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Climate Change and Societal Collapse


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#26 Destined

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 12:20 PM

Yes. But if we really at last get cheap energy, we can afford to close the cycle: Plastics are burned for energy made into water and CO2; and with enough energy, we already today have the technology to make any plastic (as long as it is made only out of C,N,O, H) out of thin air.

Could you give me an example which plastic is actually made from air? Air is 78% Nitrogen, which is extremely difficult to utilize (the most common industrial process: Haber-Bosch-Process uses 500 °C and 200bar pressure and consumes roughly 1.5% of global energy production). CO2 (0.04% of air) is also very stable and as a consequence difficult to utilise (which is why it takes an extremely complex system like in photosynthesis to do so), in addition to being very rare in air. As far as I know, most plastics are still made from oil and or methane, so we're very far away from "making plastic out of thin air". I would be glad to be proven wrong here, but I doubt you can.


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#27 chakkman

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 03:15 PM

The main issue i have with the topic "climate change" is that everyone wants to discuss something which requires a deep knowledge of science. And, frankly, i also only see very few real scientists with enough knowledge to be able to judge the things associated with it as well. In the history of earth, there were ice ages, as well as periods of extreme hotness. Without any industrial, or man made influence. And, in these days, whenever it is hot for more than 2 weeks, we already want to see a pattern, or feel confirmed. I think, instead we should go back to some more serious science, and people who are able and willing to really get into the topic, instead of prophets of doom on every corner.


Edited by chakkman, 09 August 2018 - 03:16 PM.


#28 Outlooker

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 01:21 AM

Could you give me an example which plastic is actually made from air? Air is 78% Nitrogen, which is extremely difficult to utilize (the most common industrial process: Haber-Bosch-Process uses 500 °C and 200bar pressure and consumes roughly 1.5% of global energy production). CO2 (0.04% of air) is also very stable and as a consequence difficult to utilise (which is why it takes an extremely complex system like in photosynthesis to do so), in addition to being very rare in air. As far as I know, most plastics are still made from oil and or methane, so we're very far away from "making plastic out of thin air". I would be glad to be proven wrong here, but I doubt you can.

Than you will be glad soon.

See, plastics and hydrocarbon fuels are made from fossil oil and gas and coal because it is cheapest currently;

you can't beat just digging up coal and burn it or putting a pipe in the ground and having oil and gas flowing out freely economically.

You need to discern the energetic and the elemental (atomic) requirements.

For decades we have the technology to synthesize hydrocarbons from air - because C and O and H are there as CO2, O2, and water vapor H20.

There are a great many of ways to do this, you may google

methanol from air

fuel from air

For one concrete paper and method out of many, have this example:

https://pubs.acs.org...21/jacs.5b12354

 

Note that photosynthesis - the energetic and elemental basis for our current fossil fuels and food production - is already an evolved process to make "fuel from air".

 

But human technology can do it, too.

We are not doing it for energetic reasons: The processes are currently way less than 100% efficient; therefore, it makes no economic sense to burn the energy equivalent of, say, 100 kg coal or gas, to process air into

the energetic equivalent (as fuel) of 20 kg of hydrocarbons (80% energy waste).

There is obviously no reason to make 100 liter of oil from air using up the energy from 400 liters of fossil oil; of course, the fossil oil is used for energy or production of chemicals from directly.

 

This, however, changes when we have abundant sources of non-fossil energy, so we can afford to "waste" energy to implement a fuel/plastic-from-air-fuel/plastic-back-into-air cycle.

 

There are at least two major developments that may provide that energy abundance:

Renewable energies, if they would become both cheaper and widespread, provide "free" energy from solar radiation, and indirectly from solar radiation through capture of wind and wave energy.

The main hindrance to currently base our energy supply on this is the fact that we lack cheap ways to store that energy - energy supply must be stable, and wind, solar and wave energy is not providing energy as continuously as fossil fuels or nuclear plants.

But if the energy were cheap enough, we could afford fuel-from-air technology as storage system for the energy from renewables even if the energy conversion efficiency is much lower than 100%.

So, the electrical grid would connect all over the world wind, wave and solar renewable energy systems, and feed their electrical energy into fuel-from-air plants which produce hydrocarbons from air as a form to store energy.

If that energy later is needed, we can use this "battery" by burning the fuel for electricity generation as we already do now with fossil fuels.

Thus, the material cycle would be closed, the matter making up the fuel or air (or plastics or other chemicals made from it) would just cycle into and out of thin air.

 

But renewables are currently still to expensive to qualify as "free" energy. 

This could change with the advent of nuclear fusion.

Note that fusion already and for over half a century is technologically established:

Thermonuclear bombs work well and release quite a lot of energy from hydrogen fusion, but it is a bit much too rapidly, so it's not usable as an energy source to keep civilization going.

And we have fusors.

You may want to google:

fusor

fusor_plasma_Will.png

It's a nuclear fusion reactor. It works, it's fusion. It's old technology, and even some more gifted kids build then in their homes. You can today buy them or at least get ready-made kits to build them and order them by mail.

The issue is that the fusion in them takes more energy input than comes back out from the fusion process.

That issue is tried to overcome with the larger nuclear fusion research plants.

If it goes like scientists hope, we get fusion with a net energy surplus, and cheaply.

This would end all current and foreseeable energy  shortages, as hydrogen is practically limitlessly available; in water, and if you want to think bigger, the gas planets are made out of it, so that should last us a while;

thinking still more utopian, do not forget that stars are fusion reactors, and big balls of hydrogen. Actually, of course, we "eat" and live off fusion reactors since forever, because the matter we are made out of, the fossil fuel we currently use, and the whole ecosystem and organic matter generation is based on the energy received from our local big fusion reactor, the sun, mostly through photosynthesis: fusion-energy capture as sugars/biopolymers(cellulose etc.).

You may eat a sausage or cookie and think not much of it, but you are actually consuming energy from a big fusion reactor that fuels your life.

If it works out as hoped, we get practically "limitless and zero-cost" abundant energy.

And then we can waste that energy, what we cannot do as easily with (limited-supply) fossil fuels. And then we can afford to use the already available fuel-from-air technology.

 

 

Currently, cheap/free abundant energy from fusion is a huge political challenge: It would disrupt the economy and the geopolitical power order in many ways,

for example oil-producing countries and companies would stop having something to sell, whole countries like Russia, that live off almost on energy(oil/gas) exports would stop having noteworthy incomes and fall into economic and political disarray, which you would not want with a nuclear-weapons superpower.  So, oil/gas producers have an incentive to sabotage fusion research.

Less commonly known is that the USA also depends for it's economic and geopolitical power on keeping up the need for oil and gas, as it is US policy to enforce all oil and gas worldwide to be traded in Dollars, or deviators get bombed or regime change - thus the USA enforce a steady demand for Dollars in global circulation and trade, which allows the US to create more money/Dollars than equals their real economic growth while spreading the inflationary costs from this to everybody else (who have to use Dollars as a currency for trade and as global reserve currency, and therefore must bear the inflationary devaluation of the Dollar, but not the USA itself).

De Gaulle called this

https://en.wikipedia...itant_privilege

While I do not want to stray into explaining economics and geopolitical power based on it here, just let me give you a simplified idea how it works:

The US prints up dollars, and forces everybody else to accept them as currency (by killing all people who sell oil/gas/minerals in other currency than Dollars). This creates

1. a constant demand of Dollars, keeping it's value up

2. a growing amount of Dollars in saving accounts (in the form of US government debt/bonds held by other countries).

The advantage for the US is "free money" or "free stuff":

Imagine the world sells the US "hamburgers" for 1$ per hamburger.

In year one, the us may buy 1M$ in hamburgers, and pays them with printed-up (money/debt creation) 1M$.

Now the US has 1M hamburgers, and the maker of the hamburger (say, Japan) have 1M$ in cash or us debt/bonds.

Now the US creates more money, more dollars, than equals their real economic growth.

Say, the US creates 2% more money per year (so called "inflation target"), causing the dollar fall in value just as much.

You now can see that the US still has 1M hamburgers, the Japanese still 1M$(plus interest, but that is irrelevant as the real interest is lower than the inflation) - but because the Dollar has now less value, the Japanese could not any longer buy back all the 1M hamburgers they sold to the US with their 1M$ they got from the US as payment for them - in other words, the US got a lot of hamburgers for free from the Japanese!

Now, the hamburger example is just for simple demonstration of the problem.

Real sums are much larger, currently over 2000 billion$ imports p.a. for the US;

if you assume an inflation of 2% of the dollar, every year the US gets around 50 billion dollar in imports "for free" - and their real debt falls in the same order.

The net effect is a large advantage for the US - in just ten years they get 500 billion dollars for free in imports (if you take a aircraft battle group - carrier + fighter planes + submarines + destroyers to protect it at around 10 billion dollars in purchase cost, in ten years the rest of the world makes the US a "gift" of 50 aircraft carrier battle groups).

So, the US has a vast interest at keeping the world dependent on oil+gas and the Dollar, at least for now or until another scheme is established that lets the US keep its "Exorbitant privilege":

Therefore, there should exist powerful interests sabotaging both renewable as well as fusion energy research.

