Quote of the week – “The Noble Savage”

Dr. David Deming has an interesting essay on the logical flaws in modern environmentalism that are rooted in a meme known as “The Noble Savage”.

Excerpt (with my bolded quote) below:

All of this would be of academic interest only, were it not the case that the modern environmental movement and many of our public policies are based implicitly on the myth of the Noble Savage. The fountainhead of modern environmentalism is Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. The first sentence in Silent Spring invoked the Noble Savage by claiming

“there was once a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings.”

But the town Carson described did not exist, and her polemic, Silent Spring, introduced us to environmental alarmism based on junk science. As the years passed, Rachel Carson was elevated to sainthood and the template laid for endless spasms of hysterical fear-mongering, from the population bomb, to nuclear winter, the Alar scare, and global warming.

Human beings have not, can not, and never will live in harmony with nature. Our prosperity and health depend on technology driven by energy. We exercise our intelligence to command nature, and were admonished by Francis Bacon to exercise our dominion with “sound reason and true religion.” When we are told that our primary energy source, oil, is “making us sick,” or that we are “addicted” to oil, these are only the latest examples of otherwise rational persons descending into gibberish after swooning to the lure of the Noble Savage. This ignorant exultation of the primitive can only lead us back to the Stone Age.

Read the entire essay here

The Noble Savage and Noble Cause Corruption seem to be familiar bedfellows.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Alarmism, Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

162 Responses to Quote of the week – “The Noble Savage”

  1. Russ in Houston says:

    Nature is never harmonious. The natural order of things in the wild is you kill to eat or you die. If you are an herbivore, you flee from predators and when one of the herd is taken down you breathe a sigh of relief. There is no pity in nature. People that would speak about the noble savage have never gone hungry and would do well to consider that wealth is the only thing that allows us to be civilized.

  2. perlcat says:

    Excellent article!

  3. Chris B says:

    From Wikipedia

    The term noble savage (French, bon sauvage), expresses the concept an idealized indigene, outsider (or “other”), and refers to the literary stock character of the same. In English the phrase first appeared in the 17th century in John Dryden’s heroic play, The Conquest of Granada (1672), where it was used by a Christian prince disguised as a Spanish Muslim to refer to himself, but it later became identified with the idealized picture of “nature’s gentleman”, which was an aspect of 18th-century sentimentalism. The noble savage achieved prominence as an oxymoronic rhetorical device after 1851, when used sarcastically as the title for satirical essay by English novelist Charles Dickens, who wished to disassociate himself from 18th and early 19th-century romantic primitivism.

    The idea that in a state of nature humans are essentially good is often attributed to the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, a Whig supporter of constitutional monarchy. In his Inquiry Concerning Virtue (1699), Shaftesbury had postulated that the moral sense in humans is natural and innate and based on feelings rather than resulting from the indoctrination of a particular religion. Shaftesbury was reacting to Thomas Hobbes’s justification of royal absolutism in his Leviathan, Chapter XIII, in which he famously holds that the state of nature is a “war of all against all” in which men’s lives are “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. The notion of the state of nature itself derives from the republican writings of Cicero and of Lucretius, both of whom enjoyed great vogue in the 18th century, after having been revived amid the optimistic atmosphere of Renaissance humanism.

  4. Contra Rousseau, someone once opined: “We are not fallen angels. We are risen apes.”

  5. Chris B says:

    Voltaire has the best quote.

    From the essay:

    “According to Rousseau, civilization itself was the scourge of humanity. Rousseau went so far as to make the astonishing claim that the source of all human misery was what he termed our “faculty of improvement,” or the use of our minds to improve the human condition.

    Rousseau sent a copy of his book to Voltaire. In a letter acknowledging receipt of the work, Voltaire made a pithy and devastating criticism. “I have received, monsieur, your new book against the human race. I thank you for it…no one has ever employed so much intellect in the attempt to prove us beasts. A desire seizes us to walk on four paws when we read your work. Nevertheless, as it is more than sixty years since I lost the habit, I feel, unfortunately, that it is impossible for me to resume it.””

  6. R. Gates says:

    “Human beings have not, can not, and never will live in harmony with nature. Our prosperity and health depend on technology driven by energy.”

    ———
    This is the biggest lie one could possibly spread. First of all, we are not separate from nature, so to suggest the humans can’t live in harmony with nature creates a false dichotomy. Of course nature lives in harmony with itself! When the lion eats the gazelle, that is harmony! It guarantees the continuation of both! Death and decay are part of the cycle of rebirth. Yes, humans must use energy, as all living things must, and the inevitable law of entropy and times arrow is the only law that we as part of nature cannot escape. Our prosperity and health depend on learning and applying the laws of science in wise ways. You can choose to smoke and drink and eat poorly and not exercise and live and very unhealthy life. So too, humanity can choose to apply the laws of science in wise ways that promote a healthy society using healthy and smart applications of technology. It is not humans versus nature, for we are nature, and we can control our healthy and prosperous future by acting and living wisely.

  7. Alan Watt says:

    Living in harmony with nature means living with tics, fleas, lice, mosquitoes and all manner of other pests, and all the diseases they vector. Mastering technology has allowed us to live longer, healthier, more comfortably, in greater numbers and with more leisure time to improve our minds, should we be so inclined.

    Not all that long ago, even in what are now advanced industrial societies, “work” for most people meant physical labor with their arms and backs. Now it means sitting in a comfortable chair in a climate-controlled office and exerting trivial energy tapping keys.

    Liberals often accuse conservatives of wanting to “turn back the clock”. Greenies want to do a time-warp back to when life truly was brutish and short.

  8. Doug Proctor says:

    Deming writes about common sense thinking, using rather than avoiding the less pleasant facts of life. Living in a bubble, employing magical thinking, is not a child’s thing: it is a human thing. Creating a vision of the world that suits our emotional needs is, apparently, more important to us than creating one that suits our physical needs. Think only of how many people – abused spouses, not just genocide victims – listen to their own needs that things will get better, that the unthinkably horrible won’t happen, despite all their experience and persuasive evidence otherwise, and then suffer from what they knew would happen. It is easy to say that hope springs eternal. It might be better to say that blindness has its own reward, however temporary.

    CAGW has so many elements of bubble- or magical thinking. Linear extrapolations of one parameter in isolation from all others is the fundamental character, but one which achieves the wisher’s goal: a view of himself as either victim or savior. Carson and Lovelock are victims; Al Gore and David Suzuki are saviors. All are black/white, on/off thinkers.

    Humanity as a scourge, a pestilence on the face of the planet: Maurice Strong, Paul Erhlich, Jim Hansen. Each promotes situations that involve, essentially, removing the human element from Earth. They wouldn’t even be happy if we transported humanity to the Moon: before long our footprints and tire tracks would crisscross what they fondly would recall as “pristine”; our exhalations would contaminate what was, before, a “pure” vacuum as the Universe meant it to be.

    And of nature, what? Have any of these nature lovers ever followed a herd of cariboo across the tundra? The defecations and urinations at their watering holes are disgusting and ruin the water supply for … well, for humans, but we don’t count. And beavers drown forests, though frogs are happy. Wherein does life not negatively affect other lives? Sustainable? Eventually a stability of sorts is reestablished whenever new species invade an area, but until then, there are many changes that are not welcome to the prior occupants. Perhaps that is what we are seeing today: the initial stages of human colonization of this planet. Stability (of sorts) will arise, but what will be will not be what was.

    But the past never extends into the future. That is why one thing is called the past and the other, the future.

  9. R. Gates says:

    Alan Watt says:
    February 14, 2012 at 8:47 am
    Living in harmony with nature means living with tics, fleas, lice, mosquitoes and all manner of other pests, and all the diseases they vector.

    ——–
    Absolutely wrong! Why did nature give you a brain! To alter and transform the world around you! You, as part of nature don’t have to accept anything, but rather to create a world you can live in, and if you you want that world to be healthy and prosperous, then you’ll wisely apply your knowledge of how the world works to create a health and prosperous world!

  10. John W. Garrett says:

    This is an excellent piece. From the very day that we are conceived, “Nature” works very hard to kill each of us— and will eventually succeed.

  11. John says:

    Sorry, “Silent Spring” was not based on junk science. DDT really did make egg shells thinner, heavier birds such as Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons and others really did have much less breeding success, to the point where both were on the endangered species list.

    When Steve Milloy of the junk science website said that DDT never did these things, I went back to the original science, and I found that there was considerable amount of good observational science in which various birds were fed food with different amounts of DDT or DDT breakdown by products, and there was a dose response relationship between more DDT and thinner eggs shells, which in fact did break when the birds tried to incubate them, at higher levels of DDT.

    And now, of course, Bald Eagles once again breed successfully and are off the endangered species list.

    There has been a lot of junk science, but please don’t blame every junk science scare — which certainly do exist, or I wouldn’t read this website — on Silent Spring’s raising the alarm on DDT’s prevention of breeding success in many birds.

    DDT can be useful even today, for instance in Africa by applying it in moderation indoors in thatch huts in the outback. The mosquitoes carrying malaria will not enter, and the people don’t get sick. But the far greater and widespread use of DDT on farms did indeed have the effects Rachel Carson said it did.

