Summary list of ‘Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives’ (full version in sections further below)
Main points of the climate debate- evidence versus alarm (Conclusion: There is no “climate crisis”)
Meat creating mind? How? And evidence, please.
The single most profound statement ever made takes us to the height of being human (i.e. “Love your enemy”)
Changing meta-narrative themes
“Heat or cold? Which is worse? (the Northwest heatwave of June 2021)
Nature knows best? Then why does it become trapped in dead ends?
Also a reposting of “The true state of life on Earth” and “Patterns in alarmism movements” further below.
At the bottom of this section- Pushing past tribalism, re-affirming cooperation, and “Presentism” as the fallacy that contemporary events (e.g. extreme weather events) are the worst in history because we experience them firsthand.
A prominent complex of ideas/themes has been repeated all across human history and across all the cultures of the world. These ideas/themes are primitive mythical creations that do not express the true state of things but profoundly distort reality and life. Nonetheless, they continue to dominate human consciousness and narratives.
These themes have long dominated mythical/religious systems of belief. They are now also embraced in “secular” ideological belief systems and are even found in “scientific” versions. But at core they are the same old primitive ideas as ever before.
They are tackled on this site because they have long deformed human consciousness and life with unnecessary fear, anxiety, shame/guilt, despair, depression, and violence.
Old story themes, new story alternatives, Wendell Krossa
1. The myth of deity as a judging, punishing, and destroying reality. Contemporary “secular” versions of judging, punishing deity include “Vengeful Gaia… angry Planet/Mother Earth… retributive Universe… and karma”.
Alternative: The new theology of deity as a stunningly no conditions reality (no conditions love).
2. The myth of a perfect beginning (Eden) and a God obsessed with perfection, enraged at the loss of perfection, and demanding punishment of imperfection.
Alternative: The world was purposefully created as originally imperfect in order to serve as an arena for human struggle, learning, and development. Deity has no problem with imperfection.
3. Humanity began as a more perfect species (the myth of noble primitive hunter gatherers) but became corrupted/sinful (i.e. the myth of the “Fall of mankind”).
Alternative: Humanity emerged from the brutality of animal reality to gradually become more humane across history (a long-term trajectory of rise, not fall and decline).
4. The world began as an original paradise but after the “Fall” life overall has been declining, degenerating toward something worse.
Alternative: The long-term trajectory of life does not decline but overall rises/improves toward something ever better.
5. The myth that natural disasters, disease, human cruelty, and death are expressions of divine punishment.
Alternative: While there are natural consequences all through life, there is no punitive, destroying deity behind the imperfections of life.
6. The myth that humanity has been rejected by the Creator and we need to be reconciled via violent blood sacrifice.
Alternative: No one has ever been rejected by the unconditional Love at the core of reality. No one has ever been separated from God. Ultimate Love does not demand appeasement.
7. The myth of a cosmic dualism between Good and Evil (i.e. God and Satan) now expressed in human dualisms (good tribes of people versus bad tribes, or enemies).
Alternative: there is a fundamental Oneness at the core of all and we share that oneness. We all belong to the one human family.
8. The myth of looming apocalypse as the final judgment, punishment of wrong, and destruction of all things.
Alternative: There are problems all through the world but there is no looming threat of final destruction and ending. Apocalypse is a great fraud and lie.
9. The always “imminent” element in apocalyptic demands urgent action to save something, even coercive violence to effect “instantaneous transformation”. (Arthur Mendel, in Vision and Violence, details the difference between the approaches of “instantaneous transformation” and “gradualism”.)
Alternative: There is no “end of days” on the horizon, inciting urgency to “save the world”. Rather, life improves through gradual democratic processes as creative humanity cooperatively solves problems.
10. The demand for a salvation plan, a required sacrifice or atonement (debt payment, punishment).
Alternative: Unconditional deity does not demand sacrifice, atonement, payment, or punishment as required for appeasement. Deity loves unconditionally.
11. The belief that retribution or payback is true justice (i.e. eye for eye, hurt for hurt, humiliation for humiliation, punishment for punishment).
Alternative: Unconditional love keeps no record of wrongs, forgives freely and without limit. And yes, there are natural consequences to bad behavior in this world, but all justice should be restorative/rehabilitative in response to human failure.
12. The myth of after-life judgment, exclusion, punishment, and destruction (i.e. hell).
Alternative: Unconditional love does not threaten ultimate judgment, exclusion, punishment, or destruction.
13. The myth of a “hero” messiah that will use superior force to overthrow enemies, purge the world of wrong, and bring in a promised utopia.
Alternative: A God of authentic love does not intervene with overwhelming force that overrides human freedom and choice. It is up to maturing humanity to make the world a better place through gradualism processes that respect the freedom of others that differ.
14. The fallacy of biblicism, the myth that religious holy books are more special and authoritative than ordinary human literature, and the related fallacy that people are obligated to live according to the holy book as the will, law, or specially inspired word of God.
Alternative: We evaluate all human writing according to basic criteria of right and wrong, good and bad, humane or inhumane. Holy books are not exempted from this basic process of discernment.
15. The myth of God as King, Ruler, Lord, or Judge. This myth promotes the idea that God relates to humanity in domination/submission forms of relating. This is based on the primitive myth that humans were “created to serve the gods”.
Alternative: There is no domination/subservience relationship of humanity to God. True greatness is to relate horizontally to all as equals.
16. The idea that humanity is obligated to know, serve, or have a relationship with an invisible reality (deity), that we are to give primary loyalty to something outside of and above people.
Alternative: Our primary loyalty is to love and serve people around us. Their needs, here and now, take priority in life. Loyalty to realities above people (laws, institutions, or higher authorities) have always resulted in the neglect or abuse of people.
17. The myth of a silent or absent God during the horrors of life (i.e. Where was God during the Holocaust?). This myth of absent deity is based on the primitive belief that God was a sky deity (dwelling in heaven) that descended to intervene in life and change circumstances in order to save or protect people.
Alternative: There has never been a Sky God up above in some heaven. God has always been incarnated equally in all humanity and God has always been immediately present in all human suffering and is intimately present in all human raging and struggle against evil. God is inseparable from the human spirit in all of us and is expressed in all human action to prevent evil, to solve problems, and to improve life. We are the embodiments of God in this world, and nothing saves us except our choices and actions to help one another.
18. The fallacy of “limited good” and the belief that too many people are consuming too much of Earth’s resources.
Alternative: More people means more creative minds to solve problems. More consumption means more wealth to solve problems and enable us to make life better- i.e. improving the human condition and protecting the natural world. Evidence affirms that human improvement and environmental improvement has been the outcome of more people on Earth. See Population Bombed by Desrochers and Szurmak, Ultimate Resource by Julian Simon, Humanprogress.org, and related studies.
Add your own themes/ideas and alternatives.
Alarmism: The tendency to exaggerate some problem/threat to apocalyptic scale thereby terrorizing populations. Alarmist exaggeration distorts the true state of a problem. It does not help us to understand the real nature of a problem and how to rationally respond to it. Alarmism incites irrationality and the embrace of damaging salvation schemes like decarbonization.
Main points of the climate debate- evidence versus alarm, Wendell Krossa
The following points are taken mainly from the “alarmist claim rebuttal update” posted at Wattsupwiththat.com Jan.14, 2021 https://thsresearch.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/ef-cpp-alarmist-claim-rebuttal-overview-021118.pdf. Other data are from ‘Everythingclimate.org’ and other sites.
1. Alarmist claim: We have just experienced the hottest years on record.
Fact: For most of the past 10,000 years it has been hotter than today (i.e. Holocene Optimum, Roman Warm Period, Medieval Warm Period). The hottest periods over the last 150 years were in the 1920s and 1930s.
2. Alarmist claim: The rate of warming is becoming catastrophic.
Fact: The recent (1970s to 1990s) warming was mild and natural. There has been only 1 degree Centigrade of warming over the past century. There may or may not be another degree or two of warming. That will be beneficial in the abnormal cold of today’s world.
3. Alarmist claim: Global warming is causing more severe storms.
Fact: The long-term trend in severe storms has not been increasing.
4. Alarmist claim: Global warming is causing more and stronger tornadoes.
Fact: “Strong tornadoes have seen a drop in frequency since the 1950s.”
5. Alarmist claim: Global warming is increasing the magnitude and frequency of droughts and floods.
Fact: “Our use of fossil fuels to power our civilization is not causing droughts or floods. NOAA found there is no evidence that floods and droughts are increasing because of climate change.”
6. Alarmist claim: Droughts are getting worse.
Fact: Droughts are not getting worse. The worst droughts have occurred over the distant past.
7. Alarmist claim: Global Warming has increased U.S. wildfires.
Fact: “These data show that the trend in the number of fires is actually down while the trend in the acreage burned has increased.” Globally wildfires have declined.
8. Alarmist claim: Global warming is causing snow to disappear.
Fact: The opposite is occurring with unprecedented snowfalls.
9. Alarmist claim: There is a 97% consensus that carbon dioxide from human activity is driving runaway climate changes.
Fact: “The 97% consensus claim is shown here to be simply a convenient fiction to bypass the scientific method and any inconvenient facts that arise to drive policies.” Note also that almost 32,000 scientists signed the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine ‘Protest Petition’ stating “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
10. Alarmist claim: Carbon pollution is a health hazard.
Fact: “The term “carbon pollution” is a deliberate, ambiguous, disingenuous term, designed to mislead people into thinking carbon dioxide is pollution.” CO2 is the basic food of life and has been at dangerously low levels over the past millions of years. See Patrick Moore’s new book ‘Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom’.
11. Alarmist claim: Global warming is resulting in rising sea levels.
Fact: “All data from tide gauges in areas where land is not rising or sinking show instead a steady linear and unchanging sea level rate of rise around 4 inches/century (1.5- 3.6 mm per year), with variations due to gravitational factors.”
12. Alarmist claim: Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland ice loss is accelerating due to global warming.
Fact: “Satellite and surface temperature records and sea surface temperatures show that both the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are cooling, not warming and glacial ice is increasing, not melting.” Arctic ice extent has been measured from the end of the 1940-79 cold period which gave a misleadingly large baseline from which to evaluate Arctic sea ice extent. The extent of Arctic ice was previously smaller during earlier warm periods.
13. Alarmist claim: Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are causing ocean acidification, which is catastrophically harming marine life.
Fact: The ocean acidification alarm is false.
14. Alarmist claim: Coral reefs are dying.
Fact: Coral reefs are thriving. More detail in Moore’s Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom.
15. Alarmist claim: CO2-induced climate change is threatening global food production and harming natural ecosystems.
Fact: “Far from being in danger, the vitality of global vegetation in both managed and unmanaged ecosystems is better off now than it was a hundred years ago, 50 years ago, or even a mere two-to-three decades ago.” Earth is greener today (a worldwide 15% increase in green vegetation since 1980) because of more basic plant food- i.e. CO2- in the atmosphere. Over recent years we have broken crop production records and now produce enough food to feed 10 billion people (25% more than humanity needs).