But, as I pointed out above, "free and cheap" energy would not only be politically, but economically most disruptive: Ultimately, almost every resource is limited and has costs because of energy costs.

If energy becomes free, everybody can afford a golden toilet. This, of course, would make a lot of people who are now rich (and powerful) suddenly poor, and therefore they, too, should resist such an energy development;

world gold reserves became as valuable as iron bars are now, for example. Thus, the real powers in the world can be expected to shift their investments and holdings of value as well as the structures they rely on for political and military  power and control, before they allow free abundant energy.


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#29 Sotha

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 01:53 AM

@Outlooker,
But who is the elite who conspires against the people? You say :(rulers, scientists, top management, actively governing elements of the upper class etc.)"

I belong to the science class/caste and know a lot of people in my class, internationally. Not me nor my colleagues are aware of any conspiracy. We didn't receive any letter from fellow conspirators inviting us aboard their little global scheme.

I see you really distrust elites, but please define the elite you distrust more accurately. I am a scientist, but I do not consider myself as elite. I do not know elites personally. The elites are always in the higher echelons of society. I wonder if even elites consider themselves as elites, but rather just ordinary people, working with their higher-than-usual salaries.

At least the science caste seems to be, from my point of view -as an insider-, out from the conspiracy. This is comforting, because the science class is responsible for the analysis of the global warming phenomenon.

If the elites are conspiring with climate change, they are conspiring without the science castes support. I do not think the end result would be convincing.. ;)

"I do not think it can be trusted, because scientific studies were messed with in the past, for example in medicine to sell drugs, or in nutrition, to sell sugar or cigarettes, and all this on such a grand scale that those lies became "scientific consensus"."

Please reconsider this sentiment. If we distrust science in general, we can just close the shop, abandon all hope in understanding the world, and go back to any religious dogma of our choosing. Game over, man. Game over.

Science is the only worthwhile tool for the humanity to know what is "probably" true and real.

"Probably", because it is a self healing process. Sometimes data gets wrong, sometimes interpretation of the data gets wrong, sometimes data is manipulated. But as an ongoing process, in time, science provides more accurate and more reliable information about the world. Theory could be totally wrong, but still predict the phenomenon pretty well. Later, the theory gets fixed when we know more.

It would be foolish to disregard science completely, because past mistakes or wrongdoings. A validation for this is that we enjoy large technological advances all the time: this means that the exploited phenomena are understood. This means that the underlying science is probably correct. This means the science caste is doing an awesome job. Science is not perfect, but it is the best thing we have to understand stuff. The only thing we have.

Thus, I would never allow a random internet discussion to influence my perceptions, unless there was some sound scientific evidence (from a reliable source and publication) to back the claims up.

This is the main problem of our era: people think saying so or believing so is as good as scientific data indicating so. They are not. Only scientifically proven evidence should be considered. Anyone can say anything and the truth value of the thing could be anything. With scientific data you can measure the truth-value of a statement.

Conspiracy theories are a waste of time like any speculation without the means to prove it experimentally. You could be wrong. You could be right. You cannot verify it. Speculate all you want but the truth value of your conclusions are as good as any random statement. It could be lot of fun to speculate, but do not expect to know more about the world afterwards.

Has anyone seen any phd thesis (with peer-reviewed published articles) on conspiracies or the psychology of it? That would be an interesting read.
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#30 Sotha

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 02:38 AM

Wait a minute! Let's follow this through.

"Elite", in general level, is a tribalistic term used of "othering." It means that:
*we are we, together.
*elites are them.
*they are the enemy, the conspirators, the source of our problems.
*We are pure and innocent. They are the ones to blame. We don't blame ourselves, we blame them. It is super-easy and acceptable among us. None of them is with us, so when we blame them, they are not around to defend themselves. We do not need to understand them.
*they should be defined loosely, so we can blame them more efficiently. We can easily choose from news when They yet again perpetrate crimes against us. When something bad happens, it wasn't us. It is them.
*if you're with them, you cannot be with us.

This othering has been used for ages. It prepares people to use violence against Them, because they are the enemy, not even human. If They have a name, a personality, a consciousness, same as us, we are reluctant to hurt them. But if they are just them, it is not a problem.

Othering is used a lot these days. It could be elites, immigrants, Finns, Swedes, Americans, Russians, blacks, whites, jews, nazis, Europian Union, gays, heteros, grandmothers, etc. Your group/echo chamber get to choose who it wants to be Them.

Does this make any sense? Howsabout thinking that we, the whole humanity (nobody excluded), are quite similar in our basic needs, and are quite similar in our virtues and vices? And we all are in the same boat (On the same planet) with the climate change. Against that backdrop, othering does not appear to be useful, if one wants to do good moral decisions.
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#31 Destined

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 04:24 AM

Than you will be glad soon.

See, plastics and hydrocarbon fuels are made from fossil oil and gas and coal because it is cheapest currently;

you can't beat just digging up coal and burn it or putting a pipe in the ground and having oil and gas flowing out freely economically.

You need to discern the energetic and the elemental (atomic) requirements.

For decades we have the technology to synthesize hydrocarbons from air - because C and O and H are there as CO2, O2, and water vapor H20.

There are a great many of ways to do this, you may google

methanol from air

fuel from air

For one concrete paper and method out of many, have this example:

https://pubs.acs.org...21/jacs.5b12354

 

Note that photosynthesis - the energetic and elemental basis for our current fossil fuels and food production - is already an evolved process to make "fuel from air".

 

But human technology can do it, too.

We are not doing it for energetic reasons: The processes are currently way less than 100% efficient; therefore, it makes no economic sense to burn the energy equivalent of, say, 100 kg coal or gas, to process air into

the energetic equivalent (as fuel) of 20 kg of hydrocarbons (80% energy waste).

There is obviously no reason to make 100 liter of oil from air using up the energy from 400 liters of fossil oil; of course, the fossil oil is used for energy or production of chemicals from directly.

 

This, however, changes when we have abundant sources of non-fossil energy, so we can afford to "waste" energy to implement a fuel/plastic-from-air-fuel/plastic-back-into-air cycle.

 

There are at least two major developments that may provide that energy abundance:

Renewable energies, if they would become both cheaper and widespread, provide "free" energy from solar radiation, and indirectly from solar radiation through capture of wind and wave energy.

The main hindrance to currently base our energy supply on this is the fact that we lack cheap ways to store that energy - energy supply must be stable, and wind, solar and wave energy is not providing energy as continuously as fossil fuels or nuclear plants.

But if the energy were cheap enough, we could afford fuel-from-air technology as storage system for the energy from renewables even if the energy conversion efficiency is much lower than 100%.

So, the electrical grid would connect all over the world wind, wave and solar renewable energy systems, and feed their electrical energy into fuel-from-air plants which produce hydrocarbons from air as a form to store energy.

If that energy later is needed, we can use this "battery" by burning the fuel for electricity generation as we already do now with fossil fuels.

Thus, the material cycle would be closed, the matter making up the fuel or air (or plastics or other chemicals made from it) would just cycle into and out of thin air.

Thank you for the article! Unfortunately, I currently do not have access to ACS publications, but the abstract is sufficient to see that it is still an interesting process. I am well aware that photosynthesis is pretty much the same. BUT: this method "only" produces methanol, which in itself is not plastic, but will need a lot of further treatment, before it will be useable as anything else than fuel and it still does not utilize nitrogen, which is much harder to split. Another point is that the main advantage of photosynthesis compared to any process achieved by humas is: it works at room temperature and only needs sunlight to work. Thus, while the process described in the article shows great potential, the energy requirement and the need for a Ruthenium catalyst, which may be limiting this to small scale lab-sized experiments as Ruthenium is quite rare (I would have to look up the exact numbers), make it more of a "proof of concept" thing than a major development for the future. However, this may still be interesting, especially, if it would be possible to replace the Ruthenium catalyst with Iron (which is very near in teh periodic table of elements) as Iron is very abundant and, consequently, cheap. Still, very interesting.

 

A lot of your statements are based on the assumption that we will have limitless and free energy, but I am not convinced that we will see that in the foreseeable future. And to contradict the conspiracy theory a bit more: if there was such a major breakthrough (like cold and controlled fusion, that yield more energy that it uses), I don't believe that it could be kept secret. It is like a cure for cancer or AIDS: If you would find such a cure, would you keep it locked up? If not, why would you assume that other people would. I know all the arguments about Big Pharma making more profit from treating symptoms than they would make from treating the cause, but still: the people that work there are humans like you and me and most of them work in the field, beacuse they want to find a cure for various deseases. In our age of being able to spread information with a mouse click, there would be people who would publish their findings, regardless of any repercussions they would face from their employer.

But I digress: I agree with many of your statements, under the assumption that we get free and unlimited, useable energy. But until then, I agree with Sotha that we are only speculating, which is interesting, but ultimately pointless. And like him I rather try to work on understanding and bettering the world as best as I can as a scientist. There is nothing else we can do, anyway.


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#32 Outlooker

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 05:02 AM

@Outlooker,
But who is the elite who conspires against the people? You say :(rulers, scientists, top management, actively governing elements of the upper class etc.)"