    Every environmental scare has to be evaluated on its own. If we say every environental issue is BS, because a number of such issues have been shown to be BS, we are setting ourselves up for a fall. We will be judged on a major issue where we were wrong, and we won’t be listened to any more. So let’s look at each issue on its own, and retain our credibility.

  12. Chuckles says:

    In a similar vein to inventing the rain-forest.I’d say.

    http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/files/upldbook2pdf.pdf

  13. Tom Davidson says:

    All life consumes resources and produces waste products. The resources become depleted and the waste products accumulate.
    The other hallmark of life is adaptation. As its resources become depleted a species adapts by learning to exploit new resources. As its waste products accumulate they become resources for another opportunistic species.
    The only ‘towns’ where all life seems “to live in harmony with its surroundings” are ghost towns.

  14. Ellen says:

    Nature is not your friend. Nature is your collaborator. Like all collaborations, it can be harmonious — or otherwise.

  15. Thomas Gough says:

    The traditional Inuit living in Greenland survived but it was anything but easy. Hunting from kayaks was a very skilled and risky business. Some early statistics from about 100 years ago (i.e. before significant western influences were felt) indicated that about 50% of all males aged between 16 and 25 died in kayak accidents. Although the groups formed a very close community, nonetheless a family was almost completely dependent on the husband’s/father’s hunting skills. If he was killed leaving his wife with a young family, then she had to hope that she would find another man to marry and soon. Normally this was not a possibility, in which case it was the accepted thing amongst the Inuit that she went with her children to the top of a sea cliff and they threw themselves off. This was necessary so that the group as a whole could survive.
    TTG

  16. Russ in Houston says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 8:44 am
    When the lion eats the gazelle, that is harmony!

    With that line of reasoning we can do no harm to “nature”. If we use carbon fuel and cause global warming, the most adaptable species will survive. That is natures way. So, I vote we drill baby, drill.

  17. Frank K. says:

    Alan Watt says:
    February 14, 2012 at 8:47 am

    “Liberals often accuse conservatives of wanting to “turn back the clock”.”

    Actually, the liberals are correct. Conservatives want to turn back the clock to a time before the liberals got into power and screwed everything up…

    On the current topic, our Green friends absolutely love to live in harmony with nature so long as a big eighteen wheel semi delivers organic yogurt and granola to their local grocery store, and some coal burning power plant delivers heat, AC, and electricity to their homes, offices, and schools…

  18. John Shade says:

    Voltaire spotted the poison in an instant! Yet we still find it all around us, and in recent years absurd legislation such as the UK’s Climate Change Act is passed with scarcely any parliamentary opposition. Are we really so incapable of learning? My one hope for this sorry period of climsci-politics, so well-exploited by haters of humanity, is that we shall gain enduring insights into human foolishness and frailty. I guess Voltaire would have a wry smile for that pious hope.

  19. Ed Caryl says:

    R. Gates,
    I agree with every word you wrote, but I suspect that my definition of “wise” and “wisely” differs from yours.

  20. NC Skeptic says:

    Reminds me of Darwin. He saw nature as violent and harsh. Not only was it species vs species, but it came down to individual vs. individual. Species survive and evolve as the best adapted individuals survived and reproduced.
    The notion of nature in harmony or in balance is very unscientific and anti Darwin.

  21. Matt Skaggs says:

    “Noble Savage” is of course a pejorative used by the self-absorbed to ridicule the infuriatingly humble, not an actual viewpoint that anyone has ever held. I have often thought that if Rachel Carson had not written Silent Spring, the bald eagle would almost certainly be extinct by now in the lower 48. Driving our national symbol to extinction might have had a more profound effect on our collective self-regard than the book.

  22. Matt Schilling says:

    People who want to “get back to nature” ought to take a look at those who see the business end of nature on a daily basis. I am very thankful that I am insulated from the vagaries of nature by, well, insulation, of course, but also by screens and windows and refrigerators and running water and ready access to electricity and plastic and a vehicle that is driven by the power of a hundred horses and that also shields me from the vagaries of nature, etc. etc. etc.
    I use this example when talking to these unserious daydreamers: I can easily place an elderly person, a very pregnant woman, and her toddler in my car, along with a couple hundred pounds of belongs. I can then transport all of us twenty or more miles in virtually any direction in half an hour or less. I can do this for less than $5. In creature comfort. We may very well arrive more refreshed than when we set out. Now, imagine performing that same feat while my little group is “back to nature”. No car, no covered wagon, no cart. I’ll be nice, and throw in a dog. If we attempt it at all, it will at least take all day. At best, we will arrive exhausted. Hopefully we all make it. God help the aged one, and the baby, and the one with child as we trek beyond the horizon in the heat or the cold or some other less than ideal weather.
    A life lived “back with nature” is, too often, stunted, sad, and brutal.

  23. Matt Schilling says:

    “belongs” in the 2nd paragraph should’ve been “belongings”. Sorry.

  24. Robert of Ottawa says:

    If there was ever a balance of nature, then there would have been no devlopment of species. We would still be microbes sloshing in primordial sea.

    For further info on the “Natural state of humanity” you might enjoy Stephen Pinker’s book: The Blank Slate.

  25. Earth worship (in various forms) is the oldest religion on the planet and currently experiencing a global revival amongst the ‘great and the good’. It is the state religion in most western countries.
    Dawkins would do far better attacking this religion than attacking Christianity.

  26. Joseph Murphy says:

    Noble Savage you say? Origin: Rousseau, Second Discourse… The noble savage is never in harmony with nature. He is just not at fault for his evils, he does not harbor ill will. Can’t anyone get their political theory right these days?! ;)

  27. R. Gates says:

    With that line of reasoning we can do no harm to “nature”. If we use carbon fuel and cause global warming, the most adaptable species will survive. That is natures way. So, I vote we drill baby, drill.
    ——-
    Ifnthe lion eats too many gazelles, then both are in jeapardy. You can choose to commit suicide, and all will happen in accordance to the laws of nature.

  28. R. Gates says:

    Ed Caryl says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:15 am
    R. Gates,
    I agree with every word you wrote, but I suspect that my definition of “wise” and “wisely” differs from yours.
    ——-
    Why would you suspect that? Wisdom is simply applying the laws of nature for a desired outcome. What we may differ on is the kind of world we want to create, but in this regard, our common humanity should prevail. Don’t we want a world our grandchildren and great grandchildren can live healthy and abundant lives in which they are free to achieve their maximum potentials?

  29. Mike D. says:

    Nice essay but somewhat of a strawman argument. Deming bundles a set of philosophies (which he incorrectly attributes to Rousseau and/or Carson) and then paints them on another hodgepodge, so-called environmentalists. The result is compounded over-simplification.

    It might have been better if Deming had chosen Luddites as his strawman. Or Puritans. Or patho-animist-pagans. Even then the mark would have been missed. Modern so-called environmentalism is not a simple nut to crack.

    There is something fundamentally anti-human about many modern philosophies. Humanity is commonly painted as toxic to nature (and indeed to ourselves). That sort of thinking (and action) is not the sole possession of so-called environmentalists, however. The urge to rob, enslave, punish, murder, and commit genocide has not abated despite our recent experience with mass slaughter. Wiping humanity off the face of the earth runs deep in our collective unconscious.

  30. Alan the Brit says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Yes all very well, but who is going to decide what is healthy, & prosperous, & how we act & live wisely? You seem to have left that bit out of your reasoning, for, it is that very small but jolly important little point, that all this CAGW nonsenese is all about,” who” gets the power (& the money) & chooses to play God! (If he & or she does actually exist – I’ll let the creationists & evolutionists fight that little gem out :-) )! As for living in harmony with nature if that is what some people want to do, then that’s fine by me, but don’t expect me to join in, other than the occasional weekend when I fancy playing cowboys & indians! I’ll stick to my technological world thanks – it’s easier. Now what was that line in that marvelous film, “Two Road Together”, James Stewart & Richard Widmark, (they don’t make movies like that anymore) when Stewart’s character is talking to the capured Spanish girl, something about being dead before she was 30 years old because of the tough lives of the Indians! Sometimes the obvious is staring you right in the face!

  31. wsbriggs says:

    John says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Sorry John, “Silent Spring” was very much based on junk science. While Rachel Carlson was mourning the loss of songbirds, the Audibon Society was recording record numbers of the very birds she was mourning. The discussion of the food chain – fish to raptors came later, and since you haven’t posted the references, I’m guessing that just like it was when I tried to find the research on the soft eggshells, there are still no replicable research projects demonstrating the soft eggshell hypothesis is correct. Not shooting Bald Eagles had vastly more to do with their comeback than did the DDT ban. On that note, what birds are we willing to sacrifice in Africa to protect the people from malaria? I’m in favor of spraying, just asking.