16. Alarmist claim: Humanity faces increasing threat from extreme weather.
Fact: Long-term data indicate that global death rates from all extreme weather events have declined by 95% since the 1920s.
17. Alarmist claim: The warming influence of CO2 on climate increases exponentially with rising levels of CO2.
Fact: The warming influence of CO2 decreases dramatically- i.e. logarithmically- with rising levels of CO2. Conclusion? There is no “climate crisis”- no reason to fear or to halt rising CO2 in the atmosphere.
The true state of life affirms hope
Life in our world is doing much better than apocalyptic scientists, politicians, and media are telling us. Check the evidence for yourself. Carefully note the complete big picture on any major feature of life. Note also the longest-term trends associated with that feature. Here are some of the best sources to assist the project to understand “the true state of life”:
Julian Simon’s “Ultimate Resource”, Greg Easterbrook’s “A Moment On The Earth”, Bjorn Lomborg’s “Skeptical Environmentalist”, Indur Goklany’s “The Improving State of the World”, Ronald Bailey’s “The End of Doom”, Matt Ridley’s “Rational Optimist”, Hans Rosling’s “Factfulness”, Desrocher and Szurmak’s “Population Bombed”, Bailey and Tupy’s “Ten Global Trends”, among many others (e.g. Humanprogress.org).
Again, my definition of “alarmism”: The exaggeration of problems in life out to exaggerated apocalyptic scale. That exaggeration distorts the true state of any issue/problem. And that irresponsible exaggeration incites the survival impulse in populations with all the nasty outcomes of such panic-mongering, including the validation of the totalitarian impulse and violence.
The same old themes, Wendell Krossa
I’ve made this point before- how apocalyptic and related primitive mythology was transformed into ideology in 19th Century Declinism (see Arthur Herman’s excellent The Idea of Decline in Western History, also apocalyptic millennial scholars Richard Landes’ Heaven on Earth, Arthur Mendel’s Vision and Violence, and David Redles’ Hitler’s Millennial Reich).
Here’s my point again- For most people and for most of human history, people have thought about life mythically or religiously. How so? They believed that spirits/deities were behind most elements of life (i.e. natural elements and disasters, disease, animal and human predation) and that spirits/deities were behind most events of life.
Over roughly the past four centuries humanity has experienced the more rational orientation of the Enlightenment and the modern scientific movement. This has brought a new way of thinking to many people, a more empirical/observational and rational way of viewing life. And that appeared to undermine the former mythical/religious way of viewing life.
But mythical/religious thinking still remains prominent in human consciousness and outlook. Even in the more rational/secular of the human population. How so? Secular or materialist types still embrace the same old themes of past mythical outlook but in the new “secular” or “ideological” versions of those themes. However, its still the same old primitive themes. See the lists of themes/ideas just below.
My question: How much has really changed at the core of human thought or outlook/perception, even for those considering themselves more rational, secular types, or even modern scientific types?
I think Joseph Campbell’s evaluation was right in stating that the same mythical themes are repeated across all human history and across all the cultures of the world.
Check the lists in this and other sections below and evaluate the themes of your own worldview or narrative.
Narratives and their impacts, Wendell Krossa
The battering of public consciousness with apocalyptic-like narratives is relentless. And the outcomes are increasingly harmful. Alarmist narratives now dominate public consciousness. We hear endlessly from alarmist scientists, politicians, celebrities, and news media that we are in a “climate crisis”.
A recent example that typifies these relentless “climate catastrophe” claims: “European Commission climate chief Frans Timmermans said the “existential threat which is the climate crisis” called for radical steps” (July 14, 2021 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-14/eu-targets-end-of-fossil-fuels-with-landmark-climate-proposals).
Apocalyptic prophets of the climate alarm movement justify their “crisis” narrative by setting dates for the ‘end-of-days’ (i.e. 2030 is the latest).
Alarmist’ narratives focus people’s minds on looming disaster and death, looming apocalypse. That focus on inevitable ultimate catastrophe evokes fear, despair, and fatalism. Majorities now believe that the world is getting worse (e.g. YouGov survey in Ten Global Trends by Bailey and Tupy). Consequently, young parents are afraid to birth children into a world that they believe will soon end. Children suffer “eco-anxiety” and fear they will die before reaching adulthood.
Bad ideas like apocalyptic have a profound impact on how we think, feel, and behave. Populations, frightened by alarmist narratives and suffering from the aroused survival impulse, divide into tribal factions that view differing others as enemies that threaten them with catastrophe. The great example in the past century: Germans viewed Jews as threatening enemies under the barrage of threat from Hitler’s apocalyptic narrative (see apocalyptic millennial scholars Richard Landes, David Redles and others).
Today’s alarmist narratives are based on extreme weather anomalies (i.e. heat waves, storms) none of which are outside of the normal long-term history of such events. The claim of “Worst on record” is a misinformation statement that looks only at the past 150 years record, or even shorter time spans such as the last few decades. Today’s “worst” looks quite mild when compared to longer-term records.
Much of the hysteria in alarmist narratives is over aberrations in long-term trends (i.e. short-term reversals or other anomalies in a trend) and that distorts the longer-term trend.
Add to environmental apocalyptic the Hollywood obsession with apocalyptic story-telling. But should we expect anything different when world religions have beaten apocalyptic nonsense into human consciousness for past millennia? Apocalyptic has become hardwired in human subconscious, hence today’s panic-mongering resonates with many people as intuitively ‘true’.
The true story of life is entirely contrary to the alarmist narrative of despair. See the numerous sources listed below. For detailed evidence/sources see Simon, Easterbrook, Lomborg, Bailey and Tupy, Goklany, Rosling, Ridley, and others listed below.
The real story of life shows that our creative effort to improve life for all is succeeding on all fronts. Far fewer people die today from natural disasters, disease, and violence. Infant mortality has experienced a stunning decline over the past century and the human life-expectancy has more than doubled in the past century and continues to lengthen. The human condition has improved immensely in all ways and we are protecting nature as never before. Life has never been better for most people. Remaining poverty continues to decline rapidly.
The true state of life reveals that we have done well solving problems and making life better for all. This evidence-based narrative of ongoing improvement inspires hope, love, cooperation, and generosity.
Yes, climate is changing. But no, its not a “crisis”, Wendell Krossa
Note again European Commission climate chief Frans Timmerman’s statement on the “existential threat which is the climate crisis”, and his call for radical steps to stop climate change.
Enough already with this relentless myth-based “panic porn”.
There is no “climate crisis”. Yes, climate is changing. For God’s sake it always has and always will. It’s a complex, dynamic system. Climate is never in a state of stasis. But the change that we have experienced is mild compared to most of past history. Look at just our interglacial (the changes between warming and cooling periods), or the last 50,000 years as Ian Plimer has graphed in his book ‘Heaven and Earth’. There has been much more severe climate change over past history.
The mild 1.5 degree C of warming that we have experienced over the past few centuries, as we continue to recover from the bitter cold of the Little Ice Age, has been a benefit and is not a crisis. There is nothing “existential” about our mild warming. This increased warmth has expanded the habitat for many forms of life.
And the small rise in CO2 that we have experienced during a “CO2 starvation era” is another benefit. We need more of the basic food of all plant life. Starving plant life is responding with a massive increase in biomass (a 15% increase in green vegetation across the Earth over just the past 50 years). That increase in green vegetation feeds animals. Humanity is also benefitting with increased crop production from the “aerial fertilization” effect of atmospheric CO2. See ‘CO2science.org’ for detailed studies.
These changes in climate are not a crisis but are a significant benefit to humanity and all life. There is no threat of catastrophic devastation to life with more warmth and more CO2. Life flourished in the past when CO2 was in the thousands of ppm, not just the hundreds of ppm today. And life flourished when average temperatures were up to 10 degrees C warmer than today’s averages. There was no catastrophic outcome. That extra warmth was distributed to colder areas (i.e. the polar regions where we have discovered evidence of tropical trees and tropical animal life). A much warmer planet means expanded habitats for all life.
It is hysterical irrationality to fear more warmth when 20 times more people die every year from cold (see Lancet research). But alarmist scientists, politicians, and media focus obsessively on outlier weather events (e.g. recent heat waves) to push the narrative of apocalyptic climate change. What drives this irrationality- i.e. the hysterical claims that we are all gonna die, and the world will soon end? This is not science. It is some form of obsessive lunacy.
Climate ideological roots, Wendell Krossa
Climate alarmism, part of the larger environmental alarmism movement, exhibits the basic themes of 19th Century Declinism ideology, itself the offspring of religious apocalyptic.
Note in climate alarmism the persistent themes of (1) the past was better, (2) corrupt humans have ruined the original paradise, (3) now life is declining toward collapse and ending (apocalypse). (4) Offer a salvation scheme. Make a sacrifice to Gaia/Mother Earth- forsake the good life for primitivism. And it must be (5) an instantaneous transformation because the apocalypse is always imminent, so transformation must be immediate. Hence the need for coercive force/totalitarian solutions (state-forced decarbonization). And then we can save the world and (6) re-install the lost paradise.
This is Declinism ideology which derives from primitive apocalyptic mythology. See Arthur Herman’s “The Idea of Decline in Western History”.
Intro notes to ideas/myths/themes, Wendell Krossa
You will never rid humanity of the primary impulse for meaning/purpose. And you will never prevent people from orienting that impulse to ultimate realities that for most of human history have been viewed as “spiritual” realities. I consider spiritual to be a sort of “dead word” that instinctively orients thought toward religious features. Ultimate Consciousness/Mind/Self are preferable alternatives to spiritual.
Our primal impulse for spiritual meaning is affirmed in the fact that 85% of the human race are still affiliated with a major world religion. Most of the remaining 15% are still some version of “spiritual but not religious” (that is- “unaffiliated”).
People will continue to speculate on invisible realities. Both materialists and religious people do so. The problem is that over past history there has been too much projection of subhuman or inhumane features out to explain ultimate realities. Hence, the too often cruel and inhumane features of the gods of religious traditions. Why not offer people better, more humane, alternatives because they are going to continue speculating and projecting anyway?
Another: I listen to all sides in the ultimate meaning debates between materialists and religious people. I see both sides making leaps of assumption and speculating on invisible realities. I see the materialists repeatedly crossing the science/philosophy boundary to speculate on unproven things like multi-verses (see Sabine Hossenfelder’s Lost in Math, or Jim Baggott’s Farewell to Reality). I also see religious people crossing the science/religion boundary. Both sides tend toward dogmatism in their conclusions about things that we cannot prove either way. But how can we be dogmatic when we exist in such profound mystery? We don’t even know what reality is, what matter is made of (i.e. Baggott in “Mass: The quest to understand matter from Greek atoms to quantum fields”).
