Climate Craziness of the Week: Grist uses Scientific American to highlight voluntary human extinction and GW fears

I used to read Scientific American with interest and wonder. My favorite column was The Amateur Scientist because it had so many neat experiments and projects. Now, it is mostly with sadness and incredulity that I occasionally glance at it on the newsstand. I don’t bother subscribing or even buying it for an interesting article TAS article anymore. They’ve lost their way.

Grist magazine wrote on July 24th:

What would the world look like without people?

This is the latest in a series of Saturday GINK videos about population and reproduction (or a lack thereof).

In honor of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, which we recently profiled, here are two videos showing what would happen if we humans suddenly up and disappeared.

I’m shaking my head as I watch this SciAm video, they have an animated musclebound synthetic person as the spokesman wearing a SciAm t-shirt. Yes, it’s that bad. They seem to forget where they came from and who they cater to.

Of course there’s the obligatory “global warming” mention, still going strong after 1000 years, turning NYC’s central park into an African jungle, complete with elephants.

And it’s not just Scientific American pushing this stuff. Nat Geo (another magazine I used to enjoy) also has a video out on the topic that looks like…like…oh heck just watch it, I can’t even describe it.

In both SciAm and the  NatGeo videos they destroy the statue of liberty. I guess either they dislike what it represents, or they have so little creative talent that they have to borrow from the famous scene with Charlton Heston from Planet of the Apes, the original human decline disaster movie.

It’s fine by me if the people at Voluntary Human Extinction Movement want to recuse themselves from Earth, and I’d be totally OK if  SciAm, and NatGeo met with extinction, but please, leave the rest of the human race out of your plans. I notice that the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is still around, so much for leadership.

Me? I’m going to celebrate life.

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127 Responses to Climate Craziness of the Week: Grist uses Scientific American to highlight voluntary human extinction and GW fears

  1. Matt D says:

    I can relate. SA used to be a part of my regular reading. Loved Skeptic, checking out historical issues, and of course the features. About two or three years ago I started noticing the abundance of one-sided articles on AGW and climate change.

    Long story short I cancelled my subscription along with those for my super science geek dad and brother. No more SA discussions when we’re all together for the holidays. Boo.

  2. Ben U. says:

    I remember how Scientific American used to be, before it got sold in 1986 to a group in Germany that proceeded, over time, to politicize and dumb it down. Maybe it was already on its way down in quality at that point, I don’t remember clearly. It was a solid scientific journal on the newsstands East Side, West Side, all around the town and frequent, I would guess, in many a place across the USA, not to mention a blizzard of offprints on campuses. I remember as a kid discovering that I could understand the average article there till about 2/3 of the way through, when the technical material for other scientists started coming thick and fast. And the front covers were truly beautiful in the old days. The old SciAm had a lot of class. Well, if I sing “Those were the days,” the young ‘uns will hear “Doze were de daze,” but if you hear it like sung by Jack Bruce with Cream, that’s more the spirit.

  3. Eric Gisin says:

    SciAm was preaching the apocalypse in March 1998 when they published The End of Cheap Oil. I guess peak oil didn’t have the burning hell and computer models AGW does.

  4. SM says:

    What the above commenters have said.

    I used to read SA regularly. No longer. The bias has become so in-your-face that I can’t stand to even look at a cover anymore – let alone open up an issue.

    Pity.

  5. Ian says:

    I suppose this voluntary extinction cult is the logical end of socialism: the redistribution of everything possessed by humans, including the body.

  6. Ric Werme says:

    I posted the following last year after another flap SciAm was behind, I think it’s worth reposting here. I’ll turn it into a web page some day.

    Papa Ray (18:11:41) :

    You should read seven answers to climate contrarian nonsense. Then you will see how wrong you all are. And it is in one of the most valued Scientific publications there is.

    No, it is in one of the most valued Scientific publications there was.

    In the 1970s, SciAm had a well-earned reputation for bring new science to the intelligent layman’s attention. Their main articles were not about the most recent research, but pulled together many little items of research to describe new knowledge and new technologies.

    For example, I remember important articles about photosynthesis as that chemical pathway was getting settled, on lasers and holography when they were making the transition from laboratory curiosity to tool. In high school I summarized a paper on electrophoresis from various reprints our biology teacher had ordered.

    Other features of the magazine changed people for life. For me, Martin Gardner’s Mathematical Games was a favorite – I can still make a hexaflexagon and made several Soma Cubes from 2″x2″ oak stock 15 years ago. Others went to Jearl Walker’s The Citizen Scientist and did the experiments or made the tools he described. And of course, there were the Questar Telescope ads to drool over.

    However, the creation of new magazines aimed at a market between Popular Science and Scientific American flooded the market and advertising revenue dried up. Eventually SciAm was sold to a German company and its golden age was over, never to be regained.

    The magazine occasionally took a look at political issues, and that increased greatly after the sale. I bought a copy once because it had an article on the GPS system, but was extremely disappointed. Pretty pictures, virtually no content. Recently they have fully embraced AGW and science as seen by “The Team.”

    I took a look at those seven points. There is nothing there that gives a balanced look at the issues involved. It would be fun to rewrite it to be as balanced as possible. I’m sure you would agree that “The most recent contrarian fad is based largely on work by Henrik Svensmark” is rejecting his work even before there are any results from CLOUD. For heaven’s sake, Svensmark has an interesting hypothesis, it’s being tested, it may pan out, it may be junk. Fad? Come on. The author doesn’t understand Scientific Method.

    Claim 5: Climatologists conspire to hide the truth about global warming by locking away their data.” Umm, if you’re reading here, you should realized that claim is the subject of substantial review. Hey – they say “surely the thousands of e-mails and other files stolen from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and distributed by hackers on November 20 would bear proof of it. So far, however, none has emerged.” Yeah, right.

    The first comment on the article says “jercarobrien1 at 10:36 AM on 11/30/09: The narrow, biased and unscientific perspective presented in your article causes me to continue to lose respect for your magazine’s scientific credibility and objectivity.

    My father saved decades of SciAms, my sister maintained the tradition until she moved to California. We talked about what to do with them, and sadly agreed to let them go. But I saved Henry and Elizabeth Stommel’s article on Volcano Weather, that lives on as my 1816 web page. How long do you save your Scientific Americans?

  7. Douglas DC says:

    Ok guys you first…
    This has the whiff of well oiled jackboots about it…

  8. Mike G says:

    I can actually understand this movement. I mean, why would anybody want to live in the world the AGW cultists have planned for us?

  9. West says:

    ‘Bout the same story here. Read Sci Am for decades, starting in the early 70’s. Then we reached the parting of the ways. I have not yet found a suitable replacement.

  10. Mr Barney says:

    I have only two words for the Voluntary Extinction Movement, “You First”.

    mr.b

  11. savethesharks says:

    Its pathetic (really damn utterly pathetic) because SA could be using enormous resources solving real problems.

    Also….what species ever on the face of this planet has ever volunteered to “extictify” itself?

    None. Zero. Zilch.

    Are we opportunistic? You bet.

    Have mistakes been made? Absolutely.

    But GEEZ-US homo sapiens have done some pretty damn good things to, so cut them a break, VHEM.

    Better yet, VHEM….why don’t you guys volunteer for “extinctification”…that will be a great step. For all of us.

    You will not be missed.

    But hell, if that is what you believe in, then have at it and I am all for it.

    Come on, put your money where your mouth is.

    [snip]

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  12. Bill Tuttle says:

    The Voluntary Extinction whackweeds — like the Reduce Your Carbon Footprint ones — are all in favor of everyone *else* doing it.

    Themselves? Mmmmmm — not so much…

  13. Zeke the Sneak says:

    “Q: Why don’t you just kill yourself?

    A: As explained above, increasing death is like trying to bail out a sinking boat without plugging the leak. People are flooding in twice as fast as they’re bailing out.

    It’s hard enough just to get people to consider not breeding. Advocating suicide, by any method besides old age, would be a particularly hard sell. There’s no way we could convince enough people to kill themselves to make a difference, especially after we’re too dead to talk. Suicide doesn’t set an example others will follow.”

    So that explains why conveniently there are no bodies in the first video. No more babies are born apparently?

    Any one who elects a person who secretly or openly believes in population reduction is a fool. Time to start asking that question of any one who runs for office or works in other gov’t agencies.

