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Old 12-16-2005, 08:18 PM   #46
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Originally posted by blueyedpoet
a_wanderer, perhaps you could describe more how your beliefs (metaphysical ones, if any) affect your environmental beliefs?
on the other hand, if you are purely a materialist - there is nothing beyond the physical - why would you wish to support that which is harmful to the material world?
These questions are related to my topic, so feel free.
whenhiphopdrovethebigcars, i completely agree with your assertions thus far. how have your spiritual beliefs influenced you caring about the environment?
My environmental beliefs are materialist, I do not want to say that I just support the destruction of the environment carte blanche, I think that human invention and technology is a valid means to adress the problems that we face. For instance GM crops can increase yields, reduce the use of pesticides and improve health around the world. If we can feed the planet without having to use so much land then more can be left in situ. Likewise global population can be curbed through raising living standards, hygene and education - the birth rates in developed countries are much lower than those in developing countries. While the individual ecological footprint may increase there will be fewer people and the quality of life is much better.

Energy requirements I think that we should deal with carbon emissions. But the fearmongering over global warming has warped the debate. We do not know if we are heading towards disaster and we do not know to what extent we are influencing global climate. A measured response should aim to reduce dependence on a finite resource (fossil fuels) and advance research into technologies that can deliver the energy that we need without taking up too much space (the problem with only using wind, solar or tidal is that we need a lot of energy and it may be too expensive to get all our energy from these sources. Better yet nuclear fusion would be the magic bullet in this being a cheap, clean and effectively limitless source of energy.

Scientific investigation and technology have drastically improved the quality of life for mankind. There are plenty of problems in the world, but they cannot be adressed by trying to throttle investigation and reduce humanity to old modes of production once more. I personally think that Dr Norman Borlaug is the greatest human being alive and his work has saved billions of lives. The Borlaug hypotheiss increasing the productivity of agriculture on the best farmland can help control deforestation by reducing the demand for new farmland is great.
Quote:
Norman Borlaug
Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things
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Old 12-16-2005, 08:25 PM   #47
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Energy requirements I think that we should deal with carbon emissions. But the fearmongering over global warming has warped the debate. We do not know if we are heading towards disaster and we do not know to what extent we are influencing global climate.
Speaking as a non-scientist and thoroughly unqualified to assess the evidence regarding global warming, I must admit to being intrigued as to how you reconcile confidence in the scientific method with your scepticism in the large majority of qualified scientific opinion (I am led to believe, I am only going on what I read in the media) which seemingly is saying that global warming is happening and is largely human-generated.
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:03 PM   #48
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There are plenty of peer reviewed papers on the topic of climate change that show that it has happened in the past, even recently in geological history (im talking about multiple changes in sea level up to 30m over the last 100,000 years - this was in a paper in science from april this year where a new statistical method was used that allowed data to be extracted from coral samples previously considered useless that gave a much sharper picture of sea levels) as well as the flaws in the IPCC which used the famous hockey stick curve that has had its methodology called into question and is at the centre of a running debate about anthropogenic cause of global warming.

Then we come to anomolies in the models, climate models are getting better every year but they are still far from perfect. Not a month goes by without a paper that upsets a previous assumption about where was is a net carbon sink and how deforestation and regrowth alters the balance (growing trees take in more carbon dioxide than old growth forests). The feedback mechanisms such as heat effecting cloud cover (both type of cloud and ammount), water vapour in the atmosphere) that have large effects on climate.

The other element is the effects of climate change - exactly what will an increase in tempreture do and what will be worse and what will be better. The problem with the Kyoto protocol is that it is nothing, it effects the change by a minute fraction of a degree at significant cost to signatory nations. It is a case where I think that we are achieving nothing at cost. A cost-benefit analysis should be considered here and right now the benefit is not worth it.

Lastly if we do find we are facing climate disaster then there remains the possibility of climate engineering. Large scale projects to reduce the ammount of energy absorbed by increasing the albedo of the planet using technology (I saw a proposal for a catamaran that seeded clouds, the clouds reflect sunlight and would keep the oceans cooler).
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:11 PM   #49
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evidently, france, germany, the UK have done such a cost-analysis and have determined that they will indeed reduce emissions...some countries are even surpassing the Kyoto expectations
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:15 PM   #50
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France can get away with it easy because it uses nuclear power for a large ammount of its requirements
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:15 PM   #51
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It is a problem of the philosophy of science...do you believe what the majority of science suggests? Or, do you believe that a few anomalies account for something quiet different? How many cases of anomalies can a scientific paradigm withstand?
Eastern religions typically care a great deal more about the environment than western beliefs. This has always struck me as odd. If one believes that God has created this earth and has told humankind to take care of it, why would you wish to pollute it? Shouldn't Christians and Jews alike be at the forefront of environmentalism?
On the other hand, if you believe that this is all we have, this is all that is, then it seems as if you too must take painstaking efforts to maintain the earth.
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:16 PM   #52
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course if you're an existentalist....
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:17 PM   #53
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I'm still interested in an account for fundamental agnosticism
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:25 PM   #54
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And the key to maintaining the earth is eliminating poverty, reducing our ecological footprints and protecting habitats. These problems are best adressed through technological innovation, the planet cannot support 6 billion people on subsistence farming alone, there are problems with materials, raising living standards will increase needs for plastics and things that are derived from oil.
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Old 12-16-2005, 10:16 PM   #55
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If I had to classify myself as anything it would be agnostic .