Explaining lists of “Old story themes, new story alternatives”
Why focus on lists of basic themes/myths/ideas? Because myths/themes/ideas make up our worldviews, our personal narratives and these then shape how we view life, how we evaluate all sorts of social issues, how we feel about things happening, how we then respond and consequently act, and the policies that we will support. Millions and billions of people living according to what they think or believe then contribute to shaping our overall societies and civilization.
It is a truism that how we think influences who we are and how we behave. Ideas, themes matter. Which is to say our worldviews, our stories, matter. For example, theologians (notably Mennonite) have noted that religious views of a punitive God influenced societies to adopt punitive justice systems, as in the US. They argued that a God that sanctions violence against people will influence followers to adopt the same approach to others.
Psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo affirmed the same in noting that “cruel God theories” deformed human personality with fear, guilt/shame, despair, and even violence. Bad ideas, notably bad ideas of deity, have long produced bad outcomes in people’s lives.
But we can bring about fundamental change to our very psyche, our person, by changing the ideas/themes that make up our worldviews. And this change penetrates even to the subconscious. Consciously held ideas are how we rewire the subconscious that influences most of what we do.
Example: Julian Simon (“A Life Against the Grain”) was a severely depressed man. He had embraced the doom orientation of environmental alarmism narratives. But he made the choice to check the facts for himself and found that the environmental doomsayers were wrong. Life was not going to hell in a hand-basket but overall things were improving on all the main resources and features of the world.
His research re-oriented his views from despair to hope. His studies transformed his worldview entirely and he said that his depression left and never returned. He was a profoundly changed man because his ideas and worldview were changed by factual evidence. Read his book “Ultimate Resource” and see the result. That book, and the many similar studies that followed it, will transform your worldview also.
This site repeatedly posts lists of the most basic themes/ideas that have shaped human consciousness across history. This is my approach to tackling the ultimate root of problems/issues in order to problem solve at the most basic level, and for the long-term future.
My “old story/new story” lists offer summaries of some of the most important ideas. These are full complexes of ideas, complexes that form people’s worldviews or personal narratives.
The full version of “Old story themes, new story alternatives” is in sections below. Many of these themes deal with “spiritual” realities simply because that has been the dominant orientation of human thought across history. Again, I would substitute “Ultimate Consciousness, Mind, Self” for spiritual, as spiritual connotes religious reality in most people’s minds.
Meat creating mind?
Like many of you I have looked closely at the brain/mind debates, consciousness research, and related neuroscience issues. And I have never seen a shred of evidence that the meat in our heads produces the wonder of consciousness or the human self. A lot of assumptions being made without evidence, a lot of leaps to unsupported conclusions, but nothing explaining just how meat could produce mind. And to the contrary, significant percentages of human beings having experiences of being separated from their material brains/bodies and having coherent experiences in another non-material realm.
John Eccles “dualistic interactionism” seems a more rational and coherent explanation of the mind/brain relationship. The mind or human self uses the material brain as a mediating mechanism- brain mediating consciousness. Eccles’ books: Evolution of the Brain, The Human Mystery, The Wonder of Being Human: Our Brain and Our Mind, The Self and Its Brain (with Karl Popper).
Conclusions: The conscious human self can exist aside from a material body and material realm. Conscious human selves do not die with the death of material brains/bodies. We are something more than our bodies, beings that come here for an experience of life, to live out a story, to learn something and to contribute something to making life better. I would suggest that love goes a long way to explaining our purpose here. Love is the answer to the human impulse (and quest) for ultimate meaning.
See also Terry Bisson’s humorous poke at materialist mythmaking with his “They’re made of meat”, at https://www.mit.edu/people/dpolicar/writing/prose/text/thinkingMeat.html
Here are some examples of minds separating from meat from a recent posting at https://www.menshealth.com/health/g28201029/celebrity-near-death-experiences/
“Stone had a brain hemorrhage in 2001 that nearly ended her life. “I started to see and be met by some of my friends… people who were very, very dear to me [who had died],” she told Closer Weekly (via Daily Mail). “I had a real journey with this that took me to places both here and beyond.” She says she isn’t scared of death after the experience: “I get not to be afraid of dying and I get to tell other people that it’s a fabulous thing and death is a gift.”
“During back surgery in 1962, Taylor stopped breathing for five minutes. On The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1992, she revealed that she saw her soul departing from her body as the doctors tried to revive her. She then went into a tunnel and saw her third husband, Mike Todd, who died in an airplane crash in 1958. Todd told her to return to earth: “You have to fight to go back. You have so much more to do. And you have to fight,” Taylor recalled.
“When Seymour was 36, she came down with bronchitis and needed antibiotics—but the antibiotic was injected into a vein and not her muscle, which caused her to go into anaphylactic shock. “I died and was resuscitated,” Seymour told the Omaha World-Herald. “And I had the vision of seeing a white light and looking down and seeing myself in this bedroom with a nurse frantically trying to save my life and jabbing injections in me, and I ‘m calmly watching this whole thing.”
“When traveling to Italy for Kelly’s Heroes, Sutherland got pneumonia so bad it was almost fatal. He shared in Smithsonian Journeys magazine, “Standing behind my right shoulder, I’d watched my comatose body slide peacefully down a blue tunnel. That same blue tunnel the near-dead always talk about. Such a tempting journey. So serene. No barking Cerberus to wake me. Everything was going to be all right.”
“The Mötley Crüe bassist and songwriter overdosed on heroine in 1987 and had an out of body experience. He wrote in The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band, “I tried to sit up to figure out what was going on. I thought it would be hard to lift my body. But to my surprise, I shot upright, as if I weighed nothing. Then it felt as if something very gentle was grabbing my head and pulling me upward. Above me, everything was bright white. I looked down and realized I had left my body. Nikki Sixx— or the filthy, tattooed container that had once held him— was lying covered face-to-toe with a sheet on a gurney being pushed by medics into an ambulance.”
Intro note to “Changing Meta-narratives”
Varied commentators responded to the eruption of ISIS violence in past decades with the argument that you cannot win the long-term battle against such extremism until you confront and debunk the ideas that drive such eruptions. You can defeat a particular outbreak of such extremism, like ISIS, but similar extremism will only re-emerge again and again in new outbreaks. You have to go to the root of the problem and confront the bad ideas in the meta-narratives that keep inciting such extremism, just as they have across past history.
Remember also Joseph Campbell’s comment that the same mythical themes have repeated all across history and across all the cultures of the world. We are often dealing with the same old, same old.
Further note: The mythical themes below all relate to one another in a full complex of ideas.
Example: Original paradise myths set a baseline for comparison with our imperfect world of today. Past golden age mythology demands an answer to the obvious follow-up question- what went wrong? Why have we lost the past perfection? Who is responsible for ruining paradise? Our ancestors came up with the original “blame corrupt humanity” myth, adding that “fallen” humanity then deserves punishment for making a mess of things.
The original perfection/paradise myth is the keystone for the complex of bad religious ideas that culminate with the myth of apocalypse. Apocalypse is the threat of God finally punishing and destroying humanity for ruining the original Eden paradise. But yes, also offer humanity a way of salvation, a way of making things right again- some sacrifice or payment and a chance to restore lost paradise. This escape clause of salvationism (joined to promises of utopia) has left humanity feeling indebted and grateful ever since, grateful for relief from the millennia of guilt that we have suffered for something that we never did in the first place.
Here is a partial list of some of the worst ideas that we have inherited:
1. The past was better (original paradise, Eden).
Contemporary secular version: The past wilderness Earth was a paradise world.
2. Humanity, once pure and guiltless, has become essentially corrupt and destructive and has ruined the original paradise world.
Secular version: The “Noble Primitive” of the ancient hunter gatherer past has now “fallen” in corrupt and destructive civilization. Humanity is viewed as the great threat to life.
3. Life is now declining toward something worse (“Each moment is a degradation from previous moments”- Mircea Eliade).
Secular version: The ideology of Declinism- that life is declining toward something worse, toward catastrophic collapse and ending.
4. Deity (creating Force behind life) is angry with human imperfection and threatens to punish humanity.
Secular version: Vengeful Gaia, angry Planet or Mother Earth, retributive Universe, and payback karma are all bent on punishing the “human destroyers” of the planet.
5. Deity punishes humanity via the natural world- i.e. through disaster, disease, or animal and human predation.
Secular version: “Secular” deities also punish humanity via the natural world.
6. Deity demands some payment/sacrifice/atonement- something that we give up and suffer as our payment/punishment.
Secular version: Mother Earth demands that we give up the good life in industrial civilization and embrace the simple, low-consumption lifestyle. Our sin is too many of us enjoying too much consumption in industrial, technological society.
Just an aside: Here is an explanation of what that will mean https://reason.com/2021/07/02/to-stop-climate-change-americans-must-cut-energy-use-by-90-percent-live-in-640-square-feet-and-fly-only-once-every-3-years-says-study/?mc_cid=f67e3352c9&mc_eid=bbd9cad85f
7. Deity demands the purging of the evil threat to life, the enemy. This theme is illustrated in the Sumerian Flood myth and the Biblical Flood myth. In both versions people are the evil that must be purged from the world.
Secular version: The great purported evil today is too many people enjoying too much of the good life and using too much fossil fuel (CO2 as the main marker of “evil consumption” today, the evil that is industrial society). Hence, the arguments for eugenics or population reduction schemes and a return to primitive lifestyles.
8. The purging of evil must involve the “instantaneous transformation” of society as the apocalypse is always “imminent”. Hence, coercion and even violence is necessary. There is no time for the “gradualism” of democratic processes. Such reasoning validates the unleashing of a totalitarian approach, in order to “save the world”.
Secular version: The push for immediate decarbonization of human societies.
9. Once the evil is purged then the lost paradise can be restored, or utopia installed. Salvation will be accomplished.
The above themes form a related complex of ideas. They constitute the main ideas of the old mythical/religious narrative that has dominated human consciousness across the millennia. These themes still dominate our world religions and now also shape much contemporary ideology (e.g. environmentalism).
Our modern science has presented us with an entirely new narrative. We know today that there was no original paradise that has been lost. Life emerged in the brutal environment of early Earth and from that much worse past, life has gradually progressed toward something ever better. The long-term trajectory of life has been rising, not declining. Even Darwin noted that life evolves toward something more “perfect”.
Science has also overturned the anti-human mythology that devalues and despises modern humanity as a fallen and declining species. We were never “noble primitives” that became corrupted in human civilization. To the contrary, since our emergence we have been on a long-term trajectory of improvement. There was no fall and subsequent corruption of humanity. Instead, we see the wonder of emerging and developing human goodness and creativity across the millennia of our existence. Most notably, we see love emerging and developing as our highest ideal, taking us to human maturity. As Julian Simon says, we have become ever more creators than destroyers.
