Notes on The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse:
When he claims that we aren’t responsible for the future generations per say, is that against leaving a legacy?
It totally uses the word ecologists wrong (or perhaps it is translated wrong) and that drives me crazy.
“ecologists, wholly absorbed in their science-fiction ethics, care more about our possible misdeeds than about present injustices”. He uses a lot of absolutes. This quote sums up his attitude toward environmental concerns. He seems to think they are all in the distant future. Immediately after reading this I think of the problem of burning coal and how it hurts populations (especially human ones) right now. So not all of the issues are issues for the future. Another lack of knowledge of time scale is his statement that we will not actually know any affects for centuries even though there instances of quick ecological or even evolutionary reactions.
I did find intriguing and maybe a bit truthful the idea of being very self important. That humanity was raised to the level of gods and were at the pinnacle of history.
When he talked about the environmentalists who “want to see at least three Fukushimas a year”, it reminded me of the question whether naive visitors with little knowledge on wildlife deserved to be mauled by a bear or stupid visitors deserve to fall from a cliff.
As someone who has read Jared Diamond’s book and has heard much of the criticism about it, it may not be a good thing to use as an “excellent” source. Plus his synopsis in not only really really wrong but also very very mean. This ‘mistake’ is just one of many that makes his hard to take seriously, even if he does have decent points.
Bruckner seems to be hateful of not only extremists but of most people in general. He is almost subscribing to the same hate as he is bashing. I get that it is for criticism but still. He also greatly generalizes groups like his so called ecologists. And goes to critic all fear in a really long chapter, not just fear of environmental disaster.
“It is also human beings that give meaning and rights” True and also reminiscent of the first article about how people define wilderness.
“But David M Raup, a paleontologist, tells us that even if were to blow up our whole nuclear aresenal, thus provoking the interruption of photosynthesis and the elimination of the human race, the biosphere would not dissappear and bacterial life would continue, hardly affected, just as it did after giant meteorites hit the earth” “It is never the end of the world. It is always the end of a world” This basically sums up my comments from the meadowlands notes.
I feel like I could sum this book up in about 20 pages but I think it is because I have fallen into most of the “bad” thought processes he describes at some point another and for most if not all of them have since retracted. He is just more rude about having gone through that process.
His talk about distrusting science illuminates the view of those that I find frustrating who dispute science so much (like politicians speaking of the fear of the people). But at the same time I appreciate his bashing of democracy as far as making science decisions. This reminds me of a quote by Issac Asimov,
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”
But he also complained about the scientific authorities that governments turn to like Green Peace which reminded me of the letter from the Nobel Prize winners to green peace about GMOs. They were basically complaining that Green Peace attacked GMOs despite the lack of harm and despite the benefits for the world such as helping people who die from vitamin deficiencies. Here is an article about the letter.
Also his discussion of advocates for “going backward” or returning to native lifestyles remind me of this:
Current Environmental Notes: Devil’s Hole Pupfish
During a recent episode of CBS News Sunday Morning there was a feature on the Devil Hole Pupfish. This fish lives in Devil’s Hole not far from Death Valley in California. The species has evolved in this small environment in the middle of the desert and is the rarest fish in the world. So naturally it is protected. The aquifer is surrounded by fences and security cameras. One of the ways these fish are protected is bans on wells near the hole. There was a case that went all the way to the supreme court of the farmers vs the fish. In the middle of drought effected California this restriction is serious for farmers but the fish won. Another way to conserve this biological feat is to build a $4.5 million psuedo Devil’s hole to host a second population of pupfish. Stories like this make me understand why some non-environmentalists think of environmental activists as extremists. This is kind of extreme for 50 little fish that don’t actually pose any obvious biological value other than diversity in a single hole. Discover magazine did a study to check out just how “different” these fish were from other relatives and it turns out most of the difference is in environment and not genetics.
Also along the lines of stupid people “surveillance video captured three locals breaking in to skinny dip. Beer and vomit were found in the water. Fortunately, only one pupfish was killed.”
Here is the article from sunday morning and another from discover magazine and here is the official page of the national park service about the hole and its resident fishes.