"Conspiring against the people" already assumes a lot which I think may cause confusion.

"Tricking" may be a more fitting word, because to rule effectively at least some people need to be deceived at least some of the time.

Imagine young children. They already have a world model in their heads. It's simpler and more wrong than that of adults.

Therefore, children cannot understand how and why adults "rule" them.

The same applies to mentally disabled people with low IQ, say, Down's syndrome sufferers.

From their perspective it is unexplainable how others (normals and better) achieve the successes they see them enjoy, and how they can rule over those low-IQers.

From their POV, it's a "conspiracy" of the non-Down's.

The same applies generally to cognitive ability and superior world models ("knowledge", insight capacity):

​Imagine two brothers, one seeing normally, the other congenitally blind.

They like to box each other for sport. The seeing brother, not surprisingly, wins every time. The blind brother now only can perceive the immediate outcome - he wonders why the seeing brother keeps winning, and envies him.

What he does not know, is that the seeing brother has a vast advantage over him, that is  much more significant than the immediate outcome of their boxing matches - for he can see the whole world, colors, things - a whole

world of perception and experience and learning and insight is open to him, that is completely closed to the blind brother, and the blind brother is unable to fathom this at all.

The same principle applies to significant differences in cognitive ability, for example in IQ100 people and Downies:

The low-IQ people sure notice that they somehow end up as losers in social competitions for resources, status, power and high-quality mates; but they cannot quite understand why, just as the blind brother cannot really completely

understand the magnitude of the comparative advantage his seeing brother enjoys.

​So, those cognitively more limited people do, and have done so, tend to come up with rationalizations, explanations why those others succeed: Curses, conspiracy, witchcraft, dark magic, voodoo, religious explanations - so called "magic thinking".

History of Whites is full of it, esoteric believers still do it, and in more primitive races, for example among Negroes, it is still most widespread.

Now, everybody with IQ100 can understand how chanceless those with IQ of 60 (widespread in Africa), 70, 80 are - even 90 is enough of a difference to produce great differences in insight capability and competitive outcomes.

That's the left part of the IQ bell curve.

The right part of it is even more dramatically making a difference in outcomes - people with IQs of 130+, or 150+, live cognitively "in another world" than those with IQ 100 - from the perspective of the IQ150s, those with IQ100 are just as

retarded like the IQ 60ers are to the IQ 100s.

Example:

Millions of people try their hand at the stock market to get rich. Almost nobody of them ever gets rich, most lose money. Warren Buffett, with a suspected IQ of 160+, made a personal fortune of about 80 billion dollars just by investing intelligently.

Social class, positions of power, and wealth, are all highly correlated with IQ.

Sure, IQ is not everything, it only measures certain aspects of reasoning ability; but is indispensable, and just like health or strength, more is always better.

 

So, there is a "conspiracy" of the few cognitively gifted people in the socio-sexual competition all people fight with everybody.

 

I belong to the science class/caste and know a lot of people in my class, internationally. Not me nor my colleagues are aware of any conspiracy. We didn't receive any letter from fellow conspirators inviting us aboard their little global scheme.

And yet you defeated your competitors/enemies in the social war for status, resources and mates: By being smarter than many others, you rose over them socially, in power, in wealth, in access to quality mates.

You overcame your competitors in school, university etc. - which are battle grounds where those who a smarter defeat the less able, to be selected in positions of privilege.

 

You may not have been aware of it now - but you murdered, killed off, exterminated other humans! This will greatly surprise you, as you never thought that true.

Sure, you did not murder in the legal sense.

But by defeating the inferior competing humans in school, university and in the general struggle for jobs/resources/status/mates you forced all the people who lost against you in those competitions in inferior positions:

Wherever you are now, whatever you have now, if you were to vanish suddenly, another human, the guy just slightly less competent than you, would have your nice job, nice home, nice car, nice mate, nice children. By being successful

you took all that away from him, and he now has to make do with an inferior home, inferior car, inferior mate, inferior children or no children at all.

Life quality and social status are strong predictors for health and life span. Being socially defeated causes stress, and from that illness and death.

https://en.wikipedia...i/Social_defeat

https://en.wikipedia...d_loser_effects

By having successfully reproduced, you took that chance from all other men (as every woman only has a limit in time and number in terms of the children she can produce), and at least one man will not have the children you had with your mate; therefore, you exterminated the potential children of that man,and therefore, suppressed the spread of his genes to advantage the spread of your own ones.

The guy in the social pecking order just beneath you will have a lower-quality mate, and therefore lower-quality offspring, disadvantaging his children and advantaging your children even in the next generation and all the future.

The negative effect of your success over your socio-sexual competitors goes all the way down the social ladder, until some way down, there are men who will never reproduce at all because you did, because you won over them - and in a certain sense,

you not only killed those men by your success, you outright exterminated them, because their genetic line ends with them.

 

Conspiracy is an imprecise word - but you surely have friends, family and generally allies of your own social, that is, cognitive class, and you help each other out - in the search for a good job, or you share tips on where to get a better job,

or investment or tax tips etc. etc. - and you keep this assistance to your own social circles, your own "allies"  - and you do not even care to extend this assistance to people of significantly lower class than yourself,

because you do not expect they could ever reciprocate, so your investment in them as allies would be wasted/lost.

From the perspective of those much lower in cognitive/social class this amounts indeed as you and your "pals" conspiring against them.

 

And now, of course, the same effects apply for those above you in social and cognitive class, because you are not at the top, far from it.

Those that are much more higher up in cognitive ability, power, wealth have their own social circles, their own issues - but they move billions of dollars and "rule the world", instead merely doing solid work as a scientist.

On top of that there is also a very significant knowledge difference: From their socially and financially elevated positions they enjoy knowledge and perspectives on economy and society that you lack, for they have to deal with much

grander issues and wide-ranging problems than you have. Your specialization in education and ability, most of your insights and knowledge, are limited to your field of science. Of almost everything else you know little or nothing.

You cannot quite concretely comprehend how to rule a country, or how to make billions from investing. It's weird and confusing from your perspective, and you cannot quite understand it. Otherwise you would do the ruling and

make those billions of dollars yourself, instead of bothering with your job, wouldn't you?

And, just like you will keep your best tips and insights to your own social-cognitive class, your family and friends, those far above you socially and cognitively and financially will do just the same: You will not advise underclass members

on how to become a successful scientist instead of, say, a cook, and how to profit most from it socially and financially, just as billionaires will not talk to you about tricks to make a few millions more easily by figuring out some investment

insight - which you probably feel is unfair, and kind of a "conspiracy" against you.

 

 

I see you really distrust elites, but please define the elite you distrust more accurately. I am a scientist, but I do not consider myself as elite. I do not know elites personally. The elites are always in the higher echelons of society. I wonder if even elites consider themselves as elites, but rather just ordinary people, working with their higher-than-usual salaries.

As pointed out above, you may underestimate how superior those few significantly above you are, just like Down's syndrome sufferers cannot understand how it is to be "normal".

It's organically impossible to perceive,   to experience what one lacks the neural machinery or/and the knowledge of.

At least the science caste seems to be, from my point of view -as an insider-, out from the conspiracy. This is comforting, because the science class is responsible for the analysis of the global warming phenomenon.

Conspiracy is, as pointed out above, an too inexact word. There are many complex incentives, conscious and unconscious, to selfishly act for one's own benefit.

Many scientists need money from somewhere, research grants etc. This is delivered from the government, which may be ideologically biased; or companies, which have an interest in certain research results as basis for political arguments to further their economic interests, for example pharmaceutical companies, or pesticide or food companies. Known or unknowingly biased from this, many scientists make sure the outcome of the research is according the interests of the people who pay them - for scientists whose work sabotages the interests of their employers and money suppliers are soon out of their jobs, and fall in social status, must fear to lose their homes, car, mates, or not have enough money for getting children etc.

I have myself bent experimental outcomes to please the institute I was employed at, otherwise I would have lost my job, or would have get difficulties getting my degree.

Just as journalists, most scientists are actually prostitutes, that must report so that their superiors/clients are pleased. This is not universally so, but common enough, especially in scientific fields of immediate political or commercial import.

If the elites are conspiring with climate change, they are conspiring without the science castes support. I do not think the end result would be convincing.. ;)

As I said above, most scientists can be openly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously bought, at least influenced.

Scientists are human first. Humans have human needs and weaknesses.

I do not want to open that can of worms:

https://en.wikipedia...ing_controversy

But obviously there is no scientific consensus; some scientists have one opinion on a matter, other scientist the opposite opinion. This may be so due to purely scientific reasons, or due to social, ideological or financial influences.

And, unlike chemistry, medicine, or climate science, are not "hard" sciences where you can easily run experiments and get clear results. You cannot easily cheat or come to different results in hard science or math or engineering,

because you get reliable results and can prove/demonstrate everything in experiments. This you cannot do with "soft" sciences, which are actually, because of this reason, no real sciences.

 

Please reconsider this sentiment. If we distrust science in general, we can just close the shop, abandon all hope in understanding the world, and go back to any religious dogma of our choosing. Game over, man. Game over.
No, it's not so dire. Science is just another field of socio-economic, political conflict, which is, like all other things, abused to get advantages in the socio-economic war.