  32. Bill Marsh says:

    The ‘Noble Savage’ living in harmony wth the nature around him is truly a myth of epic proportions. What really occurred with Hunter-Gatherer societies was that they occupied a certain location for a period of 3 months or so. In that 3 months they exhausted the game available, polluted the streams and ponds, and cut down much of the vegetation. When they reached the point that they could no longer sustain themselves, they packed up and moved to a new area to repeat the cycle.

  33. R. Gates says:

    John W. Garrett says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:02 am
    This is an excellent piece. From the very day that we are conceived, “Nature” works very hard to kill each of us— and will eventually succeed.
    ——–
    Nature doesn’t “work hard” to kill us. Stop anthropomorphizing this. The laws of entropy are not “working hard”. Like water flowing down a hillside, the ultimate cold heat death of this particular universe is an easy watercouse way that requires no effort to follow times arrow. The trick is, to know that we can decide what kind of ride we take and then to enjoy the ride down.

  34. Dan Lee says:

    Having lived among “noble savages” in the jungles of Colombia back in the 1970s, witnessing the infanticide they practiced if the previous baby was healthy and still nursing when the next one was born (1 in 5 chance of any baby surviving), the unbelievable cruelty that was casually inflicted on animals and on each other, and of course the tons of CO2 they dumped into the atmosphere with their slash-and-burn economies, I’ve always wanted to take Gore & co.’s die-hard supporters on a “real” eco-tourism trip.

  35. cui bono says:

    The Noble Savage has a long history, from the brave native royalty brought back to Europe during the great explorations, to modern nitwittery about Australian or American Aboriginals having powers verging on the psychic. But the romantic view of unadorned Man is matched by a perverse romanticism of Nature as a whole.

    I think one of the keys of modern environmentalism is a desire to ‘even the odds’ between victors and vanquished, whereby the environmentalists believe that Nature has been subjugated by Man. Therefore, to support the underdog, they must favour Nature over Man. This means Man must be made to feel the guilt of his cruel victory. Their guilt must be shared by all. Humans must see Nature as “where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile”.

    In a few cases they have a point, but in the vast majority they greatly multiply Man’s powers and falsely enfeeble those of Nature. This leads to the idea that when anything bad happens it must be Man’s ‘fault’, be it any change in the climate, the ozone layer, acid rain, the disappearance of some species or the emergence of others.

    In almost all cases Man has nothing to do with it, and a volcano, earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, cold snap, heatwave, flood, drought, new disease or infestation will quickly show that Nature still has the whip hand.

    Unless, of course, environmentalists can persuade people that volcanos, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, cold snaps, heatwaves, floods, droughts, new diseases or infestations are all the result of the rapaciousness of our victory over Nature. They’re about halfway there with this nonsense in the rich world, and need to be stopped.

    The nobility of Man is represented by a painting by Leonardo, a concert by Mozart, a paper by Einstein, a tower to the sky, and a photo of a man standing on the Moon. It is no longer shown by a half-starved ignoramus in a loincloth trying to spear a gazelle.

  36. Jeremy says:

    R. Gates, “First of all, we are not separate from nature, so to suggest the humans can’t live in harmony with nature creates a false dichotomy. ”

    For once, I find myself in total agreement. Clearly you are stating an absolute truth that since humans are natural then whatever Humans do it is part of nature or completely natural.

    This is a FACT.

    Therefore, we don’t need the environmental police or state thought police enforcing rules over what is “natural” and permissible and what is NOT. This line of reasoning, so often used by governments and environmentalists, is completely groundless.

    All we can say is that all human activities must be weighed by society according to the overall benefits they bring versus the detriments they bring. It is high time we dispense with the absolutes that are espoused by extreme environmentalists and their fraudulent gravy train pseudo-scientific and political support networks.

  37. Russ in Houston says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

    My point is this – If we are part of nature, then everything that we do is “natural” by definition. Pollution? No problem, its a natural waste product. However, if we are something more, something above the animals, something above nature, then we would have a responsibility to conserve and to protect “nature”. I don’t see how it can be both ways. Nature doesn’t care about conservation. Nature only cares about success. And only on the short term. Nature couldn’t care less about 100 years from now. If we have a responsibility to conserve and protect, it is a very unnatural value. Who would have assigned us that responsibility?

  38. More Soylent Green! says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 8:44 am
    “Human beings have not, can not, and never will live in harmony with nature. Our prosperity and health depend on technology driven by energy.”

    ———
    This is the biggest lie one could possibly spread. First of all, we are not separate from nature, so to suggest the humans can’t live in harmony with nature creates a false dichotomy. Of course nature lives in harmony with itself! When the lion eats the gazelle, that is harmony! It guarantees the continuation of both! Death and decay are part of the cycle of rebirth. Yes, humans must use energy, as all living things must, and the inevitable law of entropy and times arrow is the only law that we as part of nature cannot escape. Our prosperity and health depend on learning and applying the laws of science in wise ways. You can choose to smoke and drink and eat poorly and not exercise and live and very unhealthy life. So too, humanity can choose to apply the laws of science in wise ways that promote a healthy society using healthy and smart applications of technology. It is not humans versus nature, for we are nature, and we can control our healthy and prosperous future by acting and living wisely.

    If man is but a part of nature, there cannot be any AGW.

    ~More Soylent Green!

  39. Michael Palmer says:

    One of the earliest examples of romanticizing the life of savages from a safe distance has got to be the work “Germania” by the Roman writer Tacitus, from the first century A.D. His tack was a bit different from most other authors, as he did not assume his idealized Germans to be unfamiliar with violence; rather to the opposite, he rather exaggerated their bravery and strength. However, the other elements – simplicity, nobleness, veracity, harmony with nature and native country – are all there. Ironic, though, that as soon as they gathered the required strength, these Germans had no more urgent desire than to leave the dark and cold of their homeland, invade the pleasant warm countries of the South and avail themselves of the wine and other perks of Roman civilization.

  40. MarkW says:

    John says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:04 am


    It’s amazing the tenacity with which bad science continues to pollute the minds of the innocent, even decades later.

    Observational evidence is as close to useless as you can get when trying to prove something.
    The only studies that were done with DDT and birds were deliberately contaminated so that they would show the results the authors wanted. They fed the birds calcium poor diets and kept them in high stress environments. Of course the resulting thin shelled eggs were blamed on the DDT alone.
    As for Bald Eagles and Peregrine falcons, their recovery started more than a decade before DDT was banned. Surprisingly enough, the recovery for both coincided with the enacting of the Endangered Species act which banned the hunting of both.

  41. MarkW says:

    I once debated a young idealist who assured me that before the coming of the white man to America, the natives always lived to at least 100, because their was no pollution to make them sick. Not only that, but the tomahawk was actually an agricultural implement, until the white man showed the natives how it could be used to kill as well. And of course, the natives never, ever, fought with each other. The whole idea of violence was completely foreign to them, until the white man introduced it.

  42. Brian H says:

    Everything R. Gates writes has the intended outcome of preventing the ruination of his grandchildren’s atmosphere by polluting it with deadly CO2. From that, all else follows. Just stop CO2-ing and everything will be fine!

    That doing so will devastate the world’s economy, and achieve none of its claimed outcomes, is apparently not something he is willing to take on board, or even discuss.

  43. lowercasefred says:

    The “Noble Savage” will eventually be seen as the worst and most destructive idea in history – if we survive it.

  44. John says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Sorry, “Silent Spring” was not based on junk science. DDT really did make egg shells thinner, heavier birds such as Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons and others really did have much less breeding success, to the point where both were on the endangered species list….

    What about this, then: “The Lies of Rachel Carson”, by Dr. J. Gordon Edwards
    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/summ02/Carson.html

  45. Jay Davis says:

    R. Gates,
    I’ve been in the mountains in Alaska in the winter (-45 F, actual temp on a warm day), the Middle East and Southwestern American deserts in the summer (100+F, actual), several different jungles during the hot season (steaming aptly describes it) and in all those environments, Mother Nature was doing her absolute best to either kill me or make me as miserable as possible. Even here in the relatively temperate Mid-Atlantic region, we require gasoline, diesel fuel, electricity and fuel oil to live relatively comfortably. You can’t “live” with nature – you adapt your environment to fit your needs. The “noble savage” did. That is how you survive.

  46. John F. Hultquist says:

    John says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:04 am
    “DDT can be useful even today, for instance in Africa by applying it in moderation indoors in thatch huts in the outback.

    A contrast to the “moderation” notion that the above comment suggest can be found if one searches the web for “blind tag” and/or “DDT fogging” :
    Photo first:

    http://www.ohio.edu/people/cookt/images/history/fogging.jpg

    Search this one with the word “blind”:
    http://www.nukeworker.com/forum/index.php?topic=23274.msg143765

  47. Michael Palmer says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Of course nature lives in harmony with itself! When the lion eats the gazelle, that is harmony! It guarantees the continuation of both! Death and decay are part of the cycle of rebirth.

    This is nonsense, of course. If the lion eats the gazelle, it guarantees the continuation of the lion only, but it ends the life of the gazelle. The continuation of the gazelle occurs not because of, but in spite of preying lions.

    There are few subjects so marred by lazy thinking than the role of death in biology.