And the improvement of humanity and life means there is no need for a great purge of life (instantaneous transformation). Rather, we do best by continuing the gradualism of true democracy which has been potent in enabling us to keep progressing toward a better future. Free people creatively solving problems, learning to cooperate peacefully, and making life ever better. (See Arthur Mendel’s excellent treatment of “gradualism versus instantaneous transmutation” in his book “Vision and Violence”)
Most critical to a new narrative of life- There is no threat of punishment coming to us through the natural world. There is no apocalypse looming just up ahead, no need for sacrifice to appease angry Forces/deities.
For more detail on the full complex of bad ideas, see also “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” in sections below.
End Note: See sources like “Humanprogress.org” for detail on the benefits of industrial civilization. Note industrial society trends like “de-materialization” that are the natural result of the ongoing development of technology and consumption. As industrial civilization develops, people use less energy and less material per capita as technology becomes more efficient, more economical. This progress is the result of more human minds solving problems, along with more wealth creation to enable such progress.
Such outcomes would not be possible if we followed the approach of alarmists that urge a return to small population and primitive lifestyles. See also Julian Simon’s ‘Ultimate Resource’ and ‘Population Bombed’ by Desrochers and Szurmak. They offer detail on how more people and more wealth creation lead to a better future, including better protection of nature.
The single most profound statement ever made, Wendell Krossa
(Intro note: The comment below does not limit the term “enemies” to the meaning of, for example, the enmity between the US and Soviets during the Cold War. Someone complained that most of us do not experience enemies today in the same sense that the term below was used in first century Palestine where the Jews were under cruel Roman domination. This person’s point- “love your enemy” meant something quite different back then. It doesn’t really apply to us today, he argued. I would disagree.
I am using the term “enemy” below to refer to all sorts of offenses, big and small, and applying it to all sorts of relationships- e.g. maybe just a difficult workmate or schoolmate, or neighbor, or spouse. Spouse as enemy? Huh? Well, a friend noted how retaliation (enmity) works between spouses. One spouse feels that the other is not showing enough affection so that neglected spouse retaliates in kind with a sort of passive aggressive response- by cutting back on affection in response. Cold shoulder stuff. Cooling off. Chilling. Silence. Its “eye for eye” retaliation all the same. Its an example of enmity or enemy at a smaller scale, and the operating dynamic is the same.
Get my point- “Don’t retaliate but, instead, Love your enemy” applies in all sorts of diverse situations. It still applies to us today in our often petty little tit-for-tats and squabbles.)
“Love conquers fear and hate. Hope defeats despair and nihilist destruction. Forgiveness and kindness overcome retaliatory vengeance. And life becomes better for all of us.”
On to the main point
I am endlessly fascinated by the most profound statement ever uttered- that we should “not retaliate against offenders but, instead, love our enemies”. This statement evokes endless excuses from people as to why it is not possible or practical to actually love enemies/opponents/offenders. It appears that the dismissers want an escape from the responsibility to love hard-to-love people. They also want to justify a punitive response as proper and deserved “justice” for offenders.
When offended or hurt by an enemy, the natural response is to just give in to the animal impulse to retaliate. But rather than defensively make excuses, why not try to wrestle with this maxim. It won’t hurt to give it a try. And it opens up a range of new experiences of being fully human.
The love your enemy statement ranks as “most profound” because it tells us how we attain mature, heroic stature as human beings. It takes us to the height of what love really means. Family or tribal love is natural and comes relatively easy. To love outside familiar tribal boundaries, and especially after suffering some offense from an opponent or enemy, well, that’s a much harder thing to embrace. That’s love at a whole new level. That is experiencing being human in an entirely new way.
On the positive outcome side, “love your enemy” shows us the single most potent way to achieve peace in life. But it takes a special courage to resist the lust to get even and break a retaliatory cycle, as Mandela did in South Africa. His “love of enemies” approach spared that country from civil war. Millions of young South Africans wanted their revenge against the apartheid regime and Mandela had to argue them out of that response. Mandela explained his approach in noting that forgiveness and love of enemy brought out the best in others and turned enemies into friends. Not all, but most.
Retaliation renders us all petty, infantile, and subhuman. We should all want to “tower in stature” like Nelson Mandela. Add here Joseph Campbell’s statement that we mature as humans when we orient our lives to universal love, treating all with the same inclusive respect. We are all something much better than children in sand boxes throwing sand back and forth at one another.
Different traditions offer varied versions of loving enemies going back to the Akkadian Father’s Advice (circa 2000 BCE) to his son: “Do not return evil to your adversary; requite with kindness the one who does evil to you, maintain justice for your enemy, be friendly to your enemy.”
Here is my version of the larger context of the Christian version of this “love your enemy” statement: “Don’t engage eye for eye retaliation but instead love your enemy/offender because God does. How so? Nature affirms it. God gives the good gifts of life- sun and rain- to both good and bad people”. Matthew 5 and Luke 6 offer similar statements on this non-retaliatory, love your enemy theme.
My point- this is the single most profound insight into ethics and theology ever spoken. It tells us what love really means. And take note that it assumes the free forgiveness of all, and the inclusion of all others as family. It urges a profound transformation in how we view all people- i.e. that we view everyone, including enemies, as intimate family. That was Albert Nolan’s point in ‘Jesus Before Christianity’. No one, not even the worst human failures, are to be excluded from the human family.
Most importantly, “Don’t retaliate but love your enemy” gives us the “stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory deity”. It tells us what God is really like. It states that God is non-retaliatory, no conditions love. God forgives everything, includes all equally, and loves all the same, whether good or bad. All are equally the loved children of God. With God there is no ultimate exclusion, no ultimate punishment or destruction. And that means no apocalypse and certainly no hell.
None of the world religions have ever communicated this unconditional nature of deity to humanity. All religions are fundamentally about conditions to appease and please highly conditional and retaliatory deities. Conditions of correct beliefs, required rituals and demanded sacrifices/payments, and proper religious lifestyle to be included among the true believers. Conditions, conditions, and more religious conditions to be accepted in the exclusionary families of tribal religious deities.
With their retaliatory deities, religious traditions then promote punitive, retaliatory justice for the bad guys. Affirmed with scenarios of ultimate retaliation, ultimate exclusion, and ultimate punishment/destruction (i.e. apocalypse and hell). (Examples in the Christian tradition: See Romans 12:17-20, Thessalonian letters, Revelation, among other biblical material)
But now a qualifier: Love of enemy does not mean feeling fuzzy, mushy, or warm toward serious offenders and the horrific offenses they commit. Rage is the often the only proper response to “man’s inhumanity to man”.
But love of enemy does mean embracing the intention to do the humane thing in our treatment of offenders and to not retaliate with hurt for hurt, humiliation for humiliation, hate for hate, and the other subhuman features of retaliatory cycles.
Love of enemy does mean treating offenders/enemies humanely with restorative justice approaches. And yes, that involves restraining violent people who cannot or will not restrain their own worst impulses.
For offenders- Part of healthy human development is to learn that there are natural and social consequences to all behaviors in this world. In other words, lets all grow the fuck up, eh.
But while restraining serious offenders, Tolstoy reminds us that “there is no circumstance in which humans are not to be loved”.
Added note: Unconditional love is the nature of God as “ultimate reality”. That divine love is the ultimate end for all humanity (meaning all are safe in the end). But in this world, natural and social consequences still apply. However, our treatment of human failure here should be shaped by the awareness of the nature of ultimate reality as unconditional love- hence the argument for restorative justice in this world as opposed to punitive forms of justice.
Here is a response to the obsessive mantra that we must “fight climate change” and prevent a further 1.5 degrees C of warming which would becoming “catastrophic”. That apocalyptic narrative distorts entirely the “true state of life”.
Climate updates, Wendell Krossa (Refuting apocalyptic climate narratives)
Climate change is real but there is no settled evidence that it will be “catastrophic”. To the contrary, a few more degrees of warming in our abnormally cold world will be net beneficial for plant, animal, and human life.
“Our abnormally cold world”? Yes, for over 90% of the past 500 million years Earth has been entirely ice free. We are currently in an “ice-age era” with abnormally, even dangerously low levels of CO2 and abnormally low temperatures. Over the longer past (paleo-climate history) average temperatures were up to 10 degrees C warmer than today and life flourished during such times. Overturn the climate alarmist narrative entirely. Evidence affirms that a much warmer world with much higher levels of CO2 is a more normal, optimum, and healthy world for all life.
It has also been much warmer during the past warm periods of our Holocene interglacial (i.e. Holocene Optimum, Minoan, Roman, Medieval warm periods). Human civilizations and life overall thrived during those warmer times. Over the last 5000 years of our interglacial we have been in the “Neo-glacial period” where each warming period is cooler than previous ones. That means we are on a long-term cooling trend and should value any further warming that we might get. Past interglacials were also warmer than our Holocene.
More heat will warm mostly the colder areas (polar regions), colder seasons (winter), and colder times of day (night). We have evidence of tropical tree stumps found in the Arctic, and similar plants in Antarctica. Tropical animals also roamed in those extended habitats. Those now frozen areas were once the habitat of much more diverse forms of life just as more plant and animal species inhabit the warmer areas of Earth today.
Increased heat coming into Earth’s surface (i.e. if reflective cloud cover decreases- see Henrik Svensmark’s “Chilling Stars”), that heat is distributed to the colder areas of our planet via ocean and atmospheric convection currents. Already warm areas do not necessarily become warmer.
We do not know that we can “limit climate change to 1.5 degrees C” when we still don’t know how much humans have contributed to the rising CO2 levels of the past century. There are massive exchanges of CO2 between land biomass and atmosphere (photosynthesis, plant decay), and between oceans and atmosphere, along with undersea volcanic emissions, that all overwhelm the human contribution to CO2 cycles and levels. (Note: The natural exchanges between land biomass/atmosphere and ocean/atmosphere are not in perfect balance or equilibrium. The imbalances or natural variations in these exchanges are larger than human emissions.)
Also, climate physicists (e.g. Richard Lindzen, William Happer) tell us that CO2 has reached “saturation” in regard to its warming influence. Further, other natural factors continue to overwhelm the CO2 warming influence (notably ocean multi-decadal oscillations or current shifts, solar cycles, the cosmic ray/cloud interaction, etc.). Hence, trying to turn a CO2 knob and control climate is an irrational and futile project.
And what about the amazing fact that more CO2 (more basic plant food) has greened our planet with a massive 15% increase in plant biomass over just the past half century. That is the addition of green vegetation in our world comparable to adding an area of green vegetation twice the size of the continental US. That has meant more food for animals and more crop production for humans. We now produce 25% more food than we need to feed all humanity. Enough to feed 10 billion people. We need more CO2, not less.