There is nothing of this abuse of science in math or chemistry or physics - because it's not feasible to trick hard sciences. But soft sciences are different; you can either have a synthesized molecule or not,

or have a working solar cell or not; but there is much more guesswork and interpretation in answering the question if a certain drug is effective, or if a certain social or economic policy works well or not.

 

Science is the only worthwhile tool for the humanity to know what is "probably" true and real.

Yes. But science can not be applied to everything easily, for example "law", or "social science", psychology much of medicine etc. is not a true science, because you cannot easily use experimental falsification of hypotheses.


 Science is not perfect, but it is the best thing we have to understand stuff. The only thing we have.

Yes. But again - science is done by humans, which are limited by human nature. Biases and interests are worked into science, in politically critical fields at least.

To repeat the idea above: You will not find two chemists holding significant different opinions about, say, carbon and it's chemistry; but you find a lot of scientists in soft sciences, like medicine, nutrition, psychology, sociology etc.

- and climate science - who hold very opposing views.

Science as a method is great, but humans are incapable so far to apply scientific rigor equally in all fields of study.

Thus, I would never allow a random internet discussion to influence my perceptions, unless there was some sound scientific evidence (from a reliable source and publication) to back the claims up.

There are quite a lot of climate scientists doubting that  global warming is a great, unusual or dangerous phenomenon.

But scientists have employers, and therefore most scientists are not really free. Try doing science that proves that fossil fuels cause global warming and is dangerous to humanity in Saudi Arabia or Russia; you will quickly lose your job;

or try to find scientific proof for things the sponsor of your job at a US university does not like, and you will lose your job as well.

Science is not really free, at least not in certain politically critical fields - because real scientific results tend to be true, and are therefore very dangerous politically.

Only scientifically proven evidence should be considered. 

No. If I have a company that makes drug X, and scientist find that X is worse than drug Y, I will know this is the truth, but I will fight this truth. I will try to come up finding scientists who get different results, pay them well, if they "find"

evidence that X is better. Perhaps you are a bit naive, or at least a very honest person? Past evidence plentifully proves that the world, that humans, and human science, does not work so idealistically.

If X being perceived publicly as best makes me a billionaire, and X being perceived publicly as inferior makes me poor again, because I own X, then I will do everything in my power, legal or not, to make sure that X gets the scientific results I want,

even if the science is manipulated or even outright wrong.

 

Conspiracy theories are a waste of time like any speculation without the means to prove it experimentally.

Yes. Non-falsifiability is per definition unscientific. I call it the "dragon in the cellar problem": Someone says there is a dragon in the basement, so I go looking for it and see nothing. The person says the dragon is invisible. So I throw

some flour in the air in the cellar, which should settle on the invisible dragon and expose his outlines. Then the person says the dragon is permeable to flour, etc. etc.

Conspiracy theories, however, are used as a propaganda tool to kill certain facts and ideas in the public sphere. Example:

Some guy has made, by chance, a photo of a secret military aircraft. The photo is leaked, on all websites. It cannot be censored anymore. Now the government must make it a conspiracy theory, by "information pollution" - the same picture is modified in many ways, and republished by gov. agencies in many forms, in many media, with many a conflicting story. For example that it is aliens, or visitors from inner earth, which is actually hollow, you know, and contains a whole civilization etc. etc. Much nonsense is produced, which now stands equally besides the original information, which now is only one little part of all the information, which makes it seem doubtful and irrelevant. Because the original report is now in public associated with aliens, flat or hollow earth theories, everybody laughs at the stupid "conspiracy theory", and the fact that there has been indeed a critical piece of secret information is removed from public consciousness.

 

 

You could be wrong. You could be right. You cannot verify it. 

Exactly. With global warming, we cannot know. And therefore we should not be willing to accept huge tax increases - nothing else is the goal of the global warming political propaganda - just like that.

I am also not willing to accept huge tax increases to defend against evil space invaders or the evil dwarves from inner Earth just like that, even if many would like to take my money to this end and provide many graphs and pictures and

measurement results to make me accept it.

 

Has anyone seen any phd thesis (with peer-reviewed published articles) on conspiracies or the psychology of it? That would be an interesting read.

You seem too naive from my point of view. You could just as well expect a phd thesis on getting away with murder undetected.

You seem to have a good grasp and respect for science, but seem not to understand that people will lie, cheat, kill to further their interests, and that science is not immune to this.

For example, if I had the chancee to kill a million people without anybody noticing to get a billion dollars I would kill those people.

Now imagine what I would do to divert the scientific process.

You may say I am a "bad" person, but I think I am just a normal, real person, and that you perhaps have very weird moral limitations.

History and current affairs prove that real people are more like me, not like  perhaps some people wish people would be like because it would make everything easier, clearer.

 

 


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#33 Outlooker

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 05:47 AM

Thank you for the article! Unfortunately, I currently do not have access to ACS publications,

 

but the abstract is sufficient to see that it is still an interesting process. I am well aware that photosynthesis is pretty much the same. BUT: this method "only" produces methanol, which in itself is not plastic

Don't worry about the science, it is settled already, the only research is about conversion efficiency anymore.

There are numerous pilot plants, and even companies:

http://carbonengineering.com/

It's just economically energy limited, not capability limited.

 

, but will need a lot of further treatment, before it will be useable as anything else than fuel

Yes, but all of this we can already do. It just takes energy. Once you have hydrocarbons, we can already convert them into each other. It just takes energy. The know-how is already available.

 

and it still does not utilize nitrogen, which is much harder to split.

It also just takes energy. If that is available without limit, we can get all the nitrogen from air for products we ever need.

Nature is doing, it, too. Quite more efficiently than humans, in the form of bacteria that live on plant roots and make the nitrogen from air chemically accessible to the plants:

https://en.wikipedia...iki/Root_nodule

This process is where plants usually get their N from to synthesize proteins etc. It's highly efficient, and working under standard conditions (T, pressure) compared with Haber-Bosch. Catalysts/enzymes are chemical "magic"...

 

Another point is that the main advantage of photosynthesis compared to any process achieved by humas is: it works at room temperature and only needs sunlight to work. 

Thus, while the process described in the article shows great potential, the energy requirement

Exactly. Again: ENERGY is all that holds humanity back. If fusion works, it will allow terraforming, carry us into the solar system, allow us to colonize other planets.
Once we unlock free energy from fusion, we UNLOCK EVERYTHING.

 

and the need for a Ruthenium catalyst, which may be limiting this to small scale lab-sized experiments as Ruthenium is quite rare

It's a CATALYST. It will not be used up, only abraded. It can be basically 100% recycled. It's therefore irrelevant if it is currently rare.

Asteroids are literally huge balls full of rare metals of all kinds. With enough energy, we can robot-mine these for all rare elements we could ever need. But even now, we not even need to. We already have all elements.

We just need free, cheap energy.

 

A lot of your statements are based on the assumption that we will have limitless and free energy, but I am not convinced that we will see that in the foreseeable future.

We cannot know, for it's the future. But IF we get the energy, then what we have seen until now in science and technology will be nothing compared with what we will do then.

Even now, almost all human affairs are only limited by energy, transport, agriculture, travel, space exploration, human living standards development etc. etc.

 

And to contradict the conspiracy theory a bit more: if there was such a major breakthrough (like cold and controlled fusion, that yield more energy that it uses), I don't believe that it could be kept secret.

Believing or not is not important, the question is if it is possible. And I think it is. For example, a whole industry and millions of people working directly and indirectly on the B2 bomber or F117 could be managed to keep those secret

for decades. So it is with other things, too. Exact nuclear weapons design is still secret. After 70 years.

Documents from WW2 and even WW2 are still classified. Probably for good reason. That's now secret stuff kept secret for over 100 years.

 

It is like a cure for cancer or AIDS: If you would find such a cure, would you keep it locked up?

Depends on my interests, but if I had invested in a treatment for AIDS, for example, I would make sure a cure for AIDS will be kept locked up.

Would you burn a truckload, or rather trainload of your own money?

 

If not, why would you assume that other people would. I know all the arguments about Big Pharma making more profit from treating symptoms than they would make from treating the cause, but still: the people that work there are humans like you and me and most of them work in the field, beacuse they want to find a cure for various deseases.

Perhaps. I understand people are different in what they deem best.

But when those researchers find a definite cure, they are making themselves to a large degree jobless, unemployed and poor.

Whole research institutes will be closed down, because there is no other cause that needs research institutes of that kind; the directors and lead researchers alone would lose millions in incomes over just a few years.

 

In our age of being able to spread information with a mouse click, there would be people who would publish their findings, regardless of any repercussions they would face from their employer.

Perhaps, but this is the old struggle between sword and shield:

With current government internet control infrastructure, the dissemination of information can be also today filtered or altered automatically in real time on global scale.

Don't expect you can simply upload and spread information the Western powers, for example, know about and don't want you to send others.

 

 And like him I rather try to work on understanding and bettering the world as best as I can as a scientist. 

And exactly this is not as trivially possible as it may seem, because the bettering of the world for some or even most in many aspects may result in a worsening of the world for others.