  48. R. Gates says:

    Brian H says:
    February 14, 2012 at 10:18 am
    Everything R. Gates writes has the intended outcome of preventing the ruination of his grandchildren’s atmosphere by polluting it with deadly CO2. From that, all else follows. Just stop CO2-ing and everything will be fine!

    That doing so will devastate the world’s economy, and achieve none of its claimed outcomes, is apparently not something he is willing to take on board, or even discuss.
    ———
    I hope you are putting some of that considerable talent for fiction to work writing novels!

  49. Richard111 says:

    Many thought provoking comments above. To my mind it would seem a large proportion of western society, much addicted to technology and access to dependable energy, would not survive long if required to “live with nature”. I am beginning to wonder if persons in power are very aware of this. They are certainly not stupid and reactions to an impending mini ice age are documented in the 1970s. If a massive reduction in available energy can be synchronised with a mini ice age, which can occur over a period of ten years or less, would result in extreme population reduction before awareness of the coming disaster can lead to unmanageable civil unrest.
    Machiavellian indeed!

  50. R. Gates says:

    More Soylent green said:

    If man is but a part of nature, there cannot be any AGW.

    ——-
    Actually, the exact opposite conclusion would logically follow…but you seem to have a predefined destination to your thinking, and so that is exactly where you will arrive…logic be damned!

  51. R. Gates says:

    Russ in Houston says:
    February 14, 2012 at 10:00 am
    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

    My point is this – If we are part of nature, then everything that we do is “natural” by definition. Pollution? No problem, its a natural waste product. However, if we are something more, something above the animals, something above nature, then we would have a responsibility to conserve and to protect “nature”. I don’t see how it can be both ways. Nature doesn’t care about conservation. Nature only cares about success. And only on the short term. Nature couldn’t care less about 100 years from now. If we have a responsibility to conserve and protect, it is a very unnatural value. Who would have assigned us that responsibility?

    ——-
    There is nothing above nature. All is nature, from the forces that hold the molecules of your body together to dark matter that stiches together strings of galaxies. And amazingly, we’ve got thing called a brain, which allows us to be nature observing itself. We can, bit by bit learn the rules the govern this cosmos, and decide how we’ll use that knowledge to create the kind of world we want.

  52. 1DandyTroll says:

    “there was once a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings.”

    There was once a heart in that what once was America, and all free life wanted to feel its beat. Now it’s more like a heart without a beat but cacophony of environmental insanity that shuns free life.

  53. Kasuha says:

    I beg to differ. Humans live in perfect harmony with Nature.
    Nature is a bunch of living organisms which all do whatever they please and the only criterion for their prolonged stay here is their ability to survive and reproduce. Humans are doing exactly that.

  54. More Soylent Green! says:

    I wonder how that Y2K thing would have gone if DHS had been around?

  55. Ric Werme says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Alan Watt says:
    February 14, 2012 at 8:47 am
    Living in harmony with nature means living with tics, fleas, lice, mosquitoes and all manner of other pests, and all the diseases they vector.

    ——–
    Absolutely wrong! Why did nature give you a brain! To alter and transform the world around you!

    Oh stuff it, both of you.

    Go argue about:

    1) What “Living in harmony with nature” means, and

    2) Who gets to define it.

    While you’re at it, figure out the optimal temperature as we currently attempt to measure it) so that we can discuss warming or cooling that takes away from global optimum.

  56. Matt Schilling says:

    Russ in Houston says:
    February 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I appreciate, and agree with, your reply.

  57. More Soylent Green! says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:36 am
    Ed Caryl says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:15 am
    R. Gates,
    I agree with every word you wrote, but I suspect that my definition of “wise” and “wisely” differs from yours.
    ——-
    Why would you suspect that? Wisdom is simply applying the laws of nature for a desired outcome. What we may differ on is the kind of world we want to create, but in this regard, our common humanity should prevail. Don’t we want a world our grandchildren and great grandchildren can live healthy and abundant lives in which they are free to achieve their maximum potentials?

    That’s what the Nazis said when they created the death camps.

  58. Brandon C says:

    Nature is nothing but a bunch of organisms all striving to survive and perpetuate and has nothing to do with balance. The lion would not hesitate for one millisecond to eat the last zebra on earth. Natural forces such as weather only add additional issues any organism must overcome to survive. Nature does not decide to balance anything and never has. the only semblance of balance is when a few species are well matched for survival and see-saw back and forth in populations. A situation that will be destroyed by a new organism or a natural event. Balance is an illusion of the observer. It is a never ending cycle of evolution to try and gain a foothold in a changing world.

    This essay was timely as a poster on facebook just started arguing that civilization is the bane of our existance and there was no disease, war or unhappiness before it. In order to believe in the noble savage one has to be completely ignorant of the past…….so I guess thats self explanatory.

  59. R. Gates says:

    Kasuha says:
    February 14, 2012 at 11:20 am
    Nature is a bunch of living organisms which all do whatever they please…
    ___
    So in your mind, nature is only “living organisms” i.e. the biosphere of the earth? You would not include all the non-living parts of this cosmos that go into sustaining that biosphere? These non-living systems and processes are just as vital to the continuation of the biosphere on our planet as the actual biological functions that go on inside of organisms.

    To answer the question: Living in harmony with nature means recognizing that nature is a web of relationships of which we are part, and living in such as way so as not to do anything inentionally to destroy that web to such as degree that the whole thing contracts in some significant way, as it can, and has, numerous times in Earth’s history

  60. BC Bill says:

    The author is trying to make a point by overstating many arguments. It is not clear that the extinction of megafauna was caused by humans, cities like Rome, Paris and London were disease pits that only kept their populations up by a steady immigration of people from the country, which was paradise by comparison. Disease follows civilisation. Mosquito’s bite, but strangely enough people who live in the country get used to them. The horrors of the primitive life are greatly overstated by the author, as are the joys of the city life. The most important point is that the human brain has shrunk by something like 20% over the last 25000 years. Domestication does that to animals. If we continue on with the current path of the easy life, I see the human race evolving into a species of cretins, as they already have to certain degree in the form of the citiot (city idiot) who neither sows nor reaps, nor sings or dances but is a passive consumer of entertainment and life. There are worse things than being eaten by a tiger, for example living your life at the beck and call of an employer like the food rabbits in Watership Down.

  61. R. Gates says:

    More Soylent Green! says:
    February 14, 2012 at 11:33 am
    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:36 am
    Ed Caryl says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:15 am
    R. Gates,
    I agree with every word you wrote, but I suspect that my definition of “wise” and “wisely” differs from yours.
    ——-
    Why would you suspect that? Wisdom is simply applying the laws of nature for a desired outcome. What we may differ on is the kind of world we want to create, but in this regard, our common humanity should prevail. Don’t we want a world our grandchildren and great grandchildren can live healthy and abundant lives in which they are free to achieve their maximum potentials?

    That’s what the Nazis said when they created the death camps.

    _____
    Oh, is that what they said?

    I was wondering how long it would take before someone had to mention Nazis. A bit quicker than I thought actually…

  62. Eric Dailey says:

    To the shame of North Carolina, USA, in the Capitol in Raleigh at the downtown Natural History museum there is a prominent bronze sculpture on the grounds of Rachel Carson leading children through a wetland scene like the Pied Piper.
    http://www.igougo.com/review-r1328670-NC_Museum_of_Natural_Sciences.html

  63. Eric Simpson says:

    Yes, The Noble Savage is at the heart of the potentially fatal fantasy

    If this AGW scare doesn’t work, the liberal coastal elite scare-mongering environuts will rebrand and repackage and reposition. Obama’s Science Czar’s John Holdren’s past call (before the AGW scare) to “de-develop the United States” and create a “stable low consumption economy” is the political expression of the leftist dream, and they will push and push for that. Driving it all is secular guilt, and the dream of their own Eden. But the raw feeling of their pastoral fantasy is not dressed in wonkish words such “a stable low consumption economy,” but THIS:
    “We have wished, we ecofreaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into Stone Age, where we might live like Indians in our valley, with our localism, our appropriate technology, our gardens, our homemade religion.” –Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalogue
    They see draconian CO2 cuts as the ticket to fold up industrial civilization, if all goes “well.” But unfortunately, for them, and everybody else, it wouldn’t lead to this Utopian Eden. An Alabanian told the story of what happened to their country with the collapse of communism (and just some supply systems): “Even the trees lining the roads were chopped down.”
    It would be no Garden of Eden. I could say that instead it would be like a Mad Max world — but it’d be much worse. No desert idealism of clean and clean-cut ruffians. Tons of people (at first), and just cold discomfort, disease, dirtiness, dysentery, hunger, violence.
    You’d think at some point, after severe CO2 caps are implemented, and other problems ensued, people would see it coming, and repeal… But there would possibly be too much inertia, and once a series of collapses begin, it may be impossible to halt the descent… into anarchy.