Climate change has been a net benefit to all life. There will be further benefit to life from more warmth and more plant food. The obvious conclusion? There is no need to tax carbon or decarbonize our societies. And the costs of decarbonization will devastate humanity, notably those still existing in poverty who need access to inexpensive fossil fuels to achieve a better standard of living. We are already seeing the harm from decarbonization in rising energy/electricity prices. Note California, Germany, and similar places that have been rushing into Green schemes for too rapidly (i.e. Net Zero projects).
The narrative of looming catastrophic climate change is rife with assumptions that are promoted as “settled science” when the diverse factors affecting climate change are far from fully understood and are not proven fact. Climate is a highly complex, dynamic system about which we still have much more to learn.
Good science will keep an open mind and welcome all challenges to current hypotheses. The public deserves such open debate and presentation of evidence from all sides. This will help counter confirmation bias on all sides and get us past the current distorting politicization of climate science and past the exaggerated apocalyptic scenarios of climate alarmism.
You cannot fight or stop climate change when the science is still so unsettled. We do not fully know yet what is causing the climate change that we have observed over past decades and centuries. But it appears certain that CO2 is not the main driver of the change that we have seen. It is not the control knob for climate. This evidence makes costly schemes to halt or eliminate CO2 pointless and wasteful.
Note: We are now in another climate pause where the mild warming of past decades has stopped again.
Global warming has stalled again…
“As Dr. Spencer’s chart above shows, temperatures are back within the range seen 20 years ago. The hiatus in global temperature rise appears to have resumed. See…
Another good report from Anthony Watts site Wattsupwiththat.com. This on climate sensitivity to CO2: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/07/07/climate-sensitivity-to-co2-what-do-we-know-part-2/
“Consider that even the most alarming estimate of the warming impact of CO2 is tiny. It is so small it cannot be measured, which is the main reason estimates have not improved…
“I think probably everyone recognizes that the climate sensitivity to human emissions of CO2 and other man-made greenhouse gases are key to settling the great climate debate. If climate sensitivity, whether we call it ECS, TCR, or “CS,” is high or low matters a great deal. For example, if climate sensitivity is less than 1.2, which is very possible, it would take over 200 years for us to reach the “magic” two-degrees of global warming that some think is dangerous. I use “magic” deliberately because there is little evidence that 2°C of warming is truly dangerous. After all the world is now five degrees cooler than the average for the Phanerozoic and people currently live both in Greenland, where winter temperatures are -50°C, and in the Sahara where summer temperatures reach 50°C.
“It is terribly sad that, after spending billions of dollars and untold man-hours, we have not narrowed the range of climate sensitivity to CO2 since 1979. It is time to grow up and realize that measuring these tiny numbers cannot be done today. We also should recognize that the climate sensitivity numbers we need to measure are so small, it is unlikely they matter. As Möller wrote in 1963:
“The effect of an increase in CO2 from 300 to 330 ppm can be compensated for completely by a change in the water vapor content of 3 per cent or by a change in the cloudiness of 1 per cent of its value without the occurrence of temperature changes at all. Thus the theory that climatic variations are effected by variations in the CO2 content becomes very questionable.” (Möller, 1963).
“This is still true today. An exceedingly small change in cloudiness, or a small change in the distribution of cloud types, or a tiny, imperceptible change in total atmospheric water vapor could completely wipe out any change due to additional CO2. As Lindzen and Newell showed decades ago, these changes (or feedbacks) may be automatic. It is especially important for the climate establishment, the media and the “climatariate” politicians and bureaucrats to recognize how little we know. Model results are not observations, they may help directionally, but they are useless for determining climate sensitivity unless they can predict future climate accurately, something that has not happened to date. As far as climate change goes, humans likely don’t matter as far as anyone can see today. We didn’t matter in 1979, we don’t today, and if we did make a difference, we couldn’t measure it anyway.”
See the excellent report on the long-term history of CO2 and climate “A global context for Man-made Climate Concerns” posted at https://edmhdotme.wordpress.com/climate-sensitivity-guiding-climate-policy/
Responding to media claims that, “Unprecedented Heat Wave in Pacific Northwest Driven by Climate Change”.
This from https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/30/major-media-fail-on-reporting-the-pacific-northwest-heatwave/
“High (and low) temperature records are nothing new. But it is important to look at the past, because data show us that more high temperature records were set during the first half of the twentieth century than during the past 50 years. Even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirms this.”
Media repeatedly claim today that any hot spell of our time is “the hottest on record” and they relate that directly to the larger alarmist narrative that human emissions of CO2 are causing climate change that is becoming “catastrophic”. That is not true. The heat records of the past 150 years occurred during the 1930s (see graph of heat records for the last 150 years in link above). That affirms “natural variation” as responsible, and not human emissions, because human CO2 emissions were not yet a significant factor.
The recent “June 2021 hot spell” on the West Coast of North America was caused by a “blocked high”. Western US climate expert Jim Steele explains these events in “Landscapes and Cycles: An environmentalist’s journey to climate skepticism” (p.95-109). Other meteorologists have similarly noted the cause of this recent event. See https://wattsupwiththat.com/
While hot spells must be taken seriously, and vulnerable people protected, over past decades some have seized every heat episode to affirm the exaggerated narrative of looming heat apocalypse via climate change. But hot spells are weather events, not necessarily climate trends, and occur even during cold eras with low CO2 levels. Evidence from the larger paleo-climate picture shows that we are still in a long-term cooling trend with our current Modern Warm Period as the coolest of the five warm periods of our Holocene interglacial. There has been a descending trend toward cooling from the Holocene Optimum, through to the Minoan, Roman, and Medieval warm periods that preceded ours.
Quote from section below:
“Over the 10,000 years of our interglacial there has been a long-term cooling trend with regard to the warm periods of our interglacial. The Holocene Optimum (7000 to 3000 BCE) and Minoan Warm periods (3000-1450 BCE) were several degrees warmer than our current modern warm period. Some state the Holocene Optimum was 3 degrees C warmer and that may refer to different local situations during that time. The Roman (250 BCE to 400 CE) and Medieval (950 to 1250 CE) warm periods were at least 1 degree C warmer than today.
Starting with the Minoan Warm period at the tail end of the Holocene Optimum we see the beginning of a long-term cooling trend (the “Neo-glacial period”) that has continued into the present. The greater threat that we face today is a cooler future as we near the end of our Holocene interglacial period and possibly enter a new glaciation, though that could still be far in the future. Hot spells, or longer warm periods, are not the great threat to life. Life and civilization have flourished during warm periods and suffered during cold eras.
The larger context… We should fear cold more than heat.
Study: Cold kills 20 times more people than heat
Doyle Rice May 20, 2015, USA TODAY
“Cold weather is 20 times as deadly as hot weather, and it’s not the extreme low or high temperatures that cause the most deaths, according to a study published Wednesday.
“The study found the majority of deaths occurred on moderately hot and moderately cold days instead of during extreme temperatures.
“”Although the risk of mortality due to extremely cold or hot days is actually higher, they are less frequent,” said lead author Antonio Gasparrini of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
“The study — published in the British journal The Lancet — analyzed data on more than 74 million deaths in 13 countries between 1985 and 2012. Of those, 5.4 million deaths were related to cold, while 311,000 were related to heat.
“Because the study included countries under different socio-economic backgrounds and with varying climates, it was representative of temperature-related deaths worldwide, the study said. The sharp distinction between heat- and cold-related deaths is because low temperatures cause more problems for the body’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems, it added.
“”Public-health policies focus almost exclusively on minimizing the health consequences of heat waves,” Gasparrini said. “Our findings suggest that these measures need to be refocused and extended to take account of a whole range of effects associated with temperature.”
“This report backs up a U.S. study last year from the National Center for Health Statistics, which found that cold kills more than twice as many Americans as heat.”
Nature knows best? Then why does it become trapped in dead ends? Wendell Krossa
(Intro note: The material below rejects the claim that more CO2 in the atmosphere will lead to catastrophic warming. Respected atmospheric physicists like Richard Lindzen and William Happer have shown that the warming influence of CO2 decreases logarithmically with increasing levels in the atmosphere. The CO2 warming influence is already “saturated” (in terms of its “warming influence”) and more CO2 will add very little to any further warming. Lindzen says that a doubling of CO2 levels from 400 to 800 ppm might contribute to another degree or two of warming. Might. We don’t know for certain because evidence reveals that other natural factors show stronger correlations with climate change. Other natural factors overwhelm the influence of CO2.)
In his 1971 book ‘The Closing Circle’, Barry Commoner stated his Third Law of Ecology as “Nature Knows Best”. That became an unquestioned maxim of environmentalism. Commoner’s conclusion was that humanity should be prevented from intervening in nature.
In his book on environmental optimism ‘A Moment On The Earth’, Greg Easterbrook disagreed. He argued that nature, while exhibiting profound development and complexity, is also driven by mindless and random/chaotic forces and gets blindly stuck in harmful dead ends.
CO2 levels declining over long-term history offer a prominent illustration of a process in nature leading to a destructive dead end. Over the past hundreds of millions of years, nature has been sequestering carbon into carbonaceous rock where most carbon is now trapped.
This dead-end process of sequestering carbon in rocks has resulted in the 150 million year decline of CO2 levels from long-term averages of several thousand parts per million (ppm) to just 185 ppm some 20,000 years ago (actually the lowest level of the past 570 million years, according to Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore). That was perilously close to the point at where all plant life dies around 150 ppm. Again, previous healthy levels of CO2, when most life emerged and developed, averaged in the multiple thousands of ppm (i.e. 6000 ppm during the Cambrian Explosion). And life thrived during such times. As Moore says “Even at 415 ppm carbon dioxide is still much lower than it has been during the majority of the existence of modern life… It is preposterous to suggest that 415 (now 420 ppm) is somehow dangerous when all animal life, including our mammalian ancestors, lived through millions of years where carbon dioxide levels were at 2000 ppm and higher” (p.37 in ‘Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom’).
Plants prefer levels of CO2 around 1000-1500 ppm and flourish at such levels. CO2 levels in the multiple thousands of ppm are normal and healthy for plants and all life. We are still in a “CO2 starvation era” but with our small increase in CO2 levels, from the 285 ppm of pre-industrial times to 420 ppm today, plant life is responding to more of its basic food with a massive greening of the Earth over the past 50 years. The Earth has added 14% more green vegetation over just the past 40 years. That is an area of green vegetation twice the size of the continental US.