It, again, comes down to conflicts of interests, which are ultimately a power struggle, which is ultimately a struggle in cognitive ability, which is ultimately a struggle in genetic quality.

But even without conflicts:

Most of the catastrophic results in history result from some people attempting to "bettering the world".

The Nazis tried to kill the Jews to that end, from their perspective they were the good guys doing a good thing.

And they were not stopped by "goodness" - they were stopped by superior application of violence, of power, of superior power to hurt, make suffer, kill and destroy.

 


"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato
"When outmatched... cheat." Batman

#34 Sotha

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 05:48 AM

Hm... I am starting to pick up interesting value differences. Would never kill even one person for 1M money, because I would have to live with my conscience afterwards. I strive for truth and integrity and for what I perceive to be right. I think most people I know seem to be like that, and it seems to be a norm.

Usually if I identify people with psychopathic tendencies, I withdraw from them, because they are selfish and dangerous if their agenda conflicts with mine. (I've encountered a few cases.)

I do not crave for more money, because I think I have enough of it for basic needs and happiness. I suppose the situation would be different if I was starving to death, then it might be a different matter to kill. So I guess you are right that desperation causes people to be more easily influenced.

But scientists are usually well off, so they are not that easy to influence.
In my current state, if my employer would require of me something conflicting with my values, I would not do it. Same applies for my colleagues, typically. There might be a few spineless exceptions, but those are easy to spot eventually. If their science is dubious, they get a brand pretty quickly. Mistakes are ok and part of the business, but cheating is not. If you lose you credibility once, it is impossible to get it back.

This socio-economic war and extermination of gene lines sounds a bit exaggeration, too. At least it didn't feel like fighting a war sitting in the lectures, bored witless. ;) If it really was a struggle against my fellow students, why did we then help each other out? Because we were there together and collaborating was beneficial for us all. The sum was greater than the parts. That's how science works best: you have a bunch different field specialist who play together for a common goal, rather than struggling against each other.

Also, I do not identify with the term naive, because I consider myself one of the cynical people I know. But there are levels in cynicism as well. I have clearly met my match. ;)

The society is not a struggle or war. It is a common well-being project. Of course not all are as well off as everyone else, but there has always been mechanisms to help those who are at the bottom of the society. The systems could be better, sure, but the fact they exist is a sound argument against this society is war -idea. If society was a war, those who end up at the bottom would be just allowed to die off. But that is not human. It is human to try to help them.
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#35 Outlooker

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 06:02 AM

This othering has been used for ages. It prepares people to use violence against Them, because they are the enemy, not even human. If They have a name, a personality, a consciousness, same as us, we are reluctant to hurt them. But if they are just them, it is not a problem.

Othering is used a lot these days. It could be elites, immigrants, Finns, Swedes, Americans, Russians, blacks, whites, jews, nazis, Europian Union, gays, heteros, grandmothers, etc. Your group/echo chamber get to choose who it wants to be Them.

 

https://en.wikipedia.../Dehumanization

Works indeed well. Makes killing, directly and indirectly, easier, when killing is necessary.

Still, even if many do not like this reality, reality is such that the superior killers live and prosper, the inferior killers are extinguished or enslaved.

Does this make any sense? Howsabout thinking that we, the whole humanity (nobody excluded), are quite similar in our basic needs, and are quite similar in our virtues and vices? And we all are in the same boat (On the same planet) with the climate change. Against that backdrop, othering does not appear to be useful, if one wants to do good moral decisions.

No, the opposite.

You see, the more similar organisms, that includes of course people and even social niches, are, the more they need exactly the same things (food, mates, living space), therefore get into conflict and even must kill each other to get these things from each other.

Example:

A bird and a lion can ignore each other, they live on different diets, in different places, and need different mates for reproduction.

But two of the same birds get into war with each other:

They require the same food resources, the same living spaces, the same mates.

 

It is the same with humans.

Your immediate enemies are not Bill Gates or the homeless person in the street. You can ignore both.

Your immediate problem are people more like yourself: Other scientists, other middle class humans, other rather well-off men, for those compete, that is, are at war with you, for exactly the same things you need:

The same class of job, the same class of house, the same class of mate.


 


"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato
"When outmatched... cheat." Batman

#36 Outlooker

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 07:05 AM

Hm... I am starting to pick up interesting value differences. Would never kill even one person for 1M money, because I would have to live with my conscience afterwards.

I think you are living in a fairy-land of ignorance, and I think I can prove it to you:

First, almost all people that murdered and killed in the past, be it in civil or military affairs though they were incapable to kill. They were proven wrong, their predictions of their own capacities and preferences turned out different than they thought.

Most of the wrong prediction of their kill ability resulted from a sheltered life: If you have enough and are content, indeed there is not much need to kill or murder.

If the environment and circumstances change, readiness to kill changes as well.

Have you starved almost to death already? Can you be really sure you would not attempt to murder another person for food in this situation?

Lower intensity example:

Would you eat human flesh?

Those people did not think they would if you asked them, but they did:

https://en.wikipedia...balism_revealed

If you are in dangerous situations to your life that you are kind of evolutionary prepared for, your thinking and feeling changes.

 

Another, more fundamental example, which should demonstrate to you that you would kill other humans:

https://en.wikipedia...nk_of_Carneades

 

You may argue that these are extreme examples.

But regular existence is also a battle for survival in socio-sexual and economic survival. It's a lower intensity immediately, spread out over time, but still human existence, the meaning of human life, at least in practical terms,

is to kill other humans, because not everybody can successfully reproduce, and not everybody that does with the genetically most superior mates.

Therefore, successful survival and reproduction means extermination of other humans.

Love is a selection mechanism to kill off inferior life, for inferior life is not loved.

 

 

 

I strive for truth and integrity and for what I perceive to be right. I think most people I know seem to be like that, and it seems to be a norm.

Usually if I identify people with psychopathic tendencies, I withdraw from them, because they are selfish and dangerous if their agenda conflicts with mine. (I've encountered a few cases.)

Why are so many people existing that rape, murder, steal, cheat?

I think for the same reasons that other traits exist in humans, for example social anxiety:

This were the exact traits that allowed our ancestors to survive and reproduce successfully. That is the reason we now have those psychological traits, just as the reason we have such nice hands or eyes is that simply all others

who lacked them died out. It's that simple, it seems, evolutionary.

If those people exist, their traits must have been highly successful in evolutionary natural and sexual selection.

These traits, then, are exactly what human nature is, are exactly what allowed human life to survive. As such, I cannot think that those traits are "bad", or "dangerous" generally - dangerous and bad for the defeated human competition in

the war for survival and reproduction, but those traits of selfishness etc. are what made human life possible in the first place - otherwise it would not exist.

 

Consider altruism. Selflessness.

It can't exist.

Because, as metaphor, "the cow that gives her milk freely to everybody who asks for or needs it first kills her calf and then herself."

Therefore, all apparent altruism must be deception, or even self-deception.
And this is what evolutionary psychology found.

People pretend socially to be highly altruistic and moral, to signal a high value as potential ally for reciprocation of investment (you help me, I help you).

They even self-deceive to be altruistic, because this self-deception allows for even better deception of others.

If you watch, however, what they are privately really doing, you find selfishness. Pure selfishness; but because we are a social species, humans profit from signalling, and even self-deceivingly believing about oneself, that they

are altruistic.

J.P. Morgan famously said:

quote-a-man-always-has-two-reasons-for-d

 

 

 

I do not crave for more money, because I think I have enough of it for basic needs and happiness. 
But scientists are usually well off, so they are not that easy to influence.

Here in Germany we have a rather large "academic proletariat" - most academics in universities are paid only pocket money. Job offerings are badly paid and time-limited. From this results an intense competition among scientists for jobs,

for otherwise they lack the money to start a family etc.

This is exploited economically and politically, and therefore scientists are often extremely biased, just like journalists. It's report things your employer likes, or you will find yourself out on the street, living of social welfare money,

suffering low social status; and anyway for every scientist and journalist with a real job there are hundreds just waiting to get his job. This gives great power to the employers and politicians (who decide on many levels who gets employed from tax monies for scientific public jobs).

There is not even a need for open "conspiracy" - the journalists and scientists know all too well how to behave, or they find themselves unemployed, which basically means for them defeat evolutionary in natural and sexual selection, that is, basically evolutionary extinction. This causes a kind of secret, but highly intense pressure on journalists and scientists to "behave well" according to the interests of the higher-ups.

 

 

In my current state, if my employer would require of me something conflicting with my values, I would not do it. Same applies for my colleagues, typically.

I cannot easily believe this. Human nature and all my experiences tell me differently. "Values" do not let one keep one car, house, family, does not feed one's kids.

Therefore, I think you seem to have lived a very happy, sheltered life, isolated from harsh reality.

 

If it really was a struggle against my fellow students, why did we then help each other out?

Maybe because you were in a situation in which you already all were already quite winners? Because it made sense to invest in others, because you then could expect reciprocation if you were to need assistance yourself?

This is wise investment to make allies, and "tit for that" - if you had noticed that one of your fellow students were really much dumber than you, so he would highly unlikely prove beneficial for you in the future, would you have

invested in him as much as in a potentially more useful, as more capable, future ally?