  64. Paddy says:

    R Gates: In your comments and critiques you seem unaware of the distinctions between intellect and intelligence and the importance of wisdom, an acquired trait. Thomas Sowell in his Treatise, “Intellectuals and Society,” at page 2 provides the following instructive explanation:

    “The capacity to grasp and manipulate complex ideas is enough to define intellect but not enough to encompass intelligence, which involves combining intellect with judgment and care in selecting relevant and explanatory factors and in establishing empirical tests of any theory that emerges. Intelligence minus judgment equals intellect. Wisdom is the rarest quality of all–the ability to combine intellect, knowledge, experience, and judgment in a way to produce a coherent understanding. Wisdom is the fulfillment of the ancient admonition, “With all your getting, get understanding.” Wisdom requires self-discipline and the understanding of the realities of the world, including limitations of one’s own experience and of reason itself. The opposite of intellect is dullness or slowness, but the opposite of wisdom is foolishness, which is far more dangerous.”

    I promise you that you will be a better person after reading the first 9 pages in Sowell’s treatise. I suspect you will read the entire work. Good reading.

  65. Russ in Houston says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 11:06 am

    decide how we’ll use that knowledge to create the kind of world we want.

    THAT is the rub. The kind of world that we want. Who decides what that is? You? Me? If its natural selection, as in nature, then it will be the strongest or most devious that decide. No matter how good your motivation is, at some point you will say “its for your own good”.

  66. John says:

    To wsbriggs at 9:41 am:

    wsbriggs says that “…since you haven’t posted the references, I’m guessing that just like it was when I tried to find the research on the soft eggshells, there are still no replicable research projects demonstrating the soft eggshell hypothesis is correct.”

    Mr. Briggs, I don’t make thinks up, and I care deeply about getting science right. Here are three such references:

    1. “Dieldrin and DDT: Effects on Sparrow Hawk Eggshells and Reproduction” Porter RD and Wiemeyer SN, Science 165, pp. 199-200 (July 11, 1969)

    2. “DDT-Induced Inhibition of Avian Shell Gland Carbonic Anhydrase: A Mechanism for Thin Eggshells” Bitman J, Cecil HC, and Fries GF, Science 168 pp. 594-596 (May 1, 1970)

    3. “DDE Residues and Eggshell Changes in Alaskan Falcons and Hawks” Cade TJ, Lincer JL, White CM, Roseneau DG, and Swartz LG. Science 172, pp. 955-957 (May 28, 1971)

    With regard to sacrificing birds in Africa, you don’t have to do it. My post said that using DDT indoors in thatch huts works really well at keeping the malarial mosquitos outside, so you don’t get bitten at night. You don’t have to do the far more widespread spraying that was harmful in the US in the 1950s, when many farmers sprayed with DDT. You don’t have to sacrifice birds. For the record, I do like nature, I don’t want to see wildlife continue to dwindle. That is a strongly held belief, and I am proud of it.

    This doesn’t mean I take everything the environmental community says as gospel; I don’t. I wouldn’t be reading this website if I did. There has been a great deal of distortion of science by the environmental community, especially the last 15 years or so.

    I’d like to make a more general point. A lot of commenters seem to think that they can make statements without backing them up. That is anti-science. If you think that you can decide an issue based on tribalism, based on whether you belong to the “anti-environmentalists” to pick a word, no, that doesn’t work as science, and it only works as politics for a short while. Deciding an issue based upon whether you are an environmentalist of the type that believes everything the EPA or IPCC says doesn’t work, either, for the same reason: it isn’t science, it’s tribalism.

    If you want to have a long lasting impact, not just a short one, you have to go with the science, wherever it takes you.

  67. timg56 says:

    The English long ago came up with the cure for the Noble Savage.

    .455 Boxer

    followed by .303 Enfield

    We Americans took over the lead in savage taming technology with the .45 Long Colt, the .45-70 Springfield, the .45 ACP and the .30-06 Springfield. Ain’t technology a beautiful thing?

    Now, if only American climate scientists were as accomplished in their field as American firearms designers have been.

  68. More Soylent Green! says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 11:54 am
    More Soylent Green! says:
    February 14, 2012 at 11:33 am
    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:36 am
    Ed Caryl says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:15 am
    R. Gates,
    I agree with every word you wrote, but I suspect that my definition of “wise” and “wisely” differs from yours.
    ——-
    Why would you suspect that? Wisdom is simply applying the laws of nature for a desired outcome. What we may differ on is the kind of world we want to create, but in this regard, our common humanity should prevail. Don’t we want a world our grandchildren and great grandchildren can live healthy and abundant lives in which they are free to achieve their maximum potentials?

    That’s what the Nazis said when they created the death camps.

    _____
    Oh, is that what they said?

    I was wondering how long it would take before someone had to mention Nazis. A bit quicker than I thought actually…

    And yet you lack the wisdom to understand the dangerous arrogance and hubris of your statements.

  69. Frank K. says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

    “To answer the question: Living in harmony with nature means recognizing that nature is a web of relationships of which we are part, and living in such as way so as not to do anything inentionally to destroy that web to such as degree that the whole thing contracts in some significant way, as it can, and has, numerous times in Earth’s history.”

    Let us know when NCAR starts “living in harmony with nature” and pulls itself off the electrical grid in favor of “environmentally correct” forms of energy like wind and solar. And you should probably get rid of that monstrous building too. I’m sure the site used to be teeming with animals and plants before the NCAR people destroyed it… /sarc

  70. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @BC Bill
    ” I see the human race evolving into a species of cretins, as they already have to certain degree in the form of the citiot (city idiot)”

    For some reason they put these evolved creatures on television each day and train them in the use of superfluous ‘direction words’ attached to each verb they utter. Such as, “Come on up over onto the pickup truck” and, “Did they reply back over to you yet?” This verbal chaff is now considered so de rigeur that the CBC as introduced it to prime time.

    I’ll dine with a noble savage anytime. They appreciate the company and don’t constantly whisper into their cellphones during funerals.

    Khula Ngwane, nina bakitsi!

  71. Bernie McCune says:

    To John at 12:22
    I agree with you. Though I studied biology at the university, I never really directly used it in my career. However, it has proven to be well worth the brief time I spent on it in school. Even though I had enough training to know better, I believed all the propaganda about DDT until I really looked at the data. And the risk/benefit especially to the children in Africa is heavily on the side of benefit. Especially when proper application methods are used. Your “take” on the environmental community is also on the mark. I used to belong to many of these organizations including the World Wildlife Fund. I think that they actually did care about wildlife back in those days. I still do. The real argument here is about truth versus propaganda and as you put it “go with the science”.

  72. Rob Crawford says:

    “Oh, is that what they said?”

    Yeah, it was. They were big Greens before the term existed, and, much like today’s “progressives”, big on eugenics.

  73. Al Gored says:

    On the bright side, I do love stories like this one from California (found via Climate Depot) in which the ‘harmony with nature’ and ‘noble savage’ greenies clash with the AGW greenies:

    “Problems cast shadows of doubt on solar project

    The unexpected deaths of kit foxes and discovery of ancient human settlements threaten to delay or even cancel a $1-billion, 250-megawatt installation on federal land in the desert near Blythe.”

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/11/local/la-me-solar-foxes-20120211

    Looks like it is shaping up as an epic battle between two cults.

    This story also provides some insight into the prevailing insanity of the ‘endangered species’ cult.

    “Kit foxes became an issue at the site in late August, when two animals died. At the time, biologists assumed the foxes succumbed to dehydration in an area where summer temperatures soar to 118 degrees. On Oct. 5, Genesis crews discovered another fox carcass and sent it to state Fish and Game veterinarians for a necropsy.

    At the time, the company was using “passive hazing” strategies approved by state and federal biologists to force kit foxes off the land before grading operations began in November. To scatter the kit foxes, workers removed sources of food and cover, sprinkled urine from coyotes — a primary fox predator — around den entrances, and used shovels and axes to excavate about 20 dens that had been unoccupied for at least three consecutive days.

    By early November, only three active dens remained, but the foxes using them wouldn’t budge, raising the risk of construction delays. The California Energy Commission, which has jurisdiction over the project, scrapped the three-day timetable and said the company could destroy dens that had been vacant for 24 hours.”

    Next stop: Grief counseling for the displaced foxes and relatives of the deceased.

  74. Rob Crawford says:

    “I once debated a young idealist who assured me that before the coming of the white man to America, the natives always lived to at least 100, because their was no pollution to make them sick. Not only that, but the tomahawk was actually an agricultural implement, until the white man showed the natives how it could be used to kill as well. And of course, the natives never, ever, fought with each other. The whole idea of violence was completely foreign to them, until the white man introduced it.”

    I’ve been fortunate enough not to confront anyone like this since I was, oh, 25 or so. Fortunate because since then I’ve known enough to make it clear their position is garbage. I’ve had the misfortune of overhearing people propagate this type of twaddle (claiming Fort Ancient in Ohio was actually a religious site, because the natives didn’t need fortifications because they weren’t violent), but have avoided confronting them because, well, you don’t seek out arguments over religion.

    Off the top of my head, the easiest points against this delusion are:

    o Mound 72 at Cahokia: human sacrifice, of apparent captives, around 1000 AD

    o Crow’s Creek Massacre Site: the population of a village, minus the pubescent females, in a mass grave. Skeletons show signs of violent death, and in some cases, scalping.