  14. John Blake says:

    Martin Gardner born 1914 died May 22, 2010 at age 96. His “Mathematical Games” column in the old Scientific American was unbeatable… in 1970, as we recall, he introduced general readers to John Horton Conway’s “Game of Life”, an early use of computer iteration to generate “cellular automata” by simple rules, then track evolving patterns over generations on a matrix depicting various “survival mechanisms.” Esoteric, fascinating, with deep implications, yet Gardner made “Conway Games” intelligible and fun.

    Sometime in the mid-1980s, like Pinch Sulzberger’s benighted New York Times, the fine old monthly somehow went astray, defaulting to an ill-becoming pop-cult mode. Increasingly dumbed down, prey to Femyap superficiality, SA regressed to poorly written entry-levels where most articles remain. Symptomatic of broad-gauge secular decline, SA’s lapsed standards are indicative of the feckless asininities propagated throughout so-called Climate Studies today.

  15. JER0ME says:

    What would a world without humans be like? Pretty boring, in the main, I’d say. A world with humans is way more interesting!

    I have the same problem with SciAm, NewSci and NatGeo. All the same old, same old, and even if you are not aware of the significant and widening cracks in the theory, it must get very tedious.

    My proposal: A world without (Hidden) Global Warming Alarmists. Now that is a world I could learn to love!

  16. Steve Mucci says:

    “Hurricanes, Tornados and Thunderstorms” was the title of my 6th grade thesis written in 1946. Its bibliography cited three references to Scientific American articles. In 1952, I saved up and susbscribed to the magazine, my basement now contains several large boxes containg most issues from 1952 until the present. I detest the magazine now and read very few of the articles. I can’t bear to stop my subscription as it would be like shooting and old friend.

    Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH is the German owned publisher of “Scientific American” as well as “Nature”. The founder of the company was a member of the NAZI party and served it well through various favorable publications. A grandson, Stefan von Holtzbrinck, is the present chairman of the company and apparently has a marxist- socialist agenda. At an Erich Fromme Society event, Stefan von Holtzbrinck presented an award to Noam Chomsky. That’s a whole lot of folks well to the left of Ted Williams’ when he played for the Bo’socks.

    – Steve

  17. Alex says:

    Tony, what do you have against these nice movies?

    1. SciAm claims, there will be GW. Mention! It will happen 1000 years AFTER men extinct. [b] So, it should be purely natural!!! [/b]

    2. These are NOT sci fi movies. Visit Russia. Not Moscow that is floureshing. But, say, 200 km out of it, or just 50 km out of St. Petersburg, there are towns and villages that were abandoned, and you will exactly what they show in these cartoons.

  18. JPeden says:

    Reading Grist’s profile interview with VHMT’s Les U. Knight ["get it?"] it’s not hard to see why he concludes that people and the Planet would be better off without him.

  19. Ray says:

    Makes me want to have another kid…

  20. Dave F says:

    What would a world without humans look like?

    I guess it doesn’t matter to us, does it?

    What an exercise in mental masturbation! I am sorry, but I read through their website, and the idea that people who have kids are inferior is just all over the place. I have never been so disgusted by the lack of spine in a group than I am here. Big shame on the enablers of this movement (SCI-AM, Nat-Geo). Enjoy your extinction! I’ll be sure to tell my kids about you when they come home from school talking about lemmings.

    P.S. I think I should receive a golden-snip award for refraining from what I really want to say.

  21. Daniel M says:

    Aren’t these guys pretty much the same as imams who convince their followers to become suicide bombers but never see fit to lead by example?

  22. Ross Jackson says:

    Shades of N.I.C.E from C S Lewis’ That Hideous Strength
    Read it!

  23. crosspatch says:

    I don’t read SciAm anymore, nor do I read Popular Science or Popular Mechanics or The Economist. They have all become watered down pop culture magazines engaging in “windsock” journalism. By “windsock” I mean they simply report the meme they perceive as popular rather than any actual critical thinking.

    They all seem scared to death to come ask any serious questions that might make certain individuals in academia (the kewl kids) uncomfortable in any way.

  24. J.Hansford says:

    “Me? I’m going to celebrate life.”

    … Well I’m doing that right now Anthony. Got my cup of coffee, my feet up and my computer on…. I love the world I live in. I’m like a cat it in a patch of sunlight. The more comfortable I am…. The more contented I am.

    If the volunteer extinction movement wants to disappear themselves…. fine. Don’t let the door hit you on th’ ass on yer way out guys…. :-)

  25. Frederick Michael says:

    I’ve been looking for the cover photo for “The Recognition of Faces” (from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s). It’s Gilbert Stewart’s painting of George Washington, reduced to only 10×15 pixel resolution — yet still recognizable.

    I’d greatly appreciate any link or other way to get it. I’ve spent hours in libraries looking for it.

  26. Doug in Seattle says:

    Time is rapidly passing for AGW. The stalwarts of the cause are panicking as they try one last time to get their programs set in law.

    While I hope that they will fail, I don’t underestimate their power. The hundreds of billions already spent have greased a lot of wheels and they continue to turn.

  27. Keith Minto says:

    Having lobbied my local library for Scientific American and New Scientist, I feel obliged to read them and occasionally, very occasionally, there is an article with merit. One of my children has Coeliac disease and is Gluten intolerant and they did run a good summary if its aetiology, how to avoid the symptoms and current research ( including some amazing Australian work using hookworms) with those great illustrations that SA can do.
    When they concentrate on research, it is worth reading, the opinions are just that, opinions, space fillers, designed to give the publication an air of authority and achieve the opposite.

  28. hotrod ( Larry L ) says:

    Like the above, I read Scientific American for years then in the late 1980’s I noticed a distinct shift in policy and the articles became political propaganda pieces instead of well written science for the layman. At that point I quit buying every issue as it came out (never was much for subscriptions), and started “pre-viewing” the magazine on the news stand before I would purchase it. I found that I was only buying one or two issues a year, and at that point quit even looking at it. I have opened the cover of Scientific American on the news stand about 3 times in the last 10 years and have yet to buy one.

    It is a sad commentary on what was at one time a great magazine. I used to have stacks of them that I kept for reference but over time they have all gotten damaged and dog eared and been thrown out during moves. They were the last magazine I discarded as I began to cull through my library but I eventually could find no redeeming value in keeping them.

    The good news is thanks to those 1960’s and 1970’s vintage copies I know what a good scientific article should look like, and it helps to filter the fluff out of things I now find on the internet.

    To be honest, my current replacement for Scientific American is right here at WUWT. I learn something new every time I read a set of comments, as the readers here are constantly drawing my attention to articles and concepts I would never find on my own. Hopefully I have given as much as I have received.

    Larry

  29. Mike Jowsey says:

    Ric Werme says:
    July 25, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    I like your comment and your web link. Keep up the good work. (especially the WUWT archive page).

  30. Luboš Motl says:

    The projections are kind of realistic – and what is the main message for the big picture, in my opinion, is that the Earth doesn’t care about us. If we’re gone, then the planet recovers within a blink of geological time. That’s a reason why we shouldn’t worry what happens with the “Earth” because we’re way too small rulers as soon as we start to reduce our impact. We have to try hard to become stronger.

    If the message was to suggest that it’s a good idea to ignite the suicidal holocaust, well, then I have to end my comment in a speechless way.

  31. wayne says:

    Steve Mucci says:
    July 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm
    Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH is the German owned publisher of “Scientific American” as well as “Nature”. The founder of the company was a member of the NAZI party and served it well through various favorable publications. A grandson, Stefan von Holtzbrinck, is the present chairman of the company and apparently has a marxist- socialist agenda. At an Erich Fromme Society event, Stefan von Holtzbrinck presented an award to Noam Chomsky. That’s a whole lot of folks well to the left of Ted Williams’ when he played for the Bo’socks.
    ~~~
    Now that’s some good information! Answers what was going on when I dropped my subscription in the early 90’s as I became sick of their non-scientific content, for I too was an avid follower of Scientific American articles leading up to 1990. Always wonder what went wrong with that great magazine.

  32. Wayne Richards says:

    Makes me want to have another drink.

  33. Wayne Richards says:

    Actually, I dropped SciAm like a dead slug after the unconscionable way they treated Bjorn Lomborg.

  34. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Certainly seems to be a successful Volunteer Magazine Extinction Movement.