And you certainly did not invest, "help out", those of significantly lower class compared to you, say, unemployed alcoholics or people with IQ lower than 90 etc. - for you instinctively, automatically, emotionally did the "social math" and 

decided that any investment in them would cause you greater costs than gain, so you avoided those people, and only sought the proximity and socialization  with people more like yourself or even better ones.

So, your "helping out" was just very skilled social investment in potential future allies that probably would prove useful to have, useful to have them  a reciprocational  debt to you.

 

Same with friendship:

People seek only friends that are on their social and cognitive level.

There are no friendships between people of different social class or different cognitive class, because one side would be envious, the other be disgusted, bored or disgraced.

 

That's how science works best: you have a bunch different field specialist who play together for a common goal, rather than struggling against each other.

I doubt this. In reality, all the times, people in social settings "act" all the time, and compete for social status. The forms that this can take, however, are very diverse.

I would expect that members of a research group try to compete with each other over being clever, resourceful, insightful. As with everything, there is a hierarchy,  a struggle for social status.

You sure would have hated to be seen as the most boring/dumb/unproductive in your group,

or would have enjoyed to earn prestige, that is, social status in your group, for becoming knows as especially competent etc.

And, of course, nobody of your group would acknowledge this. The eternal struggle for social status is a taboo to mention. But it's in effect, all the time.

 

The society is not a struggle or war. It is a common well-being project.

I do not think so. People compete, the losers get more diseased, get lower quality of life, get less preferable mates, or even no mates at all, or are even directly driven into death or suicide.

Therefore, this is a war. It is just very well camouflaged, and it less unpleasant to the losers than ever, due to social welfare, electronic entertainment, alcohol etc.

 

If society was a war, those who end up at the bottom would be just allowed to die off.

I think differently, again.

I think killing of the bottom would be wasteful, for they are necessary for the upper class to exploit and subdue the middle class.

I wrote this elsewhere, here my socio-economic basic model:

Spoiler

 

 

 

But that is not human. It is human to try to help them.

Human is what humans do.

History is very bloody, as is the present. Full of war, genocide, rape, torture, murder, war-like competition for resources, status and reproduction.

Certainly on different levels of conflict intensity dependent on geographical location, the industrial countries with the lowest intensity.

 


"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato
"When outmatched... cheat." Batman

#37 Outlooker

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 08:32 AM

Hm... I am starting to pick up interesting value differences. Would never kill even one person for 1M money, because I would have to live with my conscience afterwards.

I just remembered this argument:

 

Do you want to exist?

Do you think it is "right" that you exist?

 

Do you condemn rape or murder?

If yes, if one of your ancestors raped and murdered to make you exist today, do you feel like you should not exist or even kill yourself for your moral convictions?

 

If you think no,

then what if somebody today murders and rapes to produce offspring in competition for reproduction with other humans?

Should the resultant child be killed? Because, it is an "immorally" produced child?

 

I conclude from this that only success matters, and all morals is just illusion, deception, self-deception, a propaganda and political tool.

Morals always seem to work against the self-interest of at least one involved party. Perhaps the more naive, more stupid, or more slave-mentality-prone party.

It's moral to boldly die and kill in war, but suicide due to chronic pain or murder for self-interest is forbidden.

It's moral this or that, but all morality seems only to get the moral actor to get the brown end of the stick.

 

As we are on a game-related forum, let me post a game-related quote; you may substitute "honor" for "morals":

71193b691c3ae442e70c2e773e92756c.jpg


"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato
"When outmatched... cheat." Batman

#38 Sotha

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 10:31 AM

"I think you are living in a fairy-land."
"I think you seem to have lived a very happy, sheltered life, isolated from harsh reality."

This is probably correct. I am aware that in many places life is much more difficult than in civilized western countries, and in those place people probably have to do horrible stuff to survive. And nature is harsh indeed, where the weak are given no chance. Together, we have built these societies, safe havens of comfort.

I am glad I've given the opportunity to live in this relative comfort, where life-and-death struggles are not there. The original purpose of the OP was to wonder how we can sustain this wonderland, even if climate change causes a crisis.

I also think that I would be prone for severe depression if I would perceive the world without values, selflessness, friendship, justice, morals, and all the other good stuff that makes life worth living.

So, looks like we live in different worlds and that's fine. I'll prefer my side of thinking as it seems to me more... beautiful. I am not sure what the benefit would be in obtaining even more cynical and cruel perception of the same world. I guess we get to choose our own interpretation of thw world we inhabit. But thanks again for the discussion, it is interesting to see different point of views.
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#39 Springheel

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 10:38 AM

Do you condemn rape or murder?

If yes, if one of your ancestors raped and murdered to make you exist today, do you feel like you should not exist or even kill yourself for your moral convictions?

 

 

Why would you assume anyone should be responsible for or bear the consequences for immoral behaviour committed by someone else? 

 

If you think no,

then what if somebody today murders and rapes to produce offspring in competition for reproduction with other humans?

Should the resultant child be killed? Because, it is an "immorally" produced child?

 

Again, morality is based on the actions you take, not the actions of other people.  If you murder and rape, then you deserve the punishment, not anyone else.

 

 

I conclude from this that only success matters,

 

 

It depends on your definition of success.  Morality, broadly defined, is a code of behaviour designed to increase the survival rate of social groups.  All social groups in the animal kingdom have at least rudimentary forms of morality, and everyone in the social group benefits from it.  The fact that you live in a society that considers murder immoral results in you being massively less likely to be murdered, or to suffer the murder of those you love.  You have that benefit, even if you flout the rules and murder someone yourself.

 

It doesn't take a genius to discover that the best possible option for any individual is to have a society where everyone ELSE has to follow the code, but you don't.  You get all the benefits but none of the drawbacks.  That's why consequences are needed--either legal consequences, or social ones (shaming, guilt, etc).  It's why empathy is so important.  It's why justice needs to be "seen to be done"--because if enough people get the idea that they don't have to follow the rules, the rules collapse and suddenly no one has any benefits anymore.  In a sense, it's a bit like "herd immunity" from vaccines. 

 

That's also why we have such a desire for "ultimate justice", so that even if you THINK you can get away with something, there is an invisible eye in the sky that will see it and punish you later.  That has been a tremendously useful tool in many societies.


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#40 Abusimplea

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 10:58 AM

I conclude from this that only success matters, and all morals is just illusion, deception, self-deception, a propaganda and political tool.

That only depends on how you prefer your society to be.

Check whether you would like to live in a society, that consists largely of people exhibiting the character traits and ethics that you think to be the "best" - but assume that most people differ in actual opinions a lot from you.



#41 Outlooker

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 11:16 AM

I also think that I would be prone for severe depression if I would perceive the world without values, selflessness, friendship, justice, morals, and all the other good stuff that makes life worth living.
So, looks like we live in different worlds and that's fine. I'll prefer my side of thinking as it seems to me more... beautiful.

Doesn't this mean that you perceive reality through a filter, so you see a prettified illusion instead of reality?

 

I am not sure what the benefit would be in obtaining even more cynical and cruel perception of the same world.

Not cynical. Precise, truthful. Attempting to recognize reality as it really is (which is difficult and probably impossible, because our senses and mental organs only evolved to get our genes better into the next generation;

our brains are modeling computers, that construct a simplified internal model of the outside world - reality - and then use this model to make survival-enhancing predictions, that is, our brains are prediction machines;

whenever something happened that we consciously or unconsciously did not correctly predict, we are surprised, or even shocked, and thereby motivated to attempt to update, correct our internal world model to enable  better predictions. This seems true for  things so diverse like one's own body movement, social interactions, or even stock market predictions, or looking for and trying to exploit business opportunities, or something so basic like trying to get sex. We try to make sense out of everything to better predict and therefore better obtain resources/survive/reproduce.

 

The benefit I think I try to get out of this is to attempt to get a more realistic view of reality, "truth" if you want to call it that, just for the sake of it - perhaps my desire is just another evolved instinct to further survival and reproduction.

I am certain I welcome unpleasurable truth over pleasurable illusion. I just hate to be cheated, even by my own mind, my own feelings, instincts, my own being. I want to know the truth, the "real" truth.

I guess we get to choose our own interpretation of thw world we inhabit. But thanks again for the discussion, it is interesting to see different point of views.

Yes, thank you, too.

And I want to add that I am not sure I am right in anything, I might as well be mistaken, but I just want to attempt to understand reality; and much of it, explained by the "conventional" models and explanations makes just not really sense to me. There is too much conflicting information and hypocrisy, too much difference between what people say and preach and what they are actually doing.


"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato
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#42 Sotha

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 11:33 AM

"Doesn't this mean that you perceive reality through a filter, so you see a prettified illusion instead of reality?"

Yes. And it also means that you have your own filter, too. I choose brighter filter than what you have chosen. Everyone experiences the reality through their own filter, and -make no mistake- nobody runs without filters.

So in a sense, you can pretty much choose how life tastes by choosing your filters. Why choose a dark one when you could choose a bright one? I know one can be forced.to use dark ones if something horrible happens, but one can learn bright filters in time, if motivation exists.

I guess the world, in reality, is neither good or bad. Stuff happens and you attach the story, whether good or bad.