  75. Rob Crawford says:

    Forgot the date for Crow Creek Massacre Site: around 1400 AD.

  76. Jimbo says:

    We would not have the standard of living we have today if it weren’t for oil, coal and gas.
    By the way Rachel Carson’s book killed quite a few bird sheltering trees.

    Now onto the matter at hand, here is an example of man living in harmony with nature all those hundreds of years ago. Ahhhh, those were the days.

    The extinction of moa in southern New Zealand.
    The eight species that he regards as certainly having been present on South Island (i.e. excluding Megalapteryx benhami and Dinornis struthoides ) were living in the southern region at the time the first people, the Maori, arrived about 1,000 years ago. By the time of European settlement in the nineteeth century, however, all moa had apparently become extinct.
    http://md1.csa.com/partners/viewrecord.php?requester=gs&collection=ENV&recid=961950&q=moa+maori+extinct+new+zealand&uid=1461229&setcookie=yes

    Further references:
    Mechanics of overkill in the extinction of New Zealand moas
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0305440389900629
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1466-822X.2004.00132.x/full

  77. Stephen Richards says:

    The term noble savage (French, bon sauvage),

    No, Le sauvage noble

  78. Alan Watt says:

    MarkW says:
    February 14, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I once debated a young idealist who assured me that before the coming of the white man to America, the natives always lived to at least 100, because their was no pollution to make them sick. Not only that, but the tomahawk was actually an agricultural implement, until the white man showed the natives how it could be used to kill as well. And of course, the natives never, ever, fought with each other. The whole idea of violence was completely foreign to them, until the white man introduced it.

    Strangely enough, I find this account completely credible. Did the young man display any other overt signs of mental illness?

  79. Kasuha says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Living in harmony with nature means recognizing that nature is a web of relationships of which we are part, and living in such as way so as not to do anything inentionally to destroy that web to such as degree that the whole thing contracts in some significant way, as it can, and has, numerous times in Earth’s history
    _________________________________

    Not a single living organism on Earth does so. No polar bear understands the web of natural relationships, no ant is trying to not destroy anything that might be valuable for other species. They just live and take whatever there is around them to make their lives better.
    In history, many species became extinct just because they got eaten by some other species.
    According to what you are saying, none of living organisms on Earth lives in harmony with nature. In such a case – why should we?

    The real answer is: we don’t need to preserve nature. All we need is to preserve us. And for that, we need certain part of the nature, too. But I definitely don’t think we need to preserve whole nature. For instance, few people think that we definitely need to preserve e.g. tuberculosis spores or malaria. But in fact there’s far less of what we really need to preserve than many greens are trying to suggest. And being cute is not the best reason for a species to being protected – in fact, that only creates a new kind of evolutionary pressure which leads to Earth full of extremely cute but completely useless animals. Do we need that? No, we don’t.

  80. rg says:

    Humans are the only species on this earth that have to work and pay to stay alive

    rg

  81. feet2thefire says:

    I’ve always seen the aims of CAGW as wanting to take us back, not to the Noble Savage, but to an agrarian society before the Industrial Revolution, when farming was done somewhat like the Amish do it. It is the age of coal and steam and oil that they seem to hate. Who is to say if they got us back that far that the Noble Savage would not then become the goal, but I’ve never seen any who want to take us ALL the way back.

    Yet even just going back to the Pre-Industrial Age is bad enough. How in the world does the world – as it exists now – ever get there, without killing off 6.5 billion people? This is the question they don’t want anyone to ask them. The reason people went to work in Simon Legree’s dirty greasy factories was because there was not enough work on the farms. People were starving out in the rural areas. PEOPLE migrating to the cities drove the industrialization, not the other way around. The migrations drove the supply and demand. Even in 1900, 90% of workers in the U.S. worked on farms. And farms are very dangerous places to work. And to raise babies. I am sure women want all the infant mortality that existed prior to the 20th century.

    Yes, they’ve come a long way, Baby. But so have men. What was the life expectancy in 1800? 35? Less? In 1900 it was about 47 – and only in the U.S. and a few industrial nations. We are somewhat fast approaching double that. Much of the civilized world has life expectancies in the 80s. In 1950 the life expectancy had only climbed to about 70, meaning, among other things, that the corporate pension plans only had to support a retiree about 5 years on average. Well, even with the crash of 2008, I hope to have a whole lot more retirement than five freaking years.

    Perhaps the CAGW people haven’t thought it all out. Perhaps they want to live to age 47, on average, to work till the day they die, harvesting grain with sickles and threshing rice by hand. But no one else does – and when it comes down to it, neither do they. My generation, the hippies, took all the Rousseau-ian ideas and tried to go live on farming communes. Hahahahaha. And where are the communes today? Right: Gone. Those people found out how bloody HARD it is, just to keep three meals a day on the table. Oh, it sounded grand – but it isn’t workable – and especially with the soft people we have all become.

    There is NOTHING to recommend either the Pre-Industrial Age, with 9 out of 10 men a farmhand and 9 out of 10 women (pregnant until childbirth takes them) spending all day washing and cooking. Neither is there anything to recommend the Noble Savage, with his nomadic life style, and leaving their trail of garbage littering the countryside.

    The Noble Savage is only possible when resources are lying around on the surface. We have no more resources on the surface, except trees. If we all overnight became hunter-gatherers, all the deer would be gone in 6 months, all the rabbits, coons, and possums not long after.

    Not only that, anyone who thought the Americas were all about the Noble Savage should read the book 1491 and see how wrong that thinking was. When Columbus arrived, the Americas were citified up the ying yang, with some of the biggest cities on Earth. Even Hispaniola where he landed was wall-to-wall villages. Oh, and 90% of the people were farmers, just like up to 1900, only more so.

    Thank GOD (name your poison) for Eli Whitney and Interchangeable Parts, the most important human invention of all time, with the possible exception of the wheel and the printing press. Thank the same GOD for our improved lifestyle because of high-energy-density fuels. And thank all the gods that Paul Ehrlich and all Malthusian thinking has been proven wrong by people trying to improve their lives by inventing so many ways of improving others’ lives.

  82. PaulH says:

    Nature will remorselessly drown, crush, burn, infect, devour, starve, freeze, and/or suffocate you without in the least caring about you. Survival is always a struggle against nature.

  83. Alan Watt says:

    timg56 says:
    February 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    The English long ago came up with the cure for the Noble Savage.

    .455 Boxer

    followed by .303 Enfield

    We Americans took over the lead in savage taming technology with the .45 Long Colt, the .45-70 Springfield, the .45 ACP and the .30-06 Springfield. Ain’t technology a beautiful thing?

    Now, if only American climate scientists were as accomplished in their field as American firearms designers have been.

    Minor quibble, but if you’re trying to give a proper timeline, you have the order wrong. The .45-70 was a US Civil War rifle round which was common for years afterwards because surplus single-shot “trapdoor” Springfield rifles were widely available. .45 Long Colt (revolver) came later (1870’s I believe; it was adopted briefly as the US Army standard sidearm, but a more common cartridge for both revolvers and rifles was the .44-40 Winchester). .30-06 is a revision of the original .30-03 which was so named for its adoption year 1903. The cartridge design was revised in 1906 to use the new pointed (“spitzer”) bullets and the existing stock of M1903 Springfield rifles rechambered to accept it. Finally the .45 ACP was designed for the M1911 Colt Automatic Pistol which was accepted by the US Army in 1911.

  84. Michael Palmer said @ February 14, 2012 at 10:56 am

    This is nonsense, of course. If the lion eats the gazelle, it guarantees the continuation of the lion only, but it ends the life of the gazelle. The continuation of the gazelle occurs not because of, but in spite of preying lions.

    There are few subjects so marred by lazy thinking than the role of death in biology.

    And your thinking here is a prime example. When top predators are eliminated, the prey species overgraze and deplete their food resources to the detriment of themselves; i.e. they starve to death or succumb to disease as their immune systems succumb to starvation diet. It’s not a pretty sight. Balance in Nature is not static — it’s dynamic. Humans are top predators and the Noble Savagers try to deny this simple fact of life.

    Personally I thought David Deming’s essay bloody awful, especially as he is usually a much clearer thinker. “Human beings have not, can not, and never will live in harmony with nature” is complete bunkum. Harmony is a human value and tends to mean whatever an individual finds harmonious. The Git is a farmer who knows he relies on Nature for his food. There seems to be an awful lot of people who think that food is a product of factories, or something that magically appears in the shops. Good luck to you when that bolt of energy from the sun arrives and destroys the means of distribution.

  85. John says:

    To Walter H. Schneider at 10:42 AM, who calls to our attention a book, ““The Lies of Rachel Carson”

    Thank you for the link, I’ve read it now. It doesn’t invalidate the thinning eggshell science I referenced in my post of 12:22. It does point out many cases where Rachel Carson exaggerated or overstated her case. The author also misstates the science. Two examples.

    1. In his comment on pg. 21 of the book, the author says: “She does not consider the metabolism and breakdown of DDT in humans and other vertebrates, and their excretion in urine, and so on, which prevents the alleged “biological magnification” up food chains from actually occurring.”