    I’ve subscribed to SciAm, NatGeo and New Scientist, but I’m down to the last of the three which I’m persevering with. Getting increasingly difficult to avoid the preachy CAGW articles even though there are signs of guerilla activity from the subeds. Lemmings!

  35. James Bull says:

    Maybe they are wanting to get themselves onto the darwinawards.com list of people who have improved the gene pool by removing themselves from it.
    Although they don’t meet the one important criteria of doing it accidentally.

  36. Mike Jowsey says:

    Wayne Richards says:
    July 25, 2010 at 11:16 pm
    Makes me want to have another drink.

    Cheers! Make mine a double.

  37. rxc says:

    SA got me interested in science and engineering in the 50s, and I subscribed to it till the early 80s, when it went anti-technology (interesting spin for a publication called Scientific American). I think they were captured by the guilt movement, which is just a modern version of the Catholic Church.

    It is sad. There are really no magazines like the old SA around any more.

  38. Larry Fields says:

    Shades of Jonestown.

  39. Gordon Walker says:

    I used to subscribe to SM and to its French edition after I moved to France. They still send me emails refering to their content, but I no longer bother looking.
    This human extinction meme is a set of value judgements held by a group of human beings, so the extinction of the human race would entail the loss of this (and all other) set(s) of values. Whether a world teeming with life, or as barren as the moon, might be preferable, would then be moot.

  40. I started reading SA in high school (late 50’s) and all during the 60’s & 70’s depended on it to feed my need for science; while living in some rather remote and back water mining towns. I too am sad and frustrated by what is happening. When my multi- year subscription runs out, I’m out.

  41. Julia Polltard says:

    the VHEM is the ultimate in Hypcocrisy. The Disposable Heroes would be Proud

  42. Matt says:

    I think the VHEMT is just about as funny as bonsaikitten.com (sadly, it is no more) – Irrespective of whether any number of people take it seriously or not. I have their website as my signature for the longest time, even though I don’t take it seriously. In their FAQ they used to say you cannot even “join” – it’s a movement, you are automatically part of it – funny stuff :)

    Inevitably you’ll find a few people who actually sign up to the thinking behind it in a world with 6 billion people – taking the whole thing serious would mean totally over-rating it.

    People to whom I show it immediately are all over it, but not because they genuinely share the view – rather in a way as they would endorse the fine art of manufacturing bonsai kitten or other whacky stuff.

    Maybe that guy set it up in all seiousness – but he has no control over what other people are doing with it, and actually it is part of the concept that he does not even want to. There you go.

  43. phlogiston says:

    VHEM is hate – speech and incitement to genocide. It should be the subject of legal action.

    Steve Mucci says:
    July 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm
    Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH is the German owned publisher of “Scientific American” as well as “Nature”. The founder of the company was a member of the NAZI party and served it well through various favorable publications.

    The scientific community being a feudal elite-ocracy with non-accountable leadership, is ripe for silent takeover by political extremism and this has clearly happened.

    Incitement to genocide such as this can influence young impressionable scientists potentially have the result illustrated in the film “The Twelve Monkeys”. If you’re a virologist – keep an eye on your colleagues.

  44. UK Sceptic says:

    I don’t see any of the buggers volunteering to lead by example…

  45. Ian E says:

    So, another cult has been born. As always, we can be sure the leaders will follow, very belatedly if ever, their members in stepping up to oblivion. Mind you, it may have existed as a secret cult for quite a while – which would certainly explain many of the insane policies being pushed by our equally insane politicians (US and UK)!

  46. 1DandyTroll says:

    What would the world look like without people?

    Overgrown.

  47. Robert says:

    That SciAm movie is pretty crap by the way, Bryce can do so much better when in capable hands :)

  48. L says:

    Like many other posters, I stayed with SciAm into the eighties ,and then bailed (not to say hurled) over the overtly political content. Papa came here in 1928 from failed Deutschland and took up NatG immediately, so my collection goes back aways.. in 1969 I took over the subscription and have it still. While the current issue still has the apparently mandatory references to GW, there seems to be some movement in the sensible direction recently. I’ve decided to hang around a while longer. BTW, it’s kinda interesting that the NG vid above has it all ending in, not fire, but ice. Is that not a recognition of scientific reality?

    My favorite mag, and I’m a charter subscriber, is Smithsonian. It, too, suffers from PC disease, but contains content found nowhere else. Pick up a copy; it can work wonders on many diseases we fragile humans are subject to. Cheers.

  49. Jerry says:

    After almost 40+ years I dropped both the National Geographic and Scintific American as my personal rebellion against their insufferable bias. The Internet has been my replacement. The NYT went earlier for insulting my intelligence, I do miss the food and wine columns :-).

  50. Alan the Brit says:

    As usual you have said it all!

    When I here this sort of *%£$??! it reminds me of that dialogue from the film “The Aviator”. The young Howard Hughes is dating the equally young Katherine Hepburn, who takes him to her family “seat”, was it in Boston? Anyway, at lunch KHs mother has the line something like “we don’t worry about money here, we’re all Socialists”, to which the young HH responds, “that’s because you have it!” or words to that effect. Is it me or are the wealthy youthful classes having a tinge of social (ist) concience about being so wealthy & advantaged, so that they deflect attention from their wealth & lord it over everyone else that we should make huge sacrifices in life for Mother Earth whilst they enjoy woops I mean struggle to maintain her energy budget at huge cost to ourselves, whilst they promise they are working hard & tirelessly to save planet Earth for themselves woops I mean the children? You know,the very poor people like Prince Charles, Sir David Attenborough, Sir(its only a matter of time) Tony Blair, Sir Jonathan Porrit, Sir (its only a matter of more time) Albert Gore, etc etc, who all came from very humble beginnings, rising only off the backs of others. Perhaps I should be more lenient to Sir David, having met him, (he was inaugurated as a Doctor at a nearby university at which I was an official guest, that’s all) he at least is just well intentioined but misguided, well I think he is, although he is undoubtedly a Socialist elitist! All the doomsayers are the well off & stand to benefit from their own predictions & more importantly, their own investments!!!!!!! The new fuedal system is awaiting in the wings, me thinks! It is good for people to point out the folly of mans’ way at times, the troubles come when they start to do something about it!

  51. Grimwig says:

    In my opinion, if you think SA is bad you should, or probably should not, take a look at New Scientist. I currently subscribe to both but will not renew when the time comes.

  52. Mike Haseler says:

    Come on have some sympathy. Science has come to a somewhat dead end. Remember star trek …. a future where we would all be flying through space boldly going …

    Well the closest we got to that was Concorde and that is now long dead. We’ve been talking about going to Mars for decades and even if it were worth the money (which it isn’t) who’d want to fry themselves in cosmic rays just to land on Mars, and then more than likely find the budget cuts don’t run to bringing them back.

    As for National Geographical, it used to be a Magazine for the intrepid explorer. But where’s there left to explore that doesn’t end up you meeting an English speaking native wearing designer jeans and carrying a mobile phone?

    There is still science to be done, but not the exciting ground breaking stuff that thrills the readers of Scientific Amercan. It’s largely boring, teamwork stuff often playing second fiddle to an engineer who is tackling real problems and where science is just another tool in the engineers toolkit. As for geography, there still are places to explore, but usually they are already filled by people and the research is being done by some big multinational trying to sell them something.

  53. DaveF says:

    Quite a few years ago, now, there was an American chap – I can’t remember his name – who played some great jokes on the public. One was a campaign to have cows, sheep etc wear clothes to cover their nether regions to avoid offending people; another was to hold the International Sex Olympics with medals given for technique, stamina etc. He fooled some gullible people and the rest had a good laugh. This Voluntary Extinction Society sounds right up his street. Are we sure it isn’t him?

  54. Ryan says:

    Why do I get the feeling that this concept of “world without humans” will morph gradually into “world with almost no humans, except for a small number of the carefully chosen”.

    More and more I see the academic community heading towards a concept of obliterating humanity to leave only those that “deserve” to survive. I think if you read Dawkin’s “The God Delusion” you will see the subtle (and not so subtle) message between the lines. Imagine, we are paying many of these scientists to come up with exactly the tools they need to destroy the rest of us.

    Hmmm, would make a good script for a movie. Just don’t end it with the Statue of Liberty sunk in the sand….

  55. Kevin B says:

    The funny thing is that if the VHEM get their way, (or some of the non voluntary guys invent their killer bug), and the human race ceases to exist, it will probably take less than 100k years for some other ape to fill the gap left by our demise for an intelligent species.

