroid impact and of a solar flare causing electric storms and knocking out satellites, so maybe they'll be prepared in time. If they aren't, it doesn't mean civilization was never worth it.]