(Note: CO2 levels in the thousands of ppm are not a threat to people. US submariners operate with CO2 levels up to 5000 ppm. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/10/17/claim-co2-makes-you-stupid-as-a-submariner-that-question/)
The reason for the decline of atmospheric CO2 over the past hundreds of millions of years is due to “biomineralization” where diverse marine species like clams, corals, crabs, and microscopic plankton “developed the ability to make calcareous shells for themselves… These species consumed millions of billions of tons of CO2 out of the ocean that resulted in the production of (carbonaceous) rocks… the shells of calcifying marine species sank to the ocean floor when they died” (p. 44-45). The buildup of carbonaceous rocks has occurred on both current ocean floors and on the floors of the ancient oceans that once covered continents like North America, hence the large areas of limestone deposits found there. Along with marble and chalk these deposits contain 100 million billion tons of carbon, “118,000 times as much carbon as there is in the Earth’s atmosphere and 2400 times as much carbon as in the atmosphere, oceans, plants, and soils combined” (p. 44).
Humanity has contributed to the current restoration of basic plant food (CO2) by using “untrapped” fossil fuels- i.e. releasing carbon that is not trapped in rocks. And Moore is right that we should be celebrated for helping to save life from the long-term decline in CO2 that was posing a serious threat to life. Our adding CO2 to the atmosphere has saved life from the dead end of all dead ends.
With their irrational, anti-science apocalyptic narrative, alarmists have turned the story upside down to claim that our contribution to CO2 levels is now destroying life. This is irrational anti-science madness gone insane.
Climate apocalyptics continue to claim that the food of all life, still at starvation levels, is a “pollutant” and even a “poison” (Bill Maher) that must be purged. This is nonsense as CO2 has not yet returned to anywhere near the normal, healthy levels for life that existed over most of Earth’s past history.
And ask yourself- Why are the Greens crusading against the restoration of the basic food of life and trying to prevent the further healthy greening of our planet?
The conclusion as often stated before: Evidence continues to affirm that there is no need to tax carbon or to decarbonize our societies. Based on the best evidence that we have on CO2- it is not a threat to life but, to the contrary, it is a huge benefit to life. The war on carbon is a war on life itself. Nihilism gone insane.
“All life on Earth is entirely dependent on the CO2 in the atmosphere” (from “edmhdotme”). All life on Earth is carbon based. All life is made primarily of carbon. The food we eat is carbon. Most objects we see are carbon. We get our carbon from CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 is a minute trace gas that makes up only about 0.04% of the atmosphere. This source of life has been in dangerously short supply for millions of years.
Alston Chase (in his excellent history of American environmentalism- In A Dark Wood) says that “The pantheistic idea of nature as God, with people as the enemy of nature, morphed into ecological concepts of nature as composed of closed-circuit feedback systems… that maintain their equilibrium”. He further comments on Barry Commoner’s maxim to “not meddle in nature that knows best”: “(Commoner is saying) Left alone, ecosystems remain stable. When people meddle, systems collapse. Preservation thus requires isolating ecosystems from humanity.” Chase argues against Commoner’s maxim, showing that all kinds of profound disturbance have been critical to the advance and progress of nature. Nature does not prefer stability but rather disturbance for its growth.
Chase goes into dense detail on ecological concepts, where they went wrong, and our responsibility to fully understand the natural world in order to properly fulfill our role as the guardians/caretakers of nature.
Further, I would affirm with Easterbrook that human mind is the best thing that has emerged in the natural world. Our ability to foresee the future trajectory of trends in nature, along with our creative ability to intervene and correct problems, is the best thing that has ever happened to nature. Yes Greg, nature has been waiting for us for hundreds of millions of years.
The true state of life on Earth (a revised reposting) Wendell Krossa
While problems exist everywhere, they are solvable and humanity has done well in caring for and preserving world resources. For detailed research on the true status of world resources see Julian Simon’s ‘Ultimate Resource’, Bjorn Lomborg’s ‘Skeptical Environmentalist’, or ‘Population Bombed’ by Szurmak and Desrochers, among many similar studies. Below are some basic facts on the main resources of our world. They are the main indicators of the true state of life on our planet. They all show that life is not declining toward something worse. There is no looming environmental apocalypse.
Leading indicators for evaluating the true state of life:
(1) World forest cover in the 1950s was 3.8 billion hectares (FAO stats). World forest cover today is 4.1-plus billion hectares, despite the world population tripling from 2.4 billion people in the early 1950s to almost 8 billion today. Deforestation rates continue to decline and reforestation/afforestation projects continue to succeed. We are not destroying the world’s forests. http://www.fao.org/forestry/fra/52045/en/
(2) Proven species extinctions. While any species extinction is unacceptable, we have dramatically improved our care of nature. Species extinctions are on a notably declining trend line and have decreased from about 5 per year in 1870 to about 0.5 per year today (see the IUCN Red List All Extinct Species by Decade on p.101 of Patrick Moore’s new book ‘Fake Invisible Catastrophes And Threats of Doom’). While nature has destroyed over 95% of all species over the span of life on this planet, compassionate humanity is now protecting species as never before.
See Julian Simon’s chapter on the IUCN report on species loss (in Ultimate Resource and other books) and the discredited assumption/correlation between habitat loss and species extinctions. The wrong assumption was that with habitat loss of 90% some 50% of species would go extinct. Both the Northeastern US and Northeastern Brazil study areas disproved that assumption. The assumption did not understand the resiliency, adaptability, and toughness of life. There is no species holocaust occurring. Nature is not “fragile”.
(3) Climate change (the atmosphere as a main resource): There has been a mild one degree Centigrade of warming over the past century and a half. That slightly warmed our still abnormally cold world. We are in an “ice-age era”. Average surface temperatures today are around 14.5 degrees Centigrade. That is 5 degrees Centigrade below the more optimal average surface temperatures of the past 500 million years (19.5 degrees Centigrade). For over 90% of the past 500 million years there was no ice at the poles. That is a more normal and optimal world. And contrary to the falsified climate models, there is no settled evidence of much more warming occurring in the future. There is no “climate crisis” looming.
Also, most of our Holocene inter-glacial, that began around 11,000 years ago, has been warmer than today. The Holocene Climatic Optimum (roughly 10-5,000 years ago) was about 1 degree C. warmer. The Roman Warm Period (250 BCE to 400 CE) and the Medieval Warm Period (950- 1,250 CE)- were also warmer than today. Life overall and human civilization have flourished during such warming periods. From about 5,000 years ago our interglacial began a long-term cooling trend (the “Neoglacial” period).
(4) Ocean fisheries are not collapsing and aquaculture is meeting the growing human demand for fish. See Ray Hilborn reports and FAO summaries on fisheries. The world fisheries are not being decimated. Wild fish consumption has peaked over past decades and aquaculture has been growing rapidly to meet the growing demand for fish. https://www.washington.edu/news/2020/01/13/fisheries-management-is-actually-working-global-analysis-shows/
(5) The overall agricultural land-base is not severely degrading. Also, any soil erosion must be understood in net terms, as related to new soil regeneration rates. Further, over the past century and more, we have returned several hundred million acres of agricultural land back to nature as hi-yield GM crops enable farmers to produce more crop on the same or less land. We have probably already passed “peak-agricultural land” use. Humanity now produces 25% more food than we need. Hydroponics will also meet much of future food demands.
These, and other indicators, show that the overall long-term trajectory of life is improving, not worsening.
A note to all our children: Do not fear the future of life on our planet. With continued wealth creation we will continue to solve the remaining world resource problems and life will continue to get ever better than before. Your personal contribution to making life better will add to humanity’s overall success. Do not let false alarmism narratives rob you of hope.
Patterns in alarmism movements Wendell Krossa
The overall long-term trajectory of life shows ongoing progress toward something better. We see this in indicators like declining violence, the continuing improvement of the human condition, and the improvements in the natural world.
But in this trajectory of overall progress there have been major disasters along the way, notably in the mass-death movements of the 20th Century. The elements that contributed to those horrors have re-emerged and are working in environmentalism today, notably in climate alarmism.
Firsts, alarmists employ exaggerated fear-narratives (end-of-days prophesies, apocalyptic-scale scenarios) to incite the survival impulse in populations. That fear moves people to abandon rationality and it renders them susceptible to the destructive salvation schemes of the alarmists. Frightened people are then willing to embrace the obligation to purge some “evil” that purportedly threatens life, in order to “save the world”.
The purported evil today is the food of all life- CO2. That is irrational anti-science lunacy. Consequent plans to decarbonize our societies further reveal the insanity of this apocalyptic alarmism. Decarbonization engenders the sentiment of nobleness in true believers who feel called to make a sacrifice (give up the good life) and pay for their sins with some form of suffering. Once the salvation scheme has been embraced then alarmists believe the lost paradise can be restored (i.e. the wilderness world before humanity or without humanity).
Critical to the alarmist scenarios are calls for “urgent” salvationism- i.e. the demand for “instantaneous transformation” of society due to the imminence of the threat. This requires coercive, even violent purging of the purported CO2 threat as the end of days is only a decade or so away (recent dates set range from 2030-2050). We are scolded that we cannot wait for normal democratic processes to function because skeptics to the cause (i.e. “unbelievers, infidels, deniers”), with their calls for open debate, are dangerously blocking efforts to save the world.
The same patterns operated in Marxism and Nazism as detailed by the apocalyptic millennial scholars Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, and David Redles. Marxists incited fear of capitalism and used revolutionary violence to overthrow that demonized enemy. The Nazis propagated the fear of Jewish Bolshevism as the great threat to German society and employed their own violent version of an “instantaneous transformation” approach. Both movements led to horrific outcomes in mass-death movements (100 million deaths from Marxism, 50-60 million deaths from Nazism). We all know the outcomes of the dangerous patterns followed in those alarmist movements.
Keep an eye on these very same elements now being used in the environmental alarmism movement, notably in climate alarmism. Fear of imminent catastrophe is trumpeted almost daily in media. Dates for the end-of-days are set repeatedly, and reset just as repeatedly because the end never arrives as scheduled. Scientists, celebrities, politicians, and news media demand immediate drastic action (instantaneous transformation) to purge the great threat of CO2, to immediately transform societies via decarbonization in order to save the world from the apocalypse.
Another climate summary: Overturn the alarmist narrative
Carbon/CO2 is not a pollutant and does not threaten life. CO2 is the basic food of all life and benefits life immensely as is evident in the massive greening of Earth (a 14% increase in green vegetation across the planet over the past half century, a 30% increase over the past century).
CO2 is only a “bit player” in climate change. Other natural factors (water vapor, cyclical patterns in sun activity, ocean multi-decadal shifts, etc.) are the dominant players in climate change and we must adapt to that natural change as people have adapted across history.
The climate change that we have experienced has been very mild (1 degree C over the past century) and this has benefitted our world during this abnormally cold ice-age era. Several degrees more warming will further benefit life with extended habitats and more diversity of life in those extended habitats. Today, the warmest places on earth have the most diversity of life forms. Warm periods during our interglacial have also resulted in the flourishing of human civilizations.
Cold devastates life with more extinctions, restricted habitats for life, more droughts (less evaporation), collapse of civilizations, and other destructive outcomes. 15-20 times more people die from cold every year, than die from warmth.