    Even if the self-hating lunatics decide to murder every creature with an opposable thumb, even down to the last little marmot on Madagascar, it might only be a million or so years until some other species filled the gap.*

    So, poor old Gaia gets a reprieve from nasty intelligent creatures building roads and factories and skyscrapers for a very short time, (geologically), and then it’s back to normal.

    Of course, if Gaia sticks with us, and we keep, (or recover), our nerve, then she can join us on a trip to the stars where we can build habitats to suit whatever her whim.

    Why do these suicidal cultists have such a lack of imagination. (Or is that a tautology.)

    *I favour the bears to fill the gap, but others reckon the pigs might fit the bill.

  56. Symon says:

    Like a lot of regular readers from the ’80s and before, I gave up on SA long ago. I recommend swapping to American Scientist.
    http://www.americanscientist.org/

  57. Ralph says:

    And New Scientist has become the para-military wing of Greenpeace. I treat it as if it were dusted with bubonic plague spores.

    .

    There is a large slice of the Green movement that hates everything that Western science, technology and society stands for. That is why they denigrate every achievement in the West as raping the planet, and champion every ‘achievement’ in the developing world as being so superior. (The developing world lives in ‘harmony’ with nature – ie, they are dirt poor, often starving, frequently disease riddled and without any control over their destiny).

    I am not surprised that these magazines now champion the destruction of the West. They have literally been trying to achieve this, politically, for the last 20-30 years. Every policy has been finely tuned to ensure that the West gets poorer, less cohesive, overrun, and less able to defend itself – let alone progress technologically.

    .

  58. Stefan says:

    From the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement:

    Q: Are humans the most important species on Earth?
    Another test of our importance is to ask how well Earth’s biosphere would get along without us. The higher a species is on the food chain, the less important it seems to be to the survival of that chain.

    This error is well known in philosophy circles as “flatland”.

    In a sense it is the same error that comes from scientific materialism. Everything only exists if we can measure it scientifically, and if we can’t measure it scientifically, scientific materialists assume that it doesn’t exist.

    So, human love and affection doesn’t exist to these people. You can’t measure the love capacity of a frog. You can’t measure the love capacity of a human being. Instead they just step back and look at ecosystems and resource consumption and population numbers. They do some calculations and decide that, given the number of bugs in the world, it would have been better that Shakespeare, Newton, Lao Tzu, The Buddha, your best friend, and my mom, had never have been born.

    They will never recognise the value of human life because they already ignore entirely our very human natures, our intelligence, our ability to care, our creativity.

    No animal has created societies as large and complex and unified as humans. No other animal has done that. Humans have achieved nation states and democratic societies after tens of thousands of years of development. That’s 300 million people all paying taxes to help each other (in principle). Meanwhile, crocodiles, in their hundred million year existence, still only know how to chomp and kill.

    Yes there are many humans, and maybe there are too many, but that’s the new challenge. It is a sign of our successful evolution beyond tribal warlordism, where any human from another tribe was fair game for a kill.

    The irony is that these people are asking us to care about the planet, when they specifically ignore human’s ability to care, our depth for love and compassion.

    In their calculations, human’s tremendous congintive ability to care for not just me and my blood kin, but for the whole nation with equal rights, and freedom for all, does not exist!

    They say humans have little value, and yet their very ability to pose the question, “how do I care for the planet?” is itself a product of deep value and ethics.

    No other monkey ever did that.

  59. Robert says:

    @Kevin B says:

    Even if the self-hating lunatics decide to murder every creature with an opposable thumb, even down to the last little marmot on Madagascar, it might only be a million or so years until some other species filled the gap.

    Lets stop funding Nasa then and develop the ultimate doomsday weapon by doing absolutely nothing, a large chunk of rock that will impact earth somewhere in the (near) future.

    Also, a creature from the sea might fill the gap, *hint* Octopus.

  60. Merrick says:

    Nice article. But let’s be fair to Planet of the Apes. That movie wasn’t about human decline. It was about racism and man’s inhumanity to man (and animals, but that’s really a very secondary point). After it became a franchise those involved in getting the original movie off the ground (Heston among them) quickly headed for the exits.

    But your point is taken about the iconic value of the Statue of Liberty scene from the original film.

  61. Liam says:

    Poor old Sci-Am. My mother used to get it so I read it through my childhood, then bought my own as I progressed into adulthood. Unfortunately Sci-Am moved in the other direction, becoming a comic rather than a serious science publication. Its not even a first rate comic so I long ago gave up buying it. I still get Nature, but fear that is going the same way.

  62. HalfEmpty says:

    Hear, hear Stefan!
    I’ll likely steal most of that at some point in the next year.

  63. Ian E says:

    And for a bit of light relief on the topic some of you may enjoy one of ten recently banned ads! See http://www.citywire.co.uk/money/10-scandalous-adverts-that-were-banned-from-tv/a416863?re=10370&ea=105886#i=7

  64. Alex Cull says:

    Another pertinent movie reference (especially while we’re on the subject of “human extinction”) – Logan’s Run, anyone?

  65. hunter says:

    The AGW social movement has turned SA, Nat. Geo, and other formerly respectable magazines into shrill parodies of what they once were.
    And their news content and quality has suffered dramatically.
    This example of media implosion exists across most media organizations.
    The first media outlet that chooses to actually report instead of promote will benefit not only from a recovery of credibility but will also make a great deal of money. People are hungry for real reporting.

  66. hunter says:

    Kevin B,
    Please offer any proof at all for your assertion that an intelligent species will evolve in about 100,00 years and take our niche if humans go extinct.

  67. wws says:

    That sci-am video (and the entire mag the last few years) come off as if they were written by bored 13 years olds – yell, given what’s happening to economics in the print world I’d bet that they’re in that classic death spiral. Sales fall as old line subscribers pull away due to the unscientific sensationalism, so they try to scare up higher newstand sales by making the cover articles even more sensational – thereby increasing, not decreasing, the long term problem.

    Core problem – the people running these mags have no clue as to why this mag was originally successful with it’s target audience, and they don’t care. They’ve bet the farm on global warming and left wing agitprop in general, and when it collapses these magazines will collapse with it. I’d be amazed if any of these are still being published 3 years from now.

  68. Dave Springer says:

    I’ve subscribed to SciAm for 40 years and read every issue pretty much cover to cover. It’s still a good magazine but has gone decidedly downhill in the past 20. The tipping point was the hiring and firing of Forrest Mims for The Amateur Science column. Mims was fired because he believes in a living God who created the universe, mankind, and who is author and sustainer of the physical laws that hold it all together. Forrest Mims is a friend of mine and I know from much personal correspondence with Forrest that his religious convictions have never, ever adversely effected his study of nature. If anything it’s just the opposite because for Forrest science is simply the study of God’s creation and he studies it with awe, reverence, respect, and religious devotion. He never preaches but is happy to share his views if queried and is always respectful of differing views in an examplary manner. I should know, I’m an agnostic and am happy to share my views if queried as well. This difference in religious views was never an impediment to friendship or philosophical discussion as I respect Forrest’s views as much as my own, the nub being that I far as I can determine his views might be correct.

    I also owe Forrest a deep debt of gratitude as his early work in amateur electronics got me interested in the field when I was a boy. My first computer was a 1977 Altair 8800. Forrest was a co-founder of the company which designed and produced the Altair kit. The inspiration from Forrest led to a wonderful and lucrative career in computer science.

    Today I still consider SciAm an invaluable source of information in a broad range of sciences most of which are not politicized to any great extent and don’t carry the stink of bandwagon dogma (climate science) or taint of anti-religious bias (mud-to-man evolution via random mutation & natural selection). It’s easy to recognize those articles and read them with them with a jaundiced eye.

  69. wayne Job says:

    Pathetic and sad it be, that once it was the youth that rebelled against authority, alas the indoctrination over many decades, now has these people of premature bewilderment in positions of people in generations past that would have had discernment and the capability of individual thought.

    Sad to say, that is entirely our fault, for allowing the slow degredation of our education systems to the politically correct fools , who are the usefull idiots of the brave new world. The people of our new world are delusional, they are totally controlled in their mind by the edicts of the gurus.

    The left are bereft of new thought or innovation, as has been shown by recent research that shows a deficiency in genes give people the no think for myself problem.

