Reunion Faux Pas

Carihi Class of 76

I’m the handsome guy circled in red wearing a green polyester suit.

Born at the peak of what may be possible in the universe, we enjoyed amazing lives made possible by a one-time windfall of abundant cheap fossil energy.

Since graduating in 1976 we chose to celebrate our good fortune like yeast in sugar by doubling our population from 4 to 8 billion and increasing our total consumption and excretions by over 500%.

To our grandchildren we will leave depleted oil wells, mines, aquifers, and soils, a dangerous climate, forests displaced by agriculture and sickened by ozone, many fewer species, oceans filled with plastic instead of fish, epidemics of opioids and obesity, and over $300,000,000,000,000 of debt not counting unfunded liabilities like pensions.

1976 graduation motto: “You are a child of the universe.”

2018 reunion motto: “Mission accomplished: We had a great time and left nothing of value for future generations.”

Some old friends from my high school class of ’76 are having a reunion to celebrate turning 60 this year.

I offered to give a talk at the dinner party on how climate change is spinning out of control and may kill our grandchildren, but my offer was not warmly received.

I clearly made a faux pas because climate change has become a little too sensitive to discuss in polite company given how obvious the trends are.

In hindsight, I should have offered to speak on our denial of the collapse of civilization that is underway due to human overshoot and fossil energy depletion, and how our genetic tendency to deny unpleasant realities is intimately linked to our uniquely powerful brain, and its wacky belief in gods and life after death.

That would have been a much more interesting after-dinner topic that most people haven’t seen in the news, and I could imagine a lively Q&A when I explained that the only “solution” is a global one-child policy, severe government austerity, and a forced contraction of the economy.

Despite the depressing subject, I’m sure there would have been some genuine happiness in the room as old girlfriends breathed a sigh of relief that they didn’t marry me.

Rob Mielcarski

On Sexual Selection and Extinction

Peacock

Here is a very interesting interview of biologist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Richard Prum by Rob Reid on sexual selection and the evolution of beauty.

One of the fundamental reasons birds are so beautiful is that most of them do not have penises and this creates an opportunity for female freedom of choice.

After-On Podcast Episode 33: Richard Prum – The Evolution of Beauty

Bird of Paradise

Sexual selection is not a form of natural selection as most biologists currently believe.

Sexual selection and natural selection are distinct evolutionary forces, as originally envisioned by Charles Darwin.

It’s possible for sexual selection to work in the opposite direction of natural selection which can lead to the extinction of a species. Some interesting examples are given for birds.

I’m thinking about how human females tend to be indifferent to male IQ, but strongly prefer high status males that contribute the most to overshoot and CO2 via mansions, yachts, long distance vacations, and Veblan goods.

Human male preferences tend to be benign as it’s unlikely extinction will be caused by big boobs, which Prum points out, are not an honest signal of fertility.

Donald and Melania Trump

By Dave: Dear God

Jesus is calling the shots

A poem by Dave…

dear god, who does not exist
please help me through this day.
for what reason, i don’t know.
since you don’t exist, neither do you.
but the facts remain, i’m hungry, i’m thirsty, i want sex.
i beseech you. please help me.
plus, it’s way too fucking hot.
do something about that.

http://megacancer.com/2018/07/01/are-humans-irrational/

By James: Are Humans Irrational?

And why is it that most people do not have an intellectual interest in a well-constructed natural philosophy? Could it be that there is no tangible reward at the end of the process? Like a child that scoffs at having to learn Calculus, “What do I have to learn that for, I’ll never use it.”

An unnatural philosophy as provided by religion is rewarding or at least fear suppressing for those that entertain its simple tenets. A natural philosophy that approaches the bullseye of reality strips away imagined rewards and dictates against the uncontrolled hedonism of technological civilization. Promotion of false ideas and suppression of reality generally serves the consumers of a gradient. “Nationalism” serves the government and favored corporations while religion serves the metabolism of the church, no matter how small. The “Federal” Reserve takes on the identity of a government agency and thereby evades the attention of the immune system which would likely destroy it if its true parasitic drain on the economy were known. To foster its continuance it maintains a revolving door system, essentially paying the immune system to look the other way in return for future employment rewards and even provides the opportunity for well-compensated speeches to disarm potential presidential adversaries. Meanwhile, the citizenry struggles under greater and greater amounts of debt while their income slips away, perhaps to some overseas sweatshop.

 

I, of course, think genetic reality denial is a much more plausible explanation for the ubiquitous irrationality of humans.

Michael Pollan on Psychedelics

Who knew?

Michael Pollan says psychedelic drugs help terminal cancer patients accept their mortality.

As readers know, Varki’s MORT theory says humans needed to evolve denial of mortality to enable their unique brain power, and a side effect of how evolution chose to implement denial of mortality is that humans deny all unpleasant realities.

I’m thinking that a practical solution to getting people to accept and act on human overshoot and its many tentacles like climate change, resource depletion, species extinction, and the debt bomb is to inject magic mushroom extract into the water supply.