    According to Wikipedia, DDT and its breakdown product DEE does persist in the body, with half lives of for 6 to 10 years, AND DDT and its breakdown product DDE do biomagnify in the food chain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT ):

    “Because of its lipophilic properties, DDT has a high potential to bioaccumulate, especially in predatory birds.[34] DDT, DDE, and DDD magnify through the food chain, with apex predators such as raptor birds concentrating more chemicals than other animals in the same environment. They are very lipophilic and are stored mainly in body fat. DDT and DDE are very resistant to metabolism; in humans, their half-lives are 6 and up to 10 years, respectively.”

    Wikipedia can be wrong on occasion — if there is evidence that Wikipedia’s sources on this are in error, I would very much like to see them, but my reading up to this point is that bioaccumulation of DDT and DDE in humans and birds is real because it accumulates in fat and is thus stored in the body for long periods.

    2. Regarding whether raptors who ingested DDT in the eastern US had considerably less breeding success, the author says:

    “Carson spends two pages discussing the Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, counts of migrating raptorial birds. Table 2 summarizes the actual total counts of raptors made there during the years before and during the greatest usage of DDT in North America. Obviously, very few of them decreased in numbers during those years. The numbers of migrating hawks (and eagles) increased from 9,29l in 1946 to 16,163 in 1963, but with considerable fluctuation in intervening years.”

    Numbers of migrating hawks and eagles did increase from the early 1940s (and probably from the late 1930s) at Hawk Mountain. That is because people gradually stopped shooting them for sport, starting in the mid-1930s. These facts don’t negate DDT’s effects in preventing breeding success.

    Hawks were customarily shot at Hawk Mountain and elsewhere, mainly for sport, in the first third of the previous century, but in 1934, when hawk numbers were very low and opinion was turning against shooting hawks for sport, conservationists purchased Hawk Mountain. Shooting of migrating hawks decreased from that time, which certainly increased the number of reproducing hawks, in particular those who nested in the forests of eastern and northern Canada, not much affected by DDT. The welcome development of reducing shooting of hawks, however, had nothing to do with the adverse effects on breeding hawks in areas near widespread DDT use, which included virtually all the eastern US, where Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons nested. Peregrines in Canada survived, but they were completely extirpated in the eastern US by the 1960s, because of DDT effects on eggshells.

  86. Dodgy Geezer says:

    “…Bacon was the first person to unambiguously and explicitly advocate the practical application of scientific knowledge to human needs. “The true and lawful goal of the sciences,” he explained, “is that human life be endowed with new discoveries and powers.” Writing in the early seventeenth century, Francis Bacon predicted lasers, genetic engineering, airplanes, and submarines…..”

    Umm. A Bacon did this, but NOT the Francis Bacon of the 1600s. In fact it was ROGER Bacon, of the 1200s – a Bacon as far away from Francis in time as Francis is from us. Here is the first quotes page I googled – http://www.todayinsci.com/B/Bacon_Roger/BaconRoger-Quotations.htm which illustrates him proposing the application of science to human needs in 1266.

    But he is well worth delving into more deeply – there is a point in his De Multiplicatione Specierum where he invents, purely for the sake of argument, the luminiferous ether of the 19th C, then, a few sentences later, throws the notion out in favour of an Einsteinean metrical frame, casually skipping over Galilean relativity and the inertial frames of Newton…

  87. John says:

    To Walter H. Schneider at 10:42 AM, who calls to our attention a book, ““The Lies of Rachel Carson” (continued)

    One reason that the author of this book, and others (including me) were upset with the handling of the banning of DDT is that DDT unquestionably saved many lives from malaria in tropical areas of the world when in widespread use in the 1960s. Malaria deaths went up right after DDT use stopped.

    The problem was that DDT’s ban was treated as all or nothing. In the few countries that use it now, it is used inside the home, and malarial mosquitos will not enter. It doesn’t have to be sprayed far and wide, just applied locally. Used in this manner, DDT could save millions of lives even today, without harming wildlife. Very few countries aside from South Africa use it, however, because of fear that monies from environmental groups and EU countries will stop flowing if they use it.

    If there had been some common sense, tens of millions of lives would have been saved. In retrospect, it would have been far better for humanity to have carved out an exception for limited use to combat malaria. The environmental community, to the best of my knowledge, is still against such a compromise, because they are afraid that a limited use exemption that receives their blessing will turn into far wider use, e.g., illegal diversion.

    Another issue is the effect on human health. In Carson’s time, there was virtually no evidence that DDT caused fatal human disease. The author of “The Lies of Rachel Carson” excoriates her for implying that DDT might cause significant illnesses in people. For a long time, scientists studying DDT in humans didn’t find such a link; for instance, no link was found between women exposed to DDT and breast cancer for decades.

    Evidence has now come, however, that DDT exposure to YOUNG women under 14 IS associated with increased breast cancer. This is what Wikipedia says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT ):

    “For the subset of women born more than 14 years before agricultural use, there was no association between DDT and breast cancer. However, for younger women—exposed earlier in life—the third who were exposed most to p,p’-DDT had a fivefold increase in breast cancer incidence over the least exposed third, after correcting for the protective effect of o,p’-DDT.[45][80][81] These results are supported by animal studies.[35]”

    Neither Carson or the author of “The Lies of Rachel Carson” knew enough at the time, they were both operating in ignorance. Carson overstated what she thought she knew, and the author correctly pointed out that she didn’t have evidence of cancer causation at the time.

    As before, Wikipedia is not always accurate. If there is contrary evidence about breast cancer and DDT, I will be interested in reading it, I don’t take Wikipedia as gospel.

  88. Apparently the ‘noble savages’ were ruining the planet 3500 years ago according to Scientific American. Bad lads!

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/02/10/farmers-may-have-kicked-off-local-climate-change-3500-years-ago/

  89. 1DandyTroll says:

    @John

    “Peregrines in Canada survived, but they were completely extirpated in the eastern US by the 1960s, because of DDT effects on eggshells.”

    Was that really the direct effect of DDT or that predatory birds tend to eat insect eaters who was starving due to a lack of fat and juicy insects?

  90. Gary Hladik says:

    R. Gates says (February 14, 2012 at 8:44 am): “This is the biggest lie one could possibly spread. First of all, we are not separate from nature, so to suggest the humans can’t live in harmony with nature creates a false dichotomy. Of course nature lives in harmony with itself! When the lion eats the gazelle, that is harmony! It guarantees the continuation of both!”

    For awhile, anyway. I’m sure saber tooth cats lived in harmony with their prey, too–for about 42 million years. Since humans are still young compared to saber tooth cats, it remains to be seen if intelligence is a viable survival strategy. :-)

  91. tertius says:

    R.Gates speaks much of “harmony” yet all the while
    “Nature, red in tooth and claw with ravine, shriek[s] against his creed”

    R.Gates, your religion is showing and you are the only one who doesn’t see it.
    I respect your freedom to have your religious/philosophical beliefs but don’t assume every one shares them.

  92. Gary Hladik says:

    And of course I forgot the reference. Apologies, Shifu Willis.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saber-toothed_cat

  93. Stas Peterson says:

    Mister R Gates is profoundly corrupted by the literary images of the “Noble Savage” and the falsities of Utopian Socialism propaganda. Itis clear h ehas never had to produce for himself.
    If anyone merits the treatment that Tom Clancy’s malfactors in “Rainbow Six” were induced to take, it is such as he.

  94. Bill Illis says:

    Its too late to dream about being hunter/gatherers again. For one thing, there are 7 billion of us now and 7 billion hunter/gatherers would wipe out the planet in pretty short order.

    So, effectively, by growing all our own food now (plants and animals), and using fossil fuels rather than firewood, we are protecting Mother Nature to the maximum extent possible (on the assumption we will indeed allow 7 billion of us to live on the planet).

    Of course, we should be careful with our technology and not allow any unintended consequences to do damage. But environmentalists don’t analyze problems carefully enough to full understand them. They immediately jump to an emotional reaction.

  95. DirkH says:

    Lions, Gazelles, Harmony Of Nature according to R. Gates…

    So when Northern environmentalists stop indigenous people of the Amazons from developing their country or exploiting / maintaining the natural resources around them, this must be Harmony Of Nature as well, for we are nature, right?

    What a wonderful philosophy… do you have that from Bono, R.Gates?

  96. DirkH says:

    Gary Hladik says:
    “For awhile, anyway. I’m sure saber tooth cats lived in harmony with their prey, too–for about 42 million years. Since humans are still young compared to saber tooth cats, it remains to be seen if intelligence is a viable survival strategy. :-)”

    A Vonnegut fan? :-P

  97. Peter says:

    Terry Pratchett has a line he’s used in several of his books that I’m rather fond of.

    “There is a reason why they call Nature a mother.”