The good story is not always the truth, but it could be. Similarly, thinking everything to be sourced from negativity and cruelty, could just as well be an error. Another those things of which truth-valuenwe cannot define. But it makes a nice discussion and perhaps we find out new avenues of thinking. Or maybe not.
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#43 Outlooker

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 02:40 PM

 

Why would you assume anyone should be responsible for or bear the consequences for immoral behaviour committed by someone else? 

Again, morality is based on the actions you take, not the actions of other people.  If you murder and rape, then you deserve the punishment, not anyone else.

Steal a car; if caught, the car is taken away from the thief. He cannot enjoy the fruits of his law breaking; removing the success from the thief is part of punishment.

Rape and produce a child; the child is not killed, the evolutionary, reproductive success is not taken away from the rapist; removing the success from the rapist is not part of punishment.

The rapist's success therefore persists, and he is more successful than a law-abiding man who never achieved reproduction and thus is evolutionary exterminated.

The rapist's genetic traits live on in future generations, the moral man's genes died with him.

This "moral" problem exists because we tend to perceive rapist and his child as separate beings; in reality, they are closely connected.

Morality exterminated the moral man. Morality therefore was deadly,  like a disease, therefore "bad".

Immorality let the rapist reproduce successfully. Immorality enabled life, therefore immorality here was "good".

The same applies to murder.

If a murderer reproduced, but prevented his victim from doing so, the murderer is evolutionary successful, but prevented success of his victim.

Even if the murder is executed, he still evolutionary "won" over his victim, because he ended the victim's  genetic line while keeping alive his own.

Is our moral system here inconsequential, because the moral trespasser succeeds because our moral feeling prevents us from killing his children, letting him keep the profit of his crime?

 

 

Note that our line of moral reasoning is not universal - other cultures handle things differently.

For example in China it was custom over millennia that one's family was held liable for the actions of one of its members; that meant that if a son could not pay debts, his family's property was seized, or even

his family members sold as slaves; likewise, if a murderer could not get caught, one of his family was prosecuted/executed in his place.

This produced an anti-individualistic, collectivist moral system and culture.

 

Our own culture holds moral rules that seem inconsistent to me.

Example: Adultery. Morally it is forbidden, but a great many people do it eagerly. Genetic screening shows that women secretly have 2-30% illegitimate children, having cheated their husband/partner.

(Around 2% in the upper class, up to 30% in the lower class; the problem is so widespread that in many countries paternity DNA testing is regulated or even illegal to keep the "social peace").

In public everybody tries to appear morally holy, in reality most people cheat or hope to successfully cheat somehow.

But consider incentives:

A man must have the desire for cheating, because cheating men are expected to have more offspring, making the trait of cheating common in men. Non-cheating men should get eliminated evolutionary.

A woman needs a man for two things: Resources/protection and genes. Men with both top resources/status and top genes are rare, even more  rare are such men who accept to limit their

providing resources to one single woman. The ideal man for women therefore practically never exists.

One may argue that the top priority for a woman should be to want the best for her child.

For this, she needs two things: Maximum resources (social stability, protection, money, fatherly investment) and top genes. Both in one man is very rare.

Therefore, for the best of her child, a woman MUST CHEAT: Then she can maximize "fatherly" investment and maximize genetic quality.

So, there are two sets of morals, derived from two conflicting interests:

The morals of the man (men can cheat sexually, women are forbidden to cheat); and

the morals of the woman (women can and should cheat sexually, men may, too, sexually, but must dutifully transfer all their resources to their officially designated woman).

So:

As far as I can understand it, those who really act moral (and not only say so and pretend) must lose in the struggle for evolutionary success.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons those confusing morals exist, to sabotage other people, the competition in achieving success?

It would fit in with other evidence:

Women seek to sabotage other women by pointing out their beauty flaws to men or publicly questioning their fidelity;

men seek to sabotage other men by pointing out their physical power, resource,  or status shortcomings to women.

 

A view of morals as an attempt to sabotage the success of other people makes some sense to me:

After all, most people pretend to be moral, and proclaim the importance of morals, but actually behave contrary to those morals if they feel they will not be detected.

Also: If people really had morals, and the best of others in mind, they would, in countries with socialized healthcare, not allow themselves to become obese, alcoholics, smokers, or get STDs - because their behavior

is imposing costs on all other people, who have to pay for the increased healthcare costs from such behavior. Instead, people mostly are doing what pleases them most personally, irrespective of the costs to others.

Yet, the abusers of the healthcare system are usually the first to argue for the morality of a universal healthcare system. All they are really doing is maximizing their personal benefit by imposing costs on others, and then call

that morality.

I call that pursuing egoistic self interest under the pretext of morality.

 

I think evidence also suggests that the chance for being found out breaking legal or moral laws is higher in low IQ people; prison populations have low average IQs.

The motivations of people in prison and those having evaded detection committing a crime and therefore escaping imprisonment seem the same to me: Getting rich quickly from crime.

If laws and morals punish offenders differently based on detection probability dependent on cognitive ability, morals and laws appear to be means to oppress cognitively less gifted people.

Again this makes morals look like social weapons to sabotage the success of other humans.

 

 

It depends on your definition of success.  Morality, broadly defined, is a code of behaviour designed to increase the survival rate of social groups.

Yes, groups with superior internal cohesion and loyalty against other groups should win in inter-group conflicts, like war.

An external enemy unites individual group members, increasing warfare capacity. This seems true along kinship/family/village/city/nation/race/religious lines; I think even the whole of humanity could unite for some time, as long

as an external enemy (space war, aliens) were to happen. But without external threats there is only one group, and then no "groupness" exists - only individuals.

And individuals compete with each other just like groups with other groups. If the warfare is not between different groups, it is between individuals in groups. Also the objectives stay the same:

Social status, resources, power, reproduction.

 

Success, in its most basic form, is ensuring one's existence and furthering one's existence.

All life must keep itself alive, and for that it needs resources and (advantageous) reproduction.

This is the basis of life, all of an organism's behavior should facilitate this somehow or it is wasteful behavior, which should be or have been evolutionarily deselected.

 

All social groups in the animal kingdom have at least rudimentary forms of morality, and everyone in the social group benefits from it.  The fact that you live in a society that considers murder immoral results in you being massively less likely to be murdered, or to suffer the murder of those you love. 

So, animal's morality is an instinct. Both humans and animals have an inhibition to kill their babies. Human morality is at least partially, genetically hardwired instinct, too. We just feel it's wrong to kill our own babies, and call that instinct moral behavior.

The instinct is there, as well as the morals, because those humans who did not kill their babies obviously out-reproduced humans who did or did not care.

But instincts can be conflicted - in animals, and also in humans, it can be evolutionary advantageous to kill OTHERS' babies. Male lions, for example, kill all cubs from another male lion, if they take over his pride. This makes the female lions immediately fertile again and helps spread the successful male lion's genes compared to that of his genetic opponents.

If lions had morals, they would perhaps have different ones, dependent on their interests: Dominant male lions would feel killing others' cubs as moral, while submissive males might feel it's immoral.

Just like rich and poor, or ugly and beautiful people tend to hold different moral preferences, due to different interests.

 

 

 

Random murdering seems unrealistic. Murder costs energy and is risky, so murdering someone should have greater benefits than costs.

It seems optimal for the individual to not being murdered by others, while being able to murder others whenever personally beneficial. Official morals of that kind are impossible, because the hypocrisy is obvious.

If morals are a function of self-interest, the general moral should be that murder is immoral, while everybody is hoping to find a way to murder without getting caught.

This would also explain the general fascination with detective novels and crime shows in TV, or the fact that people have an public set of morals, and a 2nd, private set of morals they actually are following, but can't execute most of the time due to 

social surveillance from others.

 

It seems there is a conflict and hypocrisy because deep down, people desire two sets of rules, one for themselves, and another for everybody else. What people really seek is unfair privilege (getting rich, having better or more resources than others, or more or better mates) over others, and making this inequality somehow appear as moral and therefore legitimate.

 

One one hand, people want to appear honorable, to pressure others into being honorable, too, and therefore compete with less than their maximal capacity.

You can find this in real war, which is in reality  fought with the goal of being as unfair as possible - generals seek to maneuver troops so that locally the fighting front gives their own troops at least a 3:1 advantage in numbers over the enemy;

or everybody seeks weaponry to kill others while being immune to their weaponry (desire to have guns vs. swords, or better, longer-ranged or machine guns, or stealth bombers etc.). If honor were really a goal like publicly advertised, than war would be more like sports: Fair 1:1 or team groups with rules and attempts to pit opponents of equal strength (weight classes) together.

 

 

 

You have that benefit, even if you flout the rules and murder someone yourself.
Well, not if the rules get found-out murderers executed.
 

It doesn't take a genius to discover that the best possible option for any individual is to have a society where everyone ELSE has to follow the code, but you don't.  You get all the benefits but none of the drawbacks. 

(I missed that part due to not noticing it by not scrolling down far enough in the sub-window. You argued the same, more concisely, as I have above.)