Further, additional heat is distributed via ocean and atmosphere convection currents to the colder areas of the planet (polar regions), to colder seasons (winter), and to colder times of day (night). Remember also that for over 90% of Earth’s history there has been no ice at the poles. The polar regions were populated by tropical trees and animals. That extended habitat for diverse life was a huge benefit to the world.
Again, there is no need to tax carbon or decarbonize our societies. That only increases human misery, harming the poorest people the most.
When you take control of a population and don’t want to relinquish that power…
This from Rex Murphy’s National Post article “Now Trudeau’s Liberals are journalism instructors?”: “The COVID regime has given governments the strongest taste of full control they have had since war time. Odd, how frequently a taste becomes a diet.”
And this statement by H. L. Mencken that cannot be repeated often enough: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary”.
And in a recent podcast Joe Rogan (Spotify) interviews Quentin Tarantino and they discuss his many movies. Tarantino refers to characters in one movie, where one is comforting the other.
The one character says about something, “Its just such a waste”.
The other responds, “Its sad and its loss but I don’t know if its waste. Its loss. But in this loss you’re feeling pain and the pain is reminding you what its like to be human and in that there is gain”.
Covid and Climate: A tale of two hysterias Part 2 by Tilak Doshi (originally published in Forbes)
See full article at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/07/06/covid-and-climate-a-tale-of-two-hysterias-part-2/ on the remarkable similarities in government policy responses to Covid and climate change… “They betray a range of critical defects in policy making, from an inordinate dependence on speculative models, to the lack of transparency and the ideological corruption of science, to selective reporting and group think, and the suppression of sceptics.”
Another quote from the article: “The inordinate costs of “decarbonization” policies pursued in many countries have also been well documented. The German Federal Audit Office warned in a recent report that the drive to “net zero” has turned into an existential threat to the economy. The government auditor sees “sees the danger that the energy transition in this form will endanger Germany as a business location and overwhelm the financial strength of electricity-consuming companies and private households”. The report finds that decarbonization with escalating energy costs not only threatens the country with de-industrialization but it also sees an alarming threat to the country’s security of energy supply. California, with aggressive decarbonization policies akin to Germany’s, now face looming blackouts as electricity costs “explode”.”
The comment just below on materialist speculations was sparked by a podcast where a well-known physicist (Lawrence Krauss) recounted the theories of the origin of the universe and its development. He peppered his comments with confessions that various things he was stating were assumptions, speculation, or even “metaphysical”. He reminded me of the theologians who similarly speculate on realities that we have no way of ever proving true or not. Yet, despite the admission of speculation, the physicist, committed to materialist philosophy, was quite dogmatically certain that there was no such thing as “spiritual” reality. Materialism was final truth.
Ultimate Realities, Wendell Krossa (Another poke at “dogmatic” materialism, another new religion)
There is a whole lotta mythology floating around in public consciousness that is widely misunderstood and accepted as validated truth. For example, “multi-verse” theories (see Jim Baggott’s “Farewell to Reality” or https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/science-and-technology/the-problem-with-multiverse-theories-theyre-just-not-science). Or string theory. As physicist Lee Smolin said in “The Trouble with Physics”, string theory- despite never having been proven by experiment- has become dogma and if you want a position in a physics faculty at a university then you are obligated to embrace it as settled science.
Multi-verse theory suits the speculations of dogmatic materialism that if there are infinite tries then eventually nothing (or “the multi-verse generator”?!? WTF) can randomly and meaninglessly create a finely tuned universe like ours (see, for example, “Just Six Numbers”, by Martin Rees). Talk about metaphysical speculations, eh.
Such speculations (and again, the dogmatism with which they are advocated) violate the common sense and reason that people have accumulated across history. Nothing cannot create something. The materialist is then obligated to do further regression and posit some kind of creating Force/Entity. Something like “Self-Organizing Principle”. Huh? Again, what the fuck is that?
And you then attribute all sorts of god-like abilities to your creating agency so that it can get the job done. How does this essentially differ from religious creation of deities?
Ah, it appears to violate the inherited rationality of humanity that has been built on millennia of past experience. Our every-day understanding that something that exists must come from a similar Something that gives it existence. Think of the wonder of consciousness in this regard.
I go with the vast majority of humanity across history. The most rational explanation for what exists is that it comes from some greater creating Mind or Consciousness. Some greater Intelligence, and assuming such a Reality means assuming personhood also (transcendent Self or Person).
But then I part company with the vast majority of humanity across history because of the crude anthropomorphisms that our ancestors projected out to define the greater creating Reality. I refer to the subhuman/inhuman and outright barbaric features of mythical and religious deities across history. Look at the rapacious and vengeful Greek gods. Look at the genocidal Old Testament Hebrew deity. That was where human mentality was at that time. But it is inexcusable to maintain such deities because we know more of the difference between good and bad today.
Summing my point: Religion across the board has failed miserably to communicate to humanity the inexpressibly wondrous Love at the core of reality. We do better to take our cues from common, ordinary people who have learned that no conditions love toward imperfect others is the highest and best of being human. Based on the authority of average people we then project that best kind of love out to define deity but to transcendent degree (i.e. Something infinitely better than the best that we can imagine because deity is Ultimate Good).
The more credible accounts from the Near-Death Experience movement all affirm that this stunningly wondrous unconditional love was the nature of the Light that they encountered and many of those people concluded that unconditional element rendered their religious beliefs all wrong. There was no judgment, no exclusion of anyone, no domination, no demand for sacrifice/payment, and no threat of punishment or destruction (i.e. hell). There was only love. Absolutely no conditions love for everyone.
That Love is our future, our true source and home.
One project here is to fully humanize humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity. To get rid of the subhuman/inhuman and fully humanize deity theory with no conditions love.
Assumptions are not evidence
Scattered commentary on climate change now challenges the exaggerated alarmist scenarios but most commentators continue to advocate that we have to do something to “fight climate change”. These commentators (scientists, politicians, news media people) still accept the basic assumptions that climate change is human caused and is a serious problem. They argue that we must not let warming exceed another 1.5 degrees C. or we are in real trouble. So keep the public agitated with fear and keep the decarbonization project moving ahead based on “imminent threat of catastrophe”. Its still an “existential crisis”, they claim. We must meet those 2030 deadlines, or 2035, or whatever the next deadline will be after these are passed, just as all past apocalyptic deadlines were passed.
This is all looney toon stuff but the “madness of crowds” embraces it as proven dogma.
The assumptions that climate change is human caused and that it will become a serious problem are wrong. There has never has been a consensus on these assumptions. The alarmist claims are not “settled science”. Other sound evidence from respected climate physicists/scientists points out that natural elements, not human emissions, are showing stronger correlations with the climate change that we are experiencing. The CO2 influence on climate (yes, its there) is overwhelmed by other natural factors. CO2 is only a “bit player” and is not the control knob of climate.
And to the affirmative side- more warmth and more CO2 are proving to be a huge benefit to life with expanded habitats and massive increases in green vegetation across the world (i.e. the stunning “greening of Earth” over the past 50 years). Where are media on this good news?
The hysteria narrative continues, Wendell Krossa
The war on the basic food of all life- CO2- continues unabated and becomes at times ever more hysterical with episodes of ratcheted up claims of imminent apocalypse. One senses defensive desperation in the alarmist rage against those questioning the catastrophic narrative. “They are ‘deniers’. They don’t believe” the apocalyptic narrative, wail the alarmists.
Look, we all believe in climate change. No one denies that climate is a complex, dynamic system that is never in stasis (i.e. never in an unchanging or static state).
But the narrative of looming “climate catastrophe” (i.e. “existential crisis… climate crisis”) is entirely false. You hear this apocalyptic narrative in the varied claims that “the world will end in 12 years (AOC’s claim in 2018 re 2030)… this is the ‘last chance’… this is the ‘final tipping point’… “, etc. With follow up demands that we must “fight climate change” and stop a further rise in temperatures by turning some CO2 knob that many believe controls climate.
These endless proclamations of looming apocalypse distort the actual state of climate and life. Apocalyptic climate scenarios are the real “denial” of good climate science.
Fact: We have had a mild 1 degree C warming over the past century in an abnormally cold world that is still far below long-term average temperatures (up to 10 degrees C below past long-term averages). Also, remember the Lancet study showing that 15-20 times more people die every year of cold than die of warmth.
Another fact: Our small increase in CO2 over the past century is still far below long-term average levels of CO2 that were in the multiple-thousands of ppm, eras when life thrived with the surfeit of basic plant food. With just the small increase over the past half-century, our world has greened massively (15% more green vegetation) as starving plant life receives more of its basic food- CO2. Animal and human life have also benefitted immensely from the added green vegetation (i.e. increased crop production).
Conclusion: Over the paleo-climate past, plant and animal life thrived with higher temperatures and much more CO2. Human civilizations have also thrived during past warming periods. Once again, there is no good evidence that we should tax carbon or decarbonize our societies. To the contrary, life will continue to benefit immensely from our ability to release trapped carbon and help return CO2 to the normal and healthy levels of past history.
Pushing past tribalism, re-affirming cooperation
Jimmy Dore on a recent Joe Rogan podcast (episode 1687 on Spotify) noted the basic issues that both sides of the US political divide agree on and can work together to solve.
70% of Americans agree on single-payer health care (Medicare for all- 63%).
62% agree on a living wage ($15 per hour minimum wage).
Depending on which survey is read, 55-66% of Americans agree on ending the drug war (66% say eliminate criminal penalties for possession).
89% agree that police violence/brutality is a problem, 65% say it is serious.
Both sides also agree on the need for criminal justice reform and the need to restrain the ‘prison industrial complex’.
On criminal justice reform: I would push further and advocate ending the incarceration of nonviolent offenders that now make up one half of the US prison population.
Yes, set those people free. Have them engage programs to make restitution, where it applies. And then consider releasing many in the remaining half that are incarcerated for one-time violent offenses committed in their youth but no longer pose the threat of violence. Like the elderly man (sixtyish) in prison for life for a manslaughter offense committed during a teenage robbery. He said, “I am not that same person that I was at 18. I am a changed person today”. Why is he in prison for life?
Most of the violent offenses are committed by a small number of repeat violent offenders. Those people must be imprisoned (in rehabilitation programs) until they are able to control their worst impulses, and if they are not able or willing to change, then they must remain imprisoned to protect others.
Note this report from the “National Center for Biotechnology Information” at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3969807/
The report points out that a small minority of criminal offenders commit most violent crimes: “The majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by a small number of persistent violent offenders, typically males, characterized by early onset of violent criminality, substance abuse, personality disorders, and nonviolent criminality.”
We are more capable of identifying the repeat violent offenders that need to be incarcerated to protect the wider society.