    Science is not the only problem, the education system is loaded with usefull idiots, intent on the destruction off the modern world.

    It would seem a silent revolution is brewing in the land of the free, as thousands opt for home education, to bypass the propaganda of the collective. I salute these people as they try to maintain a modicum of freedom and truth.

    The AGW stuff is only a small part of the insidious march toward a brave new world that controls not just your action and choices, but your very thoughts.

    I once read a book called ” Thanks to the Yanks” some decades ago, sorry to put this on you guys, but USA has the only freedom charter in the entire world. We all have constitutions and rules in other countries, but, you guys have one guarantee of freedom that the rest of the world lacks.

    Your forbears stated some what, that if the government is doing things against the constitution or the will of the people you have the right to change the government, and the system of governance, to correct the deficiency, including the right to civil incerrection .

    This craziness of AGW ,PC and all the other nonsense that is on display, shows a total lack of responsibility and an agenda that is at odds with both common sense and common decency.
    The people in charge of the political agenda are devoid of humanity, it makes one wonder when you see them with wives and children. Mayhaps they feel superior and thus the elite that shall be the new brave new world, devoid of the need to feel pity for the peons growing the food to keep them in the manor they have grown accustomed to. [Pun intended]

    I am old, soon for the eternal sleep, but I have a future invested in children and grand children. The last decade has been a nightmare for real truth and knowledge. I have had on occasion the need to warn my daughter of the untruths peddled to my grand daughters in the school curriculum. I am fortunate that she not only heeds but is aware also. This month thankfully both grand daughters are attending a private school for unbiased education.

    Hope fully for the world these fools will lead by example.

  70. MikeEE says:

    The desk lamp at the beginning of the SciAm video looks like a rip-off of Pixar…maybe Pixar could sue them out of existence.

    MikeEE

  71. Norm Milliard says:

    SA and NatGeo were both a mainstayof my youth; sadly no longer.

    Historical perspective reminds us that there in an unfortunate insanity that underlies progress, not contribting to the progress but always present, intentionally working to steer an ill conceived course. As this website so aptly demonstrates, shining the light of truth brilliantly illuminates reality. As my dad alwasy said, “Reality always wins, it’s not if but when.”

  72. Dave Springer says:

    Stefan says:
    July 26, 2010 at 3:23 am
    From the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement:

    Q: Are humans the most important species on Earth?
    Another test of our importance is to ask how well Earth’s biosphere would get along without us. The higher a species is on the food chain, the less important it seems to be to the survival of that chain.

    You can defeat these people (those who say humans are not important in the grand scheme of things) on their own terms. I had a run-in with Eric Pianca (UT Austin biology professor nicknamed “the lizard man” for his abiding interest in lizards) who is know to frequently state in lectures “what makes you more important than a lizard?”

    I told him what. The earth has a finite period of time in which it can support life. Five billion years from now our sun will become a red giant engulfing the earth and turning it into a cinder. If the life that exists on earth is to be preserved in some form (lizards included) and continue beyond that time instead of becoming a footnote in the history of the universe then it will require a technological space-faring species to do it. Life must be relocated to a planet where conditions are either naturally favorable or made favorable (terraformed).

    Fortunately such a species exists. It is us. Without us or a species like us the lizards are doomed along with every other living thing.

    Curiously we appear to be, for no reason attributable to survival instinct, driven to build spacecraft, telescopes, and lately to seaching for extra-solar planets similar to the earth. If life is viewed on an even grander scale than individual planets and stars it makes sense that in order to reproduce on very long time scales there must be means to move to greener pastures as each host planet inevitably becomes inhospitable. Those living worlds that fail to produce a means of relocation go extinct. If we extend the concept of natural selection such that it operates on planetary scales then maybe we’re just the natural result of that selection working in the past which might explain why we’re so interested in space travel and exploration of universe – it’s an inherited trait critical to long term survival.

    That is what makes humans more important than lizards. So there! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Professor Pianka.

  73. bruce says:

    forgive the question’s being off topic.
    In about 1970 +,- two years one of these magazines published a story / research about a huge solar power system that would deliver the USA’s total power needs. Big boiler and lots of mirrors.

    I never read the article, dumb me. I do remember hearing it wasn’t feasible. The strange bit is with all the chatter about solar power, searching for the story doesn’t come up with anything.

  74. wws says:

    “Please offer any proof at all for your assertion that an intelligent species will evolve in about 100,00 years and take our niche if humans go extinct.”

    I’ll bet good money that you can’t prove it’s not true!!!!

    (and that makes every bit as much sense as your offer)

  75. pablo an ex pat says:

    As people consume goods and services and those take energy to provide it has been obvious to me for a while that in order to really reduce Carbon emissions there are only two real choices. Either keep the current population numbers and go back to a pre industrial society or reduce the population substantially and retain a modern standard of living for those who are left.

    The voluntary reduction of population has been proven not to work, China being the prime example although China’s demographics have been severely skewed as a result of their one child policies. That is already negatively impacting them and will impact them in a far more in future.

    If reduction of population is necessary to reduce carbon emissions and voluntary population reduction methods don’t work then what are you left with ?

  76. DirkH says:

    hunter says:
    July 26, 2010 at 5:32 am
    “Kevin B,
    Please offer any proof at all for your assertion that an intelligent species will evolve in about 100,00 years and take our niche if humans go extinct.”

    Labradors.

  77. tim maguire says:

    I canceled my subscription years ago when they published an article arguing that agriculture ended the ice age–that’s right, AGW started thousands of years ago. Their own charts and graphs didn’t support the argument the text was making. SciAm has become a mindless cheerleader for any AGW alarmism coming down the pike.

  78. Oldshedite says:

    Another article from the warmist faction at new Scientist that fits in with your criticism of ” science” journals

    All power to the wind – it cuts your electricity bills

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727704.900-all-power-to-the-wind–it-cuts-your-electricity-bills.html

  79. Anton says:

    hunter says . . .

    “The AGW social movement has turned SA, Nat. Geo, and other formerly respectable magazines into shrill parodies of what they once were.
    And their news content and quality has suffered dramatically.
    This example of media implosion exists across most media organizations.
    The first media outlet that chooses to actually report instead of promote will benefit not only from a recovery of credibility but will also make a great deal of money. People are hungry for real reporting.”

    Unfortunately, market studies and ad revenues indicate otherwise. Those magazines, newspapers, and television programs that portray horror, drama, destruction, and misery tend to draw in far larger audiences and make way more money. The Weather Channel was going broke until it hit on its scare series postulating “what if ,” and its turnaround in fortunes is directly attributable to the abandonment of objectivity and straight reporting. Rupert Murdock owns Nat Geo Channel. He purports to be a conservative, but he is foremost a businessman, and knows full well that hype and melodrama make money.

    Scientific American is a business, not a charity, and its descent into freak show journalism simply reflects a global media trend.

  80. David Corcoran says:

    There’s one saving grace, by urging their readers to forswear fecundity, SciAm is helping to remove a lot of idiots from the gene pool. Some problems solve themselves given time.

  81. PaulH says:

    It’s a shame what happened to Scientific American. In my library I have some very old, bound editions of Scientific American from the 1870’s (all the latest advances in steam technology). Now it seems SciAm is just a sister publication of People Magazine.

  82. Jim_J says:

    I stopped a 10 year subscription after I read the first Bush-bashing article in SA. That’s when I realized that it was no longer about science but about politics.

  83. Neo says:

    What if we woke in the morning and Scientific American was gone ?

  84. Julie Woods says:

    I thought the Scientific American video was interesting. I saw a programme on the BBC some time ago about “Life after Man”; it too was really interesting. Don’t be so stroppy all the time. Lighten up.

  85. John Innes says:

    Count me as another who dropped SciAm when it became apparent that TAS was not only gone, but not coming back

    For a representative of a possible replacement species, I would nominate the little ringtail possum that lives in my ceiling during inclement weather. His “hands” each have two thumbs opposed to three fingers. This could be a portent, and sometimes makes me envious. Nice nature, too: if I climb up to investigate a noise (see what he has knocked over), and decide I want to take a photo, he waits while I go and get my camera. Cute enough, or intelligent enough, to manipulate a human into giving him house room.