I’ll be reading Pollan’s new book soon to learn more.

 

Reality Denial Harm Prevention: A Proposal for Screening and Licensing

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All 7 billion humans originated from one small tribe of hominids in Africa about 100,000 years ago. Despite their close relatedness individuals are born with considerable genetic variation in physical and mental characteristics. Examples of genetic variation include height, weight, strength, speed, eyesight, intelligence, aptitudes, demeanour, sexual orientation, dietary tolerance, disease susceptibility, addiction tendency, mental health, and longevity.

The laws and practices of most countries have acknowledged that genetic variation exists and that certain levels of variation can be harmful to society, or may prevent the individual from performing certain tasks. Examples include:

  • Most professions such as engineering, medicine, science, and law implicitly screen candidates for adequate intelligence and aptitude with challenging university entrance and degree requirements, exams, and professional certifications.
  • Airline pilots, air traffic controllers, train engineers, and truck drivers are required to have vision acuity and color vision above a minimum level.
  • Law enforcement, firefighting, and some military roles require adequate strength and agility to perform the work.
  • Many professional sports require a minimum speed, height, weight, or strength.
  • Many employers screen for substance abuse which is known to have a genetic predisposition.

A recent scientific breakthrough by Varki and Brower shows that the behaviorly modern human brain was enabled about 100,000 years ago by a simultaneous mutation for an extended theory of mind and denial of reality.

Denial of reality is therefore central to the behavior of most humans, and is characterized by a tendency to deny the reality of anything unpleasant, regardless of evidence or science. As with other genetic characteristics like color blindness, the level and type of reality denial varies widely in the population from benign to dangerous.

Benign forms of reality denial may benefit or harm the individual, but rarely do serious harm to society, future generations, or other species. Examples of benign reality denial include:

  • Belief in a god that promises life after death.
  • Unhealthy lifestyles and diets.
  • Use of mind altering substances.
  • Wacky beliefs like miracles, fate, luck, conspiracy theories, and UFOs.

Dangerous forms of reality denial, on the other hand, often benefit the individual or society in the short-term, but cause severe mid and long-term harm to society, future generations, and other species. Examples of dangerous reality denial include:

  • Denial of human overshoot.
  • Denial of species decline and extinction, and damage to ecosystems.
  • Denial of climate change severity, actions required to make the future less bad, and personal responsibility.
  • Denial of many limits to growth, including some imminent threats like low-cost oil depletion.
  • Denial of the implications of excessive debt and low interest rates.

Clearly, the risks and potential harm from genetic variation associated with reality denial, which for example could cause the collapse of civilization or extinction of many species, far exceed the risks and potential harm from the already regulated genetic variations, like vision accuracy, which could cause a fatal surgery mistake or a plane to crash.

We should therefore urgently act on the recent discovery of Varki and Brower and pass laws to screen and license people before they are permitted to function in roles inappropriate for certain levels of reality denial.

Upon reaching the legal age of consent, all citizens should be assessed for their inherited level of reality denial using a scale from 0 to 6 as follows:

  • full reality acceptance (0)
  • benign reality denial: low (1), medium (2), high (3)
  • dangerous reality denial: low (4), medium (5), high (6)

The screening process would include a review of activities in the community, social media, interviews with teachers and acquaintances, and a written examination.

The process would focus on assessing the strength of the following beliefs:

  • There are no limits to growth.
  • Green growth is better.
  • Technology is the solution to all problems including energy.
  • There are two sides to the climate change debate.
  • We must increase food production to keep pace with population growth.
  • iPhones, the internet, and Tesla are more important innovations than Haber-Bosch, concrete, and the diesel engine.
  • I’ve already done enough by shopping with a reusable bag.

In the future as brain scanning technologies improve, it is expected that the screening process will be replaced with a quick and inexpensive brain scan that will detect activity in the region of the brain responsible for reality denial.

Upon completion the individual will be issued an official government identification card stating the level of reality denial that they were born with.

Critical occupations and activities in society may not be filled or conducted by anyone exceeding a specified level of reality denial. Examples of maximum allowed levels include:

  • right to vote (3)
  • right to run for elected office (2)
  • right to make political donations (3)
  • senior position in any company (3)
  • senior position in government (2)
  • teachers and professors (1)

Please contact your elected representatives and make them aware of the new science associated with reality denial and lobby for this vital extension to existing harm prevention laws and practices.

I’d Vote for This Guy…

literallygoingtodie2

California Senate candidate: “We’re all going to die”

Take all of the rich people’s money, put it toward fighting climate change. Then, take all of the poor people’s money, put that toward fighting climate change. Basically, nobody gets money anymore until no more climate change.

Withdraw military from Middle East. Deploy military in people’s driveways to make sure they’re not taking unnecessary trips, driving when they could be walking, etc …

http://grist.org/politics/california-senate-candidate-were-all-going-to-die/