 

 

That's why consequences are needed--either legal consequences, or social ones (shaming, guilt, etc).  It's why empathy is so important.  It's why justice needs to be "seen to be done"--because if enough people get the idea that they don't have to follow the rules, the rules collapse and suddenly no one has any benefits anymore.

That's also why we have such a desire for "ultimate justice", so that even if you THINK you can get away with something, there is an invisible eye in the sky that will see it and punish you later.  That has been a tremendously useful tool in many societies.

Exactly. This is how moral systems are upheld, or attempted to. But the all-seeing eye of God I would not call a desire - many people, I think, would prefer their privacy very much instead - perhaps to feel free to do exactly what the surveillance intended to prevent.

 

But I question if these rules were ever meant to be rally universally valid for everybody. We know from history and from recent and current events that a lot of people high up  in the socio-economic hierarchy "sin" or violate the exact rules they try to propagate. Even the Popes had orgies. Everything that seems moral appears to be actually immoral inside. 

Is the moral system then not a failure? Most people or even everybody tries to evade or violate the morals rules secretly, or hopes so.

The only real hopes of keeping it up seem to come from  religious doctrines or socio-psychological pressure methods, which do not work well if people are too smart or too well educated and religion loses its grip on society.

 

Perhaps people never really accepted morals.

 

Or, few people did or tried to adhere to them, but not for the sake of morals, but out of the old motive of  social competition: They tried to live moral, that is, self-sabotage, and STILL become more successful than others - like a boxer that binds one arm on his back and still wins his fights. Then, morals would signal superiority, because somebody who still succeeds despite being hindered by morals is clearly superior, allowing him to access superior allies and mates - and enjoy the extra humiliation of his inferiors ("He not only got rich and successful, he also got so absolutely honestly!!").

 

If morals were indeed benefiting everybody, would it be possible to make everybody adhere to them? For if not, those that cheat would be preying on the compliers?

Or, is the "soft" law of morals besides the "hard" law of the justice system "soft" on purpose, to allow for some wiggle room, some permissiveness? Like a law that is expected to be violated - as long as it is done secretly or rarely, to maximize social cohesion and benefit and individual freedom? Like prostitution, which may be officially forbidden and inexistant, but secretly tolerated as long as it stays publicly invisible and not too widespread, so that civilizational achievements and social stabilizers like marriage can stably exist because men have a tacit means to deal with their otherwise incompatible biological urges?

So, morals are expected to be uphold publicly, but secretly, at least sometimes, to be violated? And that being so far the optimal system to achieve social and civilizational stability?

 

Is immorality not a general problem, but only when it becomes too widespread, the rule rather than the exception?

 

Could a society exist or even thrive in that all morals are required by (hard) law, and all violations totally and perfectly persecuted by torture (I see financial fines or imprisonment as a means to cause suffering and therefore as torture) or execution?

Somehow, for example by total surveillance of everybody? But then, who watches the watchers? They each other?

Would there be maximal freedom? Or is personal freedom maximized, when law (or morals) are not perfectly and inescapably policed? Have we until now avoided the first and had the latter system because technical infeasibility or by having doubts about building such a totalitarian, righteousness-maximizing oppressive system?

If morals are so completely good and advantageous, why not make them into an inescapable, totalitarian system?

 

(I am getting tired and a bit confused, I feel I understand less and less.)


Edited by Outlooker, 10 August 2018 - 02:43 PM.

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato
"When outmatched... cheat." Batman

#44 stumpy

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 05:15 AM

the world will probably end up turning humans in to food, like soylent green. Although its morally wrong to do that, there will probably be a country in the future that probably will do that, but keep it a secret from from the rest of the population, people go into hospital, and don't come out again, or people go to a funeral house, corpses go to the incinerator, but what goes into the urn is not what was sent to the incinerator, as the corpse never made it to the incinerator, but went to a vast underground factory that turns corpses into food.



#45 Outlooker

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 06:40 AM

the world will probably end up turning humans in to food

This is true already and  has been for a long time.

 

Humans end up in the earth or being converted into ash; most of their bodily matter is released into soil and groundwater, as well as the air.

If you cremate a human body (which should today be the most common means of getting rid of, quite literally, human waste) 90% or so of it is released into the air as CO2 and water.

Both substances are taken up by plants to produce nutrients, which animals and humans eat.

Estimating the degree of distribution of such ex-human bodily matter in the air, we are all currently breathing in or eating up quite a lot of matter that once were people.

 

So, humans turn to food all the time, and we are all eating them regularly.

And we breath them in, even if we are not living directly downwind of a crematorium.

 

 

If anyone is interested:

I can also prove that humans are manipulated by radio wave emitter antennas that control human behavior, practically globally.

And tin foil hats won't offer protection!  :mellow:


"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato
"When outmatched... cheat." Batman

#46 Anderson

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 11:46 AM

 

If anyone is interested:

I can also prove that humans are manipulated by radio wave emitter antennas that control human behavior, practically globally.

And tin foil hats won't offer protection!  :mellow:

Your proposal contains the answer. What's the point in information if there's nothing to do with it? You should just say that life's crap right away and we should work at morgues to negotiate life hardships somehow.

I can't believe those idiots at McDonalds waste their lives all day long when the final solution was right under our noses this entire time.


Edited by Anderson, 11 August 2018 - 11:50 AM.

 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#47 Abusimplea

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 12:31 PM



the world will probably end up turning humans in to food, like soylent green. Although its morally wrong to do that, there will probably be a country in the future that probably will do that, but keep it a secret from from the rest of the population, people go into hospital, and don't come out again, or people go to a funeral house, corpses go to the incinerator, but what goes into the urn is not what was sent to the incinerator, as the corpse never made it to the incinerator, but went to a vast underground factory that turns corpses into food.

Humans live rather long and accumulate quite a lot of heavy metals and diseases on the way. A lot of diseases, wich might have a hard tuime to jump to other hosts otherwise, are communicable by ingestion.

See Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease for an example.

 

There are evolutionary reasons for why no society that did not taboo eating humans has become as big as ours.

 



I can also prove that humans are manipulated by radio wave emitter antennas that control human behavior, practically globally.

And tin foil hats won't offer protection!  :mellow:

Yes, the smartphone epidemic might look a bit terryfying at first look. But i expect society to adapt. We already see the anti social network movement and people demanding a better work-life balance.

Tin foil indeed does not help - but just turning it off does.



#48 Anderson

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 05:29 AM

 

Yes, the smartphone epidemic might look a bit terryfying at first look. But i expect society to adapt. We already see the anti social network movement and people demanding a better work-life balance.

Tin foil indeed does not help - but just turning it off does.

 

Yes, but work-life balance doesn't exist. It's as if work is outside of life. It ought to be more like doing work that is willingly part of your life, work that makes you feel alright and if you have a sitting job to get variety on any occasion, at any excuse that presents itself at an opportune moment.


  • Abusimplea likes this

 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#49 Abusimplea

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 03:53 PM

Yes, but work-life balance doesn't exist. It's as if work is outside of life. It ought to be more like doing work that is willingly part of your life, work that makes you feel alright and if you have a sitting job to get variety on any occasion, at any excuse that presents itself at an opportune moment.

Yes, the term is technically wrong. Especially for them who have the privilegue of only doing jobs that do not contain any part that is not fun for them.

But it is also a well established term, most know and understand.

 

A lot of people have jobs because they need the money that comes with it. Sure they all try to get jobs that are also mostly about doing what they want to do. But most jobs that are offered are just not fun if you have to do them every day.

 

Better AI and the societal group think changes that brings, might free all people from having to work to be able to live. But until then, work-life balance is an important thing for the majority of the working class regardless whether they work with their muscles or their brains.

 

By the way: I knew a few humans who actually managed to have a completely boredom- and annoyance-free life - but that mostly was caused by them just having fun doing almost anything or really liking to play the system ;)



#50 Bienie

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 04:55 PM

Lots of text in this topic... couldn't read it all but most of us seem to be on the right track. We need to worry about climate change. However, media having a need to grab our attention have sometimes overstated it, and sometimes tried to obscure or discredit it.

 

That being said, there are many things we -could- do to reverse it, if we act soon. The most interesting to me is by changing our methods of growing crops. By focusing on increasing soil organic carbon on our farmlands and forests I've read in scientific studies that we could reverse basically all anthropogenic CO2 ever released, in a matter of a handful of years or a decade. This also brings the benefits of increasing the resilience of the soil to droughts and floods, as well as markedly increasing the yield of crops to the point that we couldn't overpopulate the planet for hundreds of years even if we tried. All of this is unlikely to happen though, due to the influence of "big agriculture" like Monsanto, and the oil industry who would become nigh obsolete under a system like this.

 

So to the question in the OP, about what we as individuals are / should be doing I would answer like this: Get yourself a plot of land (maybe one you can easily defend if you're afraid of societal collapse), learn how to garden/farm in a way that increases soil organic carbon and resilience, and try to grow all the food your family will need. You'll be helping the environment in a multitude of ways, and at the same time save loads of money on food cost and be so much healthier than when eating junk you buy at stores (or worse, fast food). Even buying organic meat and vegetables from stores you're basically slowly poisoning yourself.

 

Sorry for the lack of sources, but I could whip some up if anyone is interested / doubtful.






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