  86. j molloy says:

    the VHEM were to late for jonestown & heaven’s gate so they’ve started a new one. And this time we’re all invited! Lucky old us (sarc off)

  87. DirkH says:

    Oldshedite says:
    July 26, 2010 at 7:34 am
    “Another article from the warmist faction at new Scientist that fits in with your criticism of ” science” journals

    All power to the wind – it cuts your electricity bills

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727704.900-all-power-to-the-wind–it-cuts-your-electricity-bills.html

    Didn’t notice that here in Germany. That must be new.

  88. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Environmentalism, at least certain bits of it, has had a taint of species-suicidal nature to it for awhile. Intelligent, well-educated people who are well versed in sound environmental principles, convince themselves a great way to help save the planet is to forswear having their own offspring. Those who don’t care about the environment, by choice or by not knowing the issues or even by circumstance, don’t have those problems and freely breed. Thus those in the best position to raise a new generation which is knowledgeable about the environment and willing to take care of it, do not, while those who will likely raise children who likewise do not care for the environment, do so. Thus the ratios get skewed and too many “don’t cares” may eventually destroy their own habitat.

    Of course we can freely see what their “solution” is: Take over public education and indoctrinate other people’s kids into caring for the environment. Eh, those parents had it coming, ’cause if they cared as much as real environmentalists then they never would have had kids in school anyway. Right?

    At the other extreme for “caring environmentalists” they have their own children because they recognize their kids will be the best able to tackle the problems and save the planet. Then they figure out how to keep those less caring from breeding. In milder forms of the condition you find things like wholehearted support for abortion, as a universal right that should have no restrictions, as it means there will be less of (and they are very careful on the wording) “those people.” From there it goes off into eugenics, by various means people must show they are worthy of breeding. On the light end you find reasonable-sounding items like having people pass a test to show they would be good parents. On the heavy end, of course, whole groups are kept from breeding, whether the divisions are between the wealthy (those who are “proven”) and the poor (the “untested” and “failed”), or by education levels, and even along racial lines going by historical trends (“These people have always been a waste of effort to educate!”).

    What would be the “fair” solution? Don’t interfere, let anyone breed, let Nature settle it out. Do you really want to be one with Nature? Then abide by her rules, same as any other species, and accept the population booms and busts that other lifeforms have as well. Mankind has a built-in desire to propagate as much as possible, and we have repeatedly learned that working with the environment is the best long-term strategy for a sustainable large population. The “problem” will take of itself.

    Besides, if anything went really bad then mankind, being intelligent, is best able to quickly fix the problem. You want to believe in a Living Earth? Accept that humanity has been generated as the fast-acting repair and immunity system. Sure we put a load on the system, but imagine what could happen if we weren’t here to rise up to a planet-threatening challenge. And hey, those asteroids won’t deflect themselves, for one example.

  89. Enneagram says:

    As the great George Carlin said about “endangered species”: “Just let them go!”….and: “the world is not going anywhere, WE ARE!, so pack your sh**s folks!”

  90. Enneagram says:

    [snip way off topic, and flamebait to boot ~mod]

  91. DirkH says:

    DirkH says:
    “Didn’t notice that here in Germany. That must be new.”
    Ok i skimmed through the linked paper
    http://isi.fraunhofer.de/isi/publ/download/isi07a18/merit-order-effect.pdf?pathAlias=/publ/downloads/isi07a18/merit-order-effect.pdf

    They ran simulations of the German electricity market, noting the caveat that their simulation assumes 100% of the electricity is traded on the spot market when in rality it’s only 16.5 %. The rest is traded via bilateral contracts.

    They don’t compare the behaviour of their modeled prizes with real prizes from the spot market.

    Need i say more?

  92. Enneagram says:

    We better do not commit voluntary suicide in the event of “interesting times” which could account for the disappearance of a great number of human beings. Perhaps nature it is anticipating to eventual armageddon or a more probable ice-age scenario

  93. DirkH says:

    DirkH says:
    July 26, 2010 at 10:39 am
    “[...]Need i say more?”

    Well, yes i think i need to. They say we, the German consumers, pay about twice as much as subsidy for the renewable power as is its market value (assuming the grossly inflated electricity prizes in Germany to boot). Then they go on to find out via simulations that the prize-dampening effect of renewables (concerning the marginal prize) makes good for half or more of the entire cross-subsidy; so the message is: we might not win anything but at least we don’t lose money.

    Given the unaddressed shortcomings of their simulations – they don’t even talk about the need to improve them or evaluate the deviation from reality – i would say this study is rigged big time. Fraunhofer is big in the renewables research business so i’m not surprised.

  94. Pull My Finger says:

    OK, the unblinking Green Fascist Cyborg Soul Patch Doofus paired with the oddly jubilant funk-techno music is about the creepiest thing I’ve seen in quite a while. Terminator 5, Hippie Douchebag Salivation. History Channel did a series called “Life After People” which was pretty interesting, but as far as I recall didn’t encourage or glorify mass-sui-genocide.

  95. pgosselin says:

    I liked both clips.
    It’s clear who destroys who.

  96. Nancy says:

    I just love these self-hating individuals that want all the rest of us to follow them into death — oh, wait. That’s our deaths, not theirs.

    If they want to immolate themselves on the altar of Gaia, fine, but leave me out of it. I have few enough years remaining, but I doubt my grandkids are eager to follow this particular pied piper.

    Good old Mother Gaia, red of tooth and claw, makes survival of any species problematical. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am human and loyal to my species, unlike this bunch of scientific loons.

  97. Peter says:

    One thing’s for certain, if there weren’t any humans around then absolutely nobody would be worried about climate change.

  98. EthicallyCivil says:

    reminds me of the “The Caravazan Empire” — s.f. reference

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_Upcountry#Major_Interstellar_Players

    who believe in the need to remove all negative human influence from the galaxy (except of course the few very wealthy “caretakers” of the worlds), and if the work the planetary population to death during the cleanup — well that’s just good efficiency, now isn’t it. Now of course they can’t abandon technology *themselves*. How else could they fight the enemies of nature if they did?

  99. Reed Coray says:

    Voluntary Human Extinction Movement — Now there’s a self-limiting organization if there ever was one.

  100. sherlock says:

    SciAm hit bottom for me in the Fall of 2008, when they published a piece about some election coverage research that claimed to show that McCain had gotten more favorable coverage than Obama. If you read carefully, though, you realized that the period “studied”was during the nominations, at a time when Hillary was still considered inevitable (so she was getting all the love, not Obama), and McCain was in the running race as a “moderate” (and eventual stalking horse for the media). So there was absolutely no direct comparison between the coverage given McCain and Obama when they were running against each other, even thought the headline and lead-in to the article encouraged you to think that was what it was all about! That was the last time I read the magazine with any enthusiasm, and the subscription is now running out – not to be renewed.

  101. John A says:

    I notice that the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is still around, so much for leadership.

    That cracked me up.

    Thanks Anthony

  102. Enneagram says:

    All those great scientists, all those great new age philosophers, not even one of them can tell us the purpose of the human existence on this particular planet. Oh! How great post normal science is, it knows nothing….and if you know nothing better follow your “precautionary principle” and proceed accordingly.

  103. pablo an ex pat says:

    I had two young ladies approach my house asking for my signature on a petition for my local city to provide abortion assistance to people who couldn’t afford it. I declined to sign their petition and sought to engage them in conversation expressing an opposite view point to the one they were supporting. It was of course pointless as their minds were made up. One young lady went so far as to tell me that she had decided never to have children as a way of helping the planet.

    I told her that I hoped that she had a long and happy career in a job which provided her with an excellent income. I also hoped that she found a partner who was likewise blessed. I also told her that I hoped that she bought a beautiful home and lastly I hoped that she had the gift of good taste to fill it with beautiful things.

    She looked a little surprised at the extent of my good wishes so I had to explain that my intent was a little mercenary as in the fullness of time I was hoping that my descendants could pick up some really nice stuff for pennies on the dollar at her estate sale.

  104. Dave Springer says:

    pablo an ex pat says:
    July 26, 2010 at 6:38 am
    As people consume goods and services and those take energy to provide it has been obvious to me for a while that in order to really reduce Carbon emissions there are only two real choices. Either keep the current population numbers and go back to a pre industrial society or reduce the population substantially and retain a modern standard of living for those who are left.

    The voluntary reduction of population has been proven not to work, China being the prime example although China’s demographics have been severely skewed as a result of their one child policies. That is already negatively impacting them and will impact them in a far more in future.