One thing I do believe in undoubtedly is karma .
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Old 12-16-2005, 10:40 PM   #56
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Originally posted by MacHat
If I had to classify myself as anything it would be agnostic .

One thing I do believe in undoubtedly is karma .
where does this belief come from?
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Old 12-16-2005, 10:43 PM   #57
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I agree that the biggest problem we face is poverty. How do we solve it? How do we solve it in such a way that is not damaging to our environment? I do have faith in scientists, humanitarians, and economists to figure out such problems. I'm interested in being included in the solving of such problems.
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Old 12-17-2005, 03:07 AM   #58
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Quote:
Norman Borlaug
Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things [/B]
How many months have you spent in the "misery" of the developing world, A_Wanderer?

The argument with fashionable elitists is plain wrong. It is not true that when you talk to an African farmer, he will say "I need fertilizer! Bring me fertilizer! Bring me more of your technology! More of your machines!"

I will not go into detail here, A_Wanderer, because I know you are not going to change your opinion, and frankly, I don´t care a lot for this discussion. But maybe you can reply one question, please? If technology is so great and the solution to all poverty, why has the overall standard of living not increased significantly in the last 50 years? If technology was the means to save people who hunger, then why didn´t it save the big numbers since the start of the 50s?

Your optimism towards technological development possibilities that have an effect on the social standard of the poor is totally outdated. I´m not saying that every single UNIDO project was a failure, no, many of them were successful. But it is just wrong and elitist to dream that our great innovations will somehow channel nature, create more farmland, cure everyone who´s ill and hooray, everyone will be happy. There is still enough farmland on this planet. But some of the products can´t be exported.

Concrete actual example: a cotton farmer from Togo. As to the current WTO meeting, he says that Togo does not have so many products to export, they are dependent on cotton. But they can´t export, because the U.S. dictates the price. And the U.S. price is so low (because of subventions) that the farmers in Togo have no chance. Now can you tell me how technology can solve this problem? I am curious.

Indeed, it is elitist to presume that technology itself can change anything. Travel to the developing world, talk with the poor there instead of sitting in your Australian elitist ivory tower, repeating the bullshit that scientists and politicians (and all of them from industrialized nations! now who do you think profits from exporting technology?) have already be blabbering 50 years ago. I can prove to you that scientists in the 50s said exactly the same thing you are saying now, but really, I´m reluctant to do the work and look for the quotes for half an hour.

By the way, I don´t know of any Gaia theory, it´s the first time I hear about that here. I think nature is terribly out of balance because man is acting superficial. I don´t need any proof for that. You, on the other hand, will ask for a proof until the fucking end of the human race.

Oh and I think the H-Bomb is a great technological invention, doesn´t harm nature at all and will save a couple of million lives
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Old 12-17-2005, 03:19 AM   #59
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer


1. And the key to maintaining the earth is eliminating poverty, reducing our ecological footprints and protecting habitats.

2. These problems are best adressed through technological innovation

3. the planet cannot support 6 billion people on subsistence farming alone
1. yes
2. wrong, technological innovations may be important, but have not reduced overall poverty in the last half of a century
3. wrong, the planet could support up to 20 billion people with food, and no one needs GM food for that.

I´ll add 4.: Every U.S. cow gets subsidies of $2 per day - more than a billion of people live for less than $2 per day.
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Old 12-17-2005, 03:38 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally posted by blueyedpoet

whenhiphopdrovethebigcars, i completely agree with your assertions thus far. how have your spiritual beliefs influenced you caring about the environment?
Well actually I think the caring for environment was there before my spiritual beliefs became important for me. I just think every animal leads a better life than the average human. I think animals and plants have the same rights like humans on this planet, but they are always trampled on.

Mankind took distance from nature, tried to control it for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.

As to the connections between religion and environment: I don´t believe in Gen 1,28 in its "modern" interpretation. "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it". For centuries, the "subdue" part has served as an excuse for wreaking havoc on environment (when this line was written thousands of years ago, when there probably were less then 10 million men on the planet and they used to go to hunt with sticks or something).

I think every plant, every animal, every living being has the same right to live like a man.

Science and technology themselves are ambivalent. They are neither positive nor negative by themselves. Often, we jump on the new tech developments without knowing what they will bring, as it is the case with GM food. I´m not a scientist, but I am critical of permutations. Imagine you would fuck like that with human genes! What do you think is gonna be the result?

I also despise the shortsightedness of techno-materialists when it comes to the systems of nature. That balanced system has been in tune (sometimes more, sometimes less, but basically always in tune) for 100,000 years and more. Why change it?

Why does the human race believe to be more intelligent than natural selection processes that worked well over such a long time? Can someone tell me that? This is plain aggressive, totally in the tradition of "subdueing".
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