And this report details what factors contribute to the record-breaking incarceration rates in the US: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2020.html
This interesting point from the report: “And while some of the justice system’s response has more to do with retribution than public safety, more incarceration is not what most victims of crime want. National survey data show that most victims want violence prevention, social investment, and alternatives to incarceration that address the root causes of crime, not more investment in carceral systems that cause more harm.”
This report also notes that violence naturally decreases with age, hence recidivism declines over an offender’s lifespan. Another reason to reconsider the life sentences for some offenders:
“Recidivism data do not support the belief that people who commit violent crimes ought to be locked away for decades for the sake of public safety. People convicted of violent and sexual offenses are actually among the least likely to be rearrested, and those convicted of rape or sexual assault have re-arrest rates 20% lower than all other offense categories combined. More broadly, people convicted of any violent offense are less likely to be rearrested in the years after release than those convicted of property, drug, or public order offenses. One reason: age is one of the main predictors of violence. The risk for violence peaks in adolescence or early adulthood and then declines with age, yet we incarcerate people long after their risk has declined.”
“… most people pay little attention to the study of history and the result is the ‘fallacy of presentism’: the tendency to assume that events of the present are larger, more important, or more shocking than events of the past”, James Payne in ‘A History of Force’.
The fallacy of “Presentism” in relation to climate: The belief that some extreme weather event or natural disaster is the worst ever because we experience it firsthand.
And another response to the media tendency to attribute every weather event to “climate change crisis”…
In a Daily Telegraph article on the consequences of drastic climate change policies, Nick Timothy stated, “The world must take action against climate change – this is not in doubt.” The Daily Telegraph, 2 August 2021
More people are finding the courage to challenge the extremist exaggerations that are so common in relation to climate change. However, these commentators still affirm the basic narrative that climate change is a “crisis” and we must “act”, meaning “decarbonize our societies”.
But the weather events that many attribute to climate change, and posit as evidence of looming crisis, are common extreme weather events that have occurred all across history and were often far worse in the distant past (“pre-SUV era”). Note for example the multi-decadal and even century-long droughts of the past. Contemporary hot periods and droughts have been mild in comparison. See for example http://www.co2science.org/articles/V14/N41/EDIT.php or http://www.co2science.org/articles/V13/N43/EDIT.php
Humanity adapts to such events just as we always have. And we are succeeding in adapting, doing much better then ever before thanks to the wealth creation and technological advances of industrial civilization. Note that deaths from natural disasters are down 96% over the past century. We need to continue adapting to climate change, doing just as we have over past centuries- i.e. creating wealth and improving technology that enables us to warm ourselves in winter (cold being the far greater killer of people) and cool ourselves in summer.
We are not in a more dangerous world today than in the past, but we are better prepared to deal with what nature throws at us because of our ongoing wealth creation and technological innovation. Fossil fuels have been (and will continue to be) fundamental to our ongoing ability to adapt to nature.
Go to the real root of a problem
The real issue behind climate alarmism has to do with inherited ideas/themes that are profoundly mythical in nature and distort the true state of life on Earth. They hinder our ability to understand the true state of life. Across the millennia, those ideas/themes have been deeply embedded in human narratives and subconscious. They have long been dominant in religious traditions and are now given expression in “secular/ideological” versions and affirmed by modern science. See the list of ideas/themes just below- “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”.
An argument on this site is that the Christ myth of Paul is mainly responsible for bringing the fraud of apocalyptic mythology into Western consciousness and sustaining that myth for two millennia as the single most dominant myth today (see for example James Tabor’s “Paul and Jesus”). Christian apocalyptic then shaped 19th Century Declinism and that has shaped the extremism of environmental alarmism among other mass-harm movements, like Marxism and Nazism. See research of apocalyptic millennial scholars noted below (Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, David Redles).
If we are to properly problem-solve for the long-term future then we need to go to the ultimate root of the problems that we are trying to solve.
This quote by Paul Homewood on “Extreme Weather In 1971” at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/07/31/extreme-weather-in-1971/
“With COP26 looming large and the public beginning to be aware of the crippling cost of Net Zero, the media are desperately stoking alarm over every bad weather event that comes along. They have given up all pretence of objective reporting, and shamelessly blame every flood, heatwave, drought and storm on climate change.”
Beating a mantra into public consciousness
We hear the repeated mantra in news media today that hot days or heat waves are the “hottest on record”. “Hottest on record” refers only to the formal record of the last 150 years. That brief snippet pulled out of the larger climate history permits alarmist distortion of the true state of climate. The hottest days and years of the last 150 years were actually during the 1930s (https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/07/15/the-deadly-heat-wave-of-july-1936-in-the-middle-of-arguably-the-hottest-decade-on-record-for-the-us/). But that hotter period was before CO2 could be blamed for climate change so it is ignored as it doesn’t suit the larger narrative point that climate alarmists are trying to make.
Why do we hear this particular mantra of “hottest on record” repeated endlessly by news media, politicians, and celebrities? Why are today’s hot days and heat waves not placed within the larger climate history to give the public a proper perspective on things?
The exaggerated slogan of heat threat (along with other extreme weather events) is repeated to affirm a larger background narrative- that climate is warming dangerously and will become catastrophic if it warms past another 1.5-2.0 degrees C. Further to the narrative, “hottest on record” affirms that any warming is evidence of a human-caused “existential crisis” because we are burning too much fossil fuel and causing atmospheric CO2 levels to rise. And the only permissible response, according to climate authoritarians, must be the immediate and radical decarbonization of our societies and a massive shift to renewables.
This environmental apocalypse story of looming climate crisis (one of an endless series of environmental alarms over the past 70 years) is part of an even larger background political narrative that is anti-industrial civilization, anti-capitalism, and fundamentally anti-human. (See, for example, “Hubris: The troubling science, economics, and politics of climate change” by Michael Hart.)
This site challenges the narrative of looming disaster caused by humanity using fossil fuels. While there are elements of truth in the mix- i.e. that it is warming and CO2 contributes to the warming- good evidence from the best climate scientists on the planet does not support the alarmist exaggeration that we are mostly responsible for rising CO2 levels, or that CO2 is mainly responsible for climate warming, or that the warming will become catastrophic. As noted often before, there is no climate crisis and we do not need to tax carbon or decarbonize our societies.
The larger climate history
Climate is changing. We all know and believe this fact. And CO2 contributes to warming climate. There are no “deniers” of these facts. However, the claim that CO2 is mainly responsible for climate change is not “settled science”. In fact, other natural factors play a more dominant role influencing climate change, factors like ocean multi-decadal oscillations from cooling to warming phases (e.g. the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO), the cyclical patterns in the sun (maximums, minimums) that interact with the cosmic ray influence on cloud cover (water vapor being the largest influence on climate), the millions of underwater volcanoes, and so on.
CO2 is only a “bit player” in climate warming. And the influence of CO2 has now reached “saturation” which means that more CO2 will not contribute to much more warming (maybe only a degree or two more- Richard Lindzen). The warming influence of CO2 declines logarithmically with additional atmospheric CO2. (Climate physicists Richard Lindzen, William Happer, and others have made this point.)
Further, we are currently in another warming pause and varied scientists argue that we may be entering a long-term cooling period. Our modern warming period is the coolest of the 5 warm periods of our Holocene interglacial (i.e. the Holocene Optimum, Minoan, Roman, and Medieval were the previous warm periods). We have actually been on a long-term cooling trend over the past 5 millennia, with each warming period being cooler than previous ones.
And in an even larger context, our interglacial has been about 3-5 degrees C cooler than the previous interglacial, the Eemian, of about 130-115,000 years ago.
The greater future threat is climate cooling as we near the end of our interglacial and could possibly be entering a new glaciation era.
The slight warming of the past century (1 degree C) has been a huge benefit to all life as we are still in an abnormally cold “ice-age era” with repeating cycles of glaciation interrupted by inter-glacial warming. During this “ice age era”, global average temperatures have been about 6-10 degrees C below the long-term paleo-climate averages.
On the benefit side, global warming extends the habitat of many plant and animal species. Warming has also been a huge benefit to humanity because 20 times more people die every year from cold than die from warmth.
More CO2 in our “CO2 starvation era” has also benefitted life with a massive increase in green vegetation (some 15% more green vegetation across the world since 1980). This has meant more food for animal life, and it has benefitted humanity with increased crop production. Humanity now produces 25% more food than we need. Crop productions records are being broken every year.
There is no evidence of an increase in severe storms or extreme weather events (i.e. floods, droughts). There has been a significant decline in wildfires across the world. There has been a dramatic decline in deaths from natural disasters (a 96% decline over the past century). Heat waves are no more common or severe than in the past. The hottest years in North America were during the 1930s. Oceans are not rising any faster than they have over the previous millennia of our interglacial (1.5-3.5 mm per year).
Point again? There is no need to tax carbon or decarbonize our societies. That will cause immense and unnecessary misery, mainly to the poorest people.
“Old story themes, new story alternatives” above is a summary of history’s worst ideas and better alternatives. Note that the “stunning new theology of an unconditional deity” changes everything, for the better. Unconditional as the baseline definition of deity overturns the worst of history’s “bad ideas” and liberates human consciousness from deeply embedded fears, subconsciously rooted fears, fears of this-life and after-life harm.
Many of these themes deal with “spiritual” realities simply because that has been the dominant orientation of human thought across history, and remains dominant in most people’s worldviews today (i.e. the 85% of humanity still affiliated with a world religion, with many of the remaining unaffiliated 15% still identifying as “spiritual but not religious”).
Changing meta-narratives Wendell Krossa
We have inherited some highly distorting and destructive ideas from the past. These ideas still infect and dominate most human consciousness today, through the major world religions and also via secular versions/ideologies/movements such as environmental alarmism. These are primitive mythical ideas with no basis in empirical reality.
Ideas become destructive when they incite the survival impulse in populations, promote subsequent irrationality, and validate responses and behavior that harm others. Alarmist movements use the themes below to frighten people with threats- i.e. the threat of life getting worse, of life heading toward catastrophic collapse or ending, that we are under threat of divine punishment, and of “enemies” posing some threat to life. Populations are then pushed to embrace salvation schemes that often involve coercive purging of presumed threats and may even involve the violent elimination of enemies that purportedly pose the threats to survival (this is aside from the issue of “just wars”).
(Insert note: The apocalyptic millennial scholars- Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, David Redles- have detailed the evidence that these themes were inciting influences behind the mass-death movements of Marxism (100 million deaths) and Nazism (50-60 million deaths), and are now influencing environmental alarmism, another apocalyptic movement. The ideology of ‘Declinism’ embraced these mythical themes in the 19th Century and gave them new “secular” expression. With Declinism, primitive myth was transformed into ideology for the modern world. This affirms Campbell’s statement that the same mythical themes are repeated across all history and across all the cultures of our world.)