    If reduction of population is necessary to reduce carbon emissions and voluntary population reduction methods don’t work then what are you left with ?

    Eugenics, mass starvation, nuclear/biological/chemical weapons… among the less savory choices. Advancements in science & technology are the preferred route and is what made Paul Erlich look like a fool with his 1968 book “The Population Bomb”.

    Rate natural increase is the birth rate minus the death rate. The following lists 200 nations and compares RNI in 1990-1995 with 2005-2010. It is a story of overall decline in RNI. There are many factors that go into RNI. Just because some of these countries have high and rising rates doesn’t mean they’re reproducing like bunny rabbits but rather means that the average lifespan is increasing due to them reaping the benefits of modern medicine, agriculture, sanitation, and things of that nature. It should also be noted that reduced RNI in some countries (cough cough China cough cough) isn’t entirely voluntary.

    Worldwide human population is expected to stabilize at 9 billion around 2050. There’s no reason to doubt it and there’s also no reason to doubt that size population can be sustained indefinitely and enjoy increasingly higher standards of living through the steady inexorable flow of advancements in science & engineering.

    http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/indicators/138.html

  105. Jim G says:

    Poop-canned “Unscientific American” long ago when it became what it now is. Any good science periodicals out there that anyone would recommend? I still get Astronomy and Sky & Telescope which have both signed on to AGW, some bandwagon science and astronomy as well as much other liberal hogwash. But still have some interesting astronomy news and articles for those of us who do a little amateur stuff in that area.

  106. Chuck says:

    The “Life After People” series did a far better job on this subject than those videos…. and had much better graphics. That animated guy sits right at the bottom of the Uncanny Valley, quite repulsive.

  107. Larry Fields says:

    Wet Blanket Larry puts the human population situation into perspective.

    Yes, population is a legitimate concern. If every third family left for booming colonies on Mars, many of our environmental and other problems would decrease in the short-to-intermediate term. Less hunger in the developing countries. Less overfishing. Less aquifer depletion. Less pollution. Easier to get a weekend camping spot in Yosemite.

    That said, human population *can be* a non-draconian, self-regulating system. For much of the world, the Demographic Transition (DemTr) is a better model than the Malthusian nightmare scenario, which would apply to Haiti, if the food and other aid from the US dried up.

    The necessary conditions for DemTr are: industrialization, urbanization, rudimentary public health measures, universal education, strong property rights, and respect for the rights of women. In the early stages of the DemTr, birth rates remain high, while death rates (especially from infant mortality) plummet. In the short term, this increases the rate of population growth.

    However in the longer term, birth rates decline, because parents choose to have smaller families. We can see this happening in most of the Western European countries–Ireland notwithstanding–and in Japan. In these places, the birth rates are well below replacement value. And this is creating a new demographic problem.

    In an age-structure pyramid, we can afford to have generous social security programs for the elderly. But as the population grays, the social security system places a proportionately greater burden on younger adults.

    Some W European countries are attempting a short-term solution to the problem, through immigration. An unfortunate side-effect: the clash of civilizations. (The last time I checked, Denmark had relatively strict immigration policies.) On the other hand, Japan has made a conscious decision that immigration is not the solution to their social-security-financing problem.

    Getting back to the main point, environmentalists who are genuinely concerned about the human ecological footprint on the planet, should focus their efforts on promoting the initial conditions for DemTr in the developing countries. Getting preachy, making overpopulation a moral issue, and encouraging Big Government to violate fundamental human reproductive rights is definitely not the right way to go.

  108. GregO says:

    Sci Am and Newsweek both died for me after Climategate and now this utter drivel. This is just too weird to make up. Whatever happened to humanism? People for people – that’s me.

    I don’t think it’s worthwhile to worry about too many people. Google “depopulation” and you will see that there are countries emptying out of people as we speak – notably Russia and parts of Eastern Europe but many countries in Europe are rapidly graying and faced with looming population implosions. Japan is graying too.

    Have some kids, they’re great; and its great to have a family – I love my family.

    Business is good.
    People are great.
    Life is wonderful.

  109. Enneagram says:

    Thanks! GregO says:
    July 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm
    Have some kids, they’re great; and its great to have a family – I love my family.
    Those green guys and their non-reproductive behavior are sick people. Health is a human right, and we must enforce it. Let’s take them to an asylum!

  110. JPeden says:

    Stefan says:
    July 26, 2010 at 3:23 am [nice post, but not to ignore the others]:

    They say humans have little value, and yet their very ability to pose the question, “how do I care for the planet?” is itself a product of deep value and ethics.

    Yes, and along the lines of what you also mentioned, it’s also a product of the brain’s mysterious and miraculous capacity to be able to do such things as caring in the first place – which apparently goes completely unnoticed by the minds of people such as those who “join” VHMT – along with its capacity to do other things such as, yes, even to notice and to willfully wonder, create new thoughts which can also successfully communicate the thoughts to others – “thought mating” anyone? – and so on and on.

    Not seeing the obvious seems to lead many people to despair, but once your basic survival and comfort needs are somewhat adequately satisfied and perhaps you do what you reasonably can for others, what more “value” does anyone need to see in life other than the amazing power of their own brain? Indeed, recognizing also that life is almost necessarliy not perfect and always a continuous battle of some kind or other, why shouldn’t it be reproduced?

  111. Ralph says:

    >>Oldshed
    >>All power to the wind – it cuts your electricity bills
    >> http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727704.900-all-power-to-the-wind–it-cuts-your-electricity-bills.html

    There is a flaw in their argument.

    If the wind is blowing, and the white elephants are producing electricity for a change, that does not mean that they can be used for peak energy demand. You will still need to bring on a reliable peak energy supplier (normally a gas plant) to cover the peak loads. And thus the peak energy costs will be the same.

    The entire article is disingenuous.

    .

  112. Ralph says:

    >>Enneagram:
    >>Those green guys and their non-reproductive behavior are sick
    >>people. Health is a human right, and we must enforce it. Let’s
    >>take them to an asylum!

    I think you missed the real point the Greens are making.

    You are not allowed to have any kids, because you are an antisocial Westerners. But the third world can go on having as many as they like, because they are in tune with nature.

    As the Greenpeace spokes-female said to me: “we have never, and will never, campaign on population issues”.

    What she meant was that the third world could push the population to 15 billion, and that was ok with Greenpeace – because populations never affect food supply, emissions, water supply, Co2 levels, rain forests etc: Populations have no effect on the world at all, apparently, unless you are a dirty, stinking Westerner.

    .

  113. Gail Combs says:

    >>Oldshed
    >>All power to the wind – it cuts your electricity bills…

    Ralph says:
    July 26, 2010 at 4:54 pm
    There is a flaw in their argument….
    The entire article is disingenuous.
    ___________________________________________________
    The whole thing is pablum for the uneducated masses.

    Charles S. Opalek, PE an engineer looked into wind power very carefully. WIND POWER FRAUD: WHY WIND WON’T WORK

    Biofuel is also a fraud:
    Cornell ecologist’s study finds that producing ethanol and biodiesel from corn and other crops is not worth the energy
    In terms of energy output compared with the energy input for biodiesel production, the study found that:
    * corn requires 29 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced;
    * switch grass requires 45 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced; and
    * wood biomass requires 57 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced.
    * soybean plants requires 27 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced, and
    * sunflower plants requires 118 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced.

    A very dangerous fraud that kills people
    Biofuel Bean Counters Forget to Count the Beans
    “Mr. Glauber testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that biofuels have actually contributed up to 10% of the overall increase in global food prices…

    Farm and ethanol groups say biofuels have become a scapegoat for higher food prices, claiming the real culprit is surging oil prices….

    Keith Collins, Mr. Glauber’s predecessor, who recently released a study funded by Kraft Foods Inc. showing that ethanol is having a bigger impact than the government has acknowledged.”

    (The cost of livestock feed has doubled to tripled since 2007. Monsanto and Cargill grain traders reported record earnings in 2008)

    The whole blasted thing is a money making scam. All the big companies win big and the poor starve or freeze to death.

  114. DCC says:

    Not to worry if all the folks in the USA become extinct voluntarily. The National Academy of Sciences assures us that there are Linkages among climate change, crop yields and Mexico–US cross-border migration. In other words, climate change will reduce agricultural yields in Mexico thereby causing mass migrations to the north where, presumably, the newly arriving cheap labor and added CO2 will have beneficial effects on crop yields.

