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August 26, 2012

Science and Population 1

Even though its precise definition remains elusive, there can be little doubt that the combination of unbiased observation, hypothesis, and experimental validation now generally recognized as the Scientific Method revolutionized our species' ability to both understand and exert a measure of control over its planetary environment. Not until the advent of Science five centuries ago could human culture have been accelerated to the degree that has allowed our species to progress from its first steam locomotive in 1815 to the successful launch of a Mars explorer in a just under two hundred years.

Ironically, our exploitation of Science and the ever increasing material rewards of scientific technology have not been accompanied by a commensurate degree of wisdom or restraint; thus we are continuing to exacerbate a uniquely human debacle: our single-minded pursuit of progress has overpopulated the planet without regard to potential consequences and despite a series of timely warnings, both early and late, that too many humans on the planet could represent a serious problem with dire repercussions.

Rather than take those warnings seriously, they were rejected out of hand. Apparently, because the authors' specific dire predictions didn't come true, their underlying ideas were ignored and have continued to be ignored even after credible evidence of a specific problem: that of anthropogenic climate change, began to accumulate over forty years ago. It's now clear the the build up of CO2 would have started with expanded use of the fossil fuels and population growth that accompanied the Industrial Revolution we are now trapped in and must somehow sustain as we attempt somehow, to mitigate the effects of increased levels of greenhouse gases on Earth's climate.

The underlying explanation seems to be that we humans were so easily seduced by the siren song of scientific "progress" that we ignored the threats implicit in the alarming Twentieth Century population growth for far too long.

More on this subject later.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at August 26, 2012 06:35 PM