    This tidbit was courtesy of two authors at Princeton, one in Shanghai, and the fine editing pencil of Stephen Schneider at Stanford. Can the NAS possibly sink any lower?

  115. 4 says:

    Well if nothing else this is further evidence for the hypothesis of natural selection. These ideas will largely die with there originators, and I can pass on my genes and principles to a better next generation.

  116. Merovign says:

    Gail Combs says:
    July 26, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    You can tell ‘em, but they won’t listen until the myriad windmills stand rotting and the fields must be reclaimed for food.

    No doubt this lesson, like those before, will have to be learned again and again. I wonder what the next lesson will be?

    Or do we just recycle them? I saw a hydrogen fuel (as in burning it in cars) website the other day – someone has a math problem.

  117. Larry Fields says:

    Gail Combs says:
    July 26, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Biofuel is also a fraud:
    Cornell ecologist’s study finds that producing ethanol and biodiesel from corn and other crops is not worth the energy
    In terms of energy output compared with the energy input for biodiesel production, the study found that:

    The figures that you gave are not carved in stone. My understanding is that they assume present energy-intensive production methods. In the distant future, when coal, oil, and natural gas prices all go through the roof, we’re going to see the re-introduction of more labor-intensive and mule-power-intensive agricultural methods. Then the figures will be different, and some of them may very well smash through the energy break-even barrier to make biofuel for the cars of the wealthy.

    For the near-to-medium future, a more useful figure of merit would involve comparisons with the Fischer-Tropsch process for using relatively plentiful coal as a feedstock for producing hydrocarbon fuel for our cars. Even though the process is expensive, at some point, it’ll be cheaper than using oil that we pump out of the ground. Why? Oil prices will rise faster than coal prices. And the US is the Saudi Arabia of coal.

    We should also look at the energy budget for producing hydrocarbon fuel from tar sands. Alberta and Venezuela are the Saudi Arabias of tar sands.

  118. Ralph says:

    >>Larry:
    >>we’re going to see the re-introduction of more labor-intensive
    >>and mule-power-intensive agricultural methods

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, , ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,……..

    Don’t you just love these pipe-dream Greenies – they will kill us all one day.

    The only reason we have enough food to make fuel from it, is because of intensive farming. Go back to the mule or horse, and we will all be starving, like so many were before intensive farming came along.

  119. Gail Combs says:

    Merovign says:
    July 26, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Gail Combs says:
    July 26, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    ….I saw a hydrogen fuel (as in burning it in cars) website the other day – someone has a math problem.
    _______________________________________________________
    hydrogen fueled cars sounds like a good way to earn the Darwin Award.

    The tendency for Americans to wrap kids in cotton leads to a greater number earning the award when they grow up.

  120. Gail Combs says:

    Ralph says:
    July 27, 2010 at 3:03 am

    ……Don’t you just love these pipe-dream Greenies – they will kill us all one day.

    The only reason we have enough food to make fuel from it, is because of intensive farming. Go back to the mule or horse, and we will all be starving, like so many were before intensive farming came along.
    __________________________________________________________________
    You are correct.

    1830 – About 250-300 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (5 acres) of wheat with walking plow, brush harrow, hand broadcast of seed, sickle, and flail

    1850 – About 75-90 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels of corn (2-1/2 acres) with walking plow, harrow, and hand planting

    1862-75 – Change from hand power to horses characterized the first American agricultural revolution

    1926 – Successful light tractor developed

    1945 – 10-14 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (2 acres) of corn with tractor, 3-bottom plow, 10-foot tandem disk, 4-section harrow, 4-row planters and cultivators, and 2-row picker

    In 1860 we had 58% of the labor force working the same number of farms as today to feed 10% of today’s population

    In 1860 farmers made up 58% of labor force and the number of farms: 2,044,000
    Total population: 23,191,786 (use of the horse as a farm animal)

    by1940 Farmers made up 18% of labor force and the number of farms: 6,102,000
    (use of light tractors)

    by 1990 Farmers made up 2.6% of labor force and the number of farms: 2,143,150
    Total population: 246,081,000
    http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blfarm4.htm

    1840’s – The growing use of factory-made agricultural machinery increased farmers’ need for cash and encouraged commercial farming
    1841 – Practical grain drill patented
    1842 – First grain elevator, Buffalo, NY
    1844 – Practical mowing machine patented
    1847 – Irrigation begun in Utah
    1849 – Mixed chemical fertilizers sold commercially

    http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blfarm1.htm

    Everyone assumes the burning of coal and use of oil was confined to the 20th century – it was not. As soon as a practical steam engine was invented it was put to use in mining and farming. In 1868 – Steam tractors were tried out in Agriculture and by the 1890’s Agriculture became increasingly mechanized and commercialized.

    Too bad no one bothers to teach history anymore.

  121. Larry Fields says:

    Ralph says:
    July 27, 2010 at 3:03 am
    “>>Larry:
    >>we’re going to see the re-introduction of more labor-intensive
    >>and mule-power-intensive agricultural methods
    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,”

    It’s encouraging to see that the fine art of out-of-context risposte is alive and well. I was describing a scenario for a possible *distant* future, in which the CONGs (coal, oil, natural gas) are seriously depleted and prohibitively expensive.
    Q: What’re you gonna do when you can’t afford to fill up the tank of your tractor?
    One possible alternative: Muscle-powered agriculture is better than no agriculture at all.

    I did *not* say that population would remain constant. In an earlier post in this thread, I briefly mentioned the Demographic Transition. Because of the DemTr, birth rates in the US dipped below replacement levels in the 1930s. Many couples decided to postpone having children until the Depression was over. Psychic Larry predicts that a similar thing will happen in the *distant* future in response to outrageously expensive CONGs. The US population will decline.

    I also did *not* say that muscle-powered agriculture was particularly efficient. In our energy-intensive culture, not only do we drive oil, but we eat it as well.

    It’s very likely that a pared-down population will be able to feed itself, even with less productive agricultural methods.

    Of course there will be innovations to partially compensate for the sky-high oil prices. How about steam-powered tractors that use Strontium-90 as a heat source? Just don’t ask me to drive one!

  122. NovaReason says:

    As someone who signed up for VHEMT I am shocked at how many people assume it’s a suicide cult without even having looked at the 2nd line on the FIRST PAGE.

    “Phasing out the human race by [b]voluntarily ceasing to breed[/b] will allow Earth’s biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.”

    No suicide required. Everyone simply doesn’t breed, leading to the end of humanity by natural (individual) causes. Jumping on a good cause like it’s a comet cult.

    Really, I just don’t like kids, so I don’t want any. XD

  123. Pascvaks says:

    People are more like ‘Lemmings’ than lemmings are like ‘Lemmings’. Like lemmings, and weather, and climate, people too have their ups and downs. They generally can’t distinguish when they’re up or when they’re down, especially while they’re up or while they’re down; but years later, their children –especially the ones who go to college– seem to have no trouble recognizing these up and down periods, and telling them how great or stupid they were way back then. My kids think the world is OK now but that it went to the dogs and everybody was so stupid fifty years ago. No wonder old folks think kids are more stupider than at any time in the history of the world.

  124. So much above is the same for me. My goal as an 8 year old was to have the reading ability to read a SA from cover to cover. Now the information density is so low, I do not even bother to open the cover.

    The Cause, Margaritte Holloway… I determined this cause many years ago.
    I collected SA’s, and have a large bound collection, that is until the early 90’s when I gave up in disgust at the lack of truth.

  125. Spector says:

    I hope that no demented anti-humanist is ever allowed to have unquestioned access to the resources of a modern biotech lab. If we do not have world-wide processes in place to put strict multi-disciplinary controls on research involving dangerous organisms, this could be another disaster waiting to happen.

  126. The Iceman Cometh says:

    The first SciAm in my library is dated June 1951 and it is pretty continuous until 2008. My first rage was when they screwed Bjorn Lomborg – four green nutters were given pages in which to rubbish Lomborg and he wasn’t given the courtesy of a reply. I think the whole publishing fiasco summarised by Climategate got its impetus from that criminal act. Then they started toeing the ‘required by science’ line, and I couldn’t see the point of paying good money for a magazine I was only going to be sick over. All the things that made SciAm great have gone – but I still keep my back issues to show what it was like. The series, over several years, on the evolution of the microchip, is an unforgettable classic.

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