  98. Gary Hladik says:

    I wonder what irreducible slice of “nature” humans would bring to a space habitat. I’m guessing “nature” would be a lot less diverse there than on our planet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_Three

  99. R. Gates says:

    PaulH says:
    February 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm
    Nature will remorselessly drown, crush, burn, infect, devour, starve, freeze, and/or suffocate you without in the least caring about you. Survival is always a struggle against nature.
    _____

    Odd how that same “nature” has given you a brain and the means to defend yourself if this “nature” doesn’t care about you. Odd how this same “nature” gave the lion the sharp claws and teeth, but gave gazelles the ability to run very very fast and the strength of the herd.

    “Nature” cares about the web of life, as that is exactly what “nature” is…simply a web of mutual dependences. But this notion of dependency really bothers certain mindsets, as they see themselves as the “rugged individualist” and as “me against the cold cruel world”. The fact that no person is truly ever independent of the rest of the world, and no one is an island unto themselves (except in their own imagination) really bothers some personality types. I find this fascinating…

  100. Chad Jessup says:

    The natural order of our environment is extinction as demonstrated by 99.99% of all species known as of today.

  101. Steve C says:

    @ feet2thefire – top comment, F2TF, excellently put.

    As for “How in the world does the world – as it exists now – ever get there, without killing off 6.5 billion people?” … I suspect Prince Philip, wanting to be reborn as a lethal virus; could give you a few pointers to “elite”-think on that one – and without those silly twinges of conscience about culling the “excess”.

  102. R. Gates says:

    DirkH says:
    February 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    So when Northern environmentalists stop indigenous people of the Amazons from developing their country or exploiting / maintaining the natural resources around them, this must be Harmony Of Nature as well, for we are nature, right?
    ____
    The history of much of humanity has been a history of one group imposing its will (or attempting to impose its will) on another group. The group with the better technology, the bigger clubs, guns, tanks, raw numbers, and the brain to use those in a coordinated and strategic manner gets to impose its will on the other group. Note: there is nothing here about which group is “right” or “wrong”. 6 million Jews were killed by a more coordinated, powerful, and better equipped enemy, but there was nothing “right” in what happened to them.

    But the game is always the survival of the fittest– with fitness being defined by that which survives and has offspring. And so “nature”, which is just a web of relationships, loves to make sure all parts of the web of life are strong. The lion eats the gazelle (often, but not always, the the sickest, oldest, and most feeble), and in doing so, both species get to survive and remain a part of the web. Here’s the part that is fun: the individual means nothing to “nature”, it is the web of relationships that matter. The individual gazelle will be sacrificed a million times to make sure both lion and gazelle as a interrelated set of species continue on.

  103. Gary Hladik says:

    DirkH says (February 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm): “A Vonnegut fan? :-P”

    Heh. Vonnegut goes–whoosh!–right over my head. But I tend to take the long view, especially since I discovered WUWT. Maybe it all started when I read Asimov’s “The Last Question” as a kid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Question

    Of course Asimov only took it to the year 10^13. I recall a short column in Scientific American (in the 70’s?) describing the universe in the year 10^116. Unfortunately I can’t find it now, but I recall that even at this late date the “heat death” of the universe would be postponed by Hawking Radiation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawking_radiation

    Bonus question: Can anybody guess my favorite “Futurama” episode?

  104. R. Gates says:

    rg says:
    February 14, 2012 at 2:07 pm
    Humans are the only species on this earth that have to work and pay to stay alive
    ____
    I’m not so sure about that. Dolphins display a need to do both as well. In captivity, if a Dolphin doesn’t get a chance to play it gets pretty depressed. In their natural environment, Dolphins work in teams to fish and for protection against sharks, etc. I would say Dolphins rank right up there in terms of a need for work and play.

  105. Shane635 says:

    A rusting diesel truck is as natural as an oak tree.

  106. ferd berple says:

    More Soylent Green! says:
    February 14, 2012 at 10:04 am
    If man is but a part of nature, there cannot be any AGW.

    Absolutely, since humans are part of nature, if we cause any change it is by definition “natural variability”, since it is a result of a natural process.

  107. ferd berple says:

    Shane635 says:
    February 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm
    A rusting diesel truck is as natural as an oak tree.

    Both are a result of life.

  108. ExWarmist says:

    The flip side (or corollary…) of the noble savage idea is that “Humanity is a virus…” as described by Agent Smith http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHiX0FZcjkA

  109. Mark B. says:

    Man can be civilized or natural but not both. It is amusing that those that claim Man is just another animal claim what we do is unnatural. IF we are just an animal, like all the other animals, we can’t then be held responsible for doing what comes natural. Deer poop where they sleep all the time.

    If the logical conclusion results in an absurdity, the problem is not with the logic but with one or more of the assumptive premises. GIGO.

  110. H.R. says:

    @feet2thefire says:
    February 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Well said.

    I’ve enjoyed all of the comments (there were 93 when I started reading) and as I am late to the party, most of what I would propose or rebut has already been posted. Your post best sums up (and surpasses) what I’d add. I’d recommend a re-read of your post to others. Of particular note is your comment regarding women making babies until they died in childbirth. For men, life was nasty, brutish, and short. For women, it was often shorter.

  111. R. Gates says:

    Shane635 says:
    February 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm
    A rusting diesel truck is as natural as an oak tree.
    —–
    Indeed, except only one of them has the ability to use energy for replication & growth. One can only slowly decay, while the living thing uses energy to create negative entropy for itself. For more on this, consult the amazing book by Schrödinger, “What is life?” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_is_Life%3F

  112. JimJ says:

    Steve, thanks for reminding me who made the lethal virus remark. Very telling.
    As an aside, I don’t think there is a utopia anyone can conjur they would enjoy living in. Unless, of course, they were the king or some such.

    Jim

  113. Smokey says:

    Gates says:

    “… only one of them has the ability to use energy for replication & growth.”

    Flames use energy for replication and growth.

  114. John another says:

    http://reason.com/archives/2004/01/07/ddt-eggshells-and-me

    “However, Bitman’s findings were eventually overturned because he had also fed his quail a low-calcium diet. When the quail were fed normal amounts of calcium, the thinning effect disappeared. Studies published in Poultry Science found chicken eggs almost completely unaffected by high dosages of DDT.”

  115. Michael Palmer says:

    The Pompous Git says:
    February 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Michael Palmer said @ February 14, 2012 at 10:56 am

    This is nonsense, of course. If the lion eats the gazelle, it guarantees the continuation of the lion only, but it ends the life of the gazelle. The continuation of the gazelle occurs not because of, but in spite of preying lions.

    There are few subjects so marred by lazy thinking than the role of death in biology.

    And your thinking here is a prime example. When top predators are eliminated, the prey species overgraze and deplete their food resources to the detriment of themselves; i.e. they starve to death …

    What you describe is, of course, due to the fact that the reproduction rates of the prey species had already priced in the constant decimation by predators – as I said, the prey species persists in spite of, not because of predators. Dominant species such as lions provide you with an example that the establishment of a balanced population density does not require decimation by predators. Indeed, among lions, death by starvation is common; I don’t see how this is fundamentally better or worse than death by being eaten.

  116. Gary Hladik says:

    R. Gates says (February 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm): “The individual gazelle will be sacrificed a million times to make sure both lion and gazelle as a interrelated set of species continue on.”

    Until “Nature” drops an asteroid on them both. “Nature” may or may not “care” about her “children”, but I’m pretty sure she has a sense of humor. I suspect “Nature” brought us into existence just so someone could appreciate her practical jokes; an audience, if you will. And I think she “created” the IPCC to keep us amused in between sets. :-)

  117. R. Gates says:

    Smokey says:
    February 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm
    Gates says:

    “… only one of them has the ability to use energy for replication & growth.”

    Flames use energy for replication and growth.
    ——–
    It may have been a long time ago Smokey, but you can probably remember when you were young and the flame of passion burned inside. Now you’re just “”Smokey”.

  118. JimBob says:

    “Minor quibble, but if you’re trying to give a proper timeline, you have the order wrong. The .45-70 was a US Civil War rifle round which was common for years afterwards because surplus single-shot “trapdoor” Springfield rifles were widely available. .45 Long Colt (revolver) came later (1870′s I believe; it was adopted briefly as the US Army standard sidearm, but a more common cartridge for both revolvers and rifles was the .44-40 Winchester). .30-06 is a revision of the original .30-03 which was so named for its adoption year 1903. The cartridge design was revised in 1906 to use the new pointed (“spitzer”) bullets and the existing stock of M1903 Springfield rifles rechambered to accept it. Finally the .45 ACP was designed for the M1911 Colt Automatic Pistol which was accepted by the US Army in 1911.”

    The .45-70 wasn’t used in the Civil War. It was developed in 1873…the same year as the .45 Long Colt (in the spectacularly wonderful Colt Single Action Army, aka “Peacemaker”) and the .44-40 Winchester (via the also-spectacular Winchester ’73 rifle). The Trapdoor Springfield was a modification to the muzzle-loading .58 caliber rifles left over from the Civil War, reworking them into metallic cartridge breechloaders. Initial Trapdoors (1865) used a .58-caliber rimfire cartridge with mixed results. This was followed with the .50-70 centerfire, and finally the .45-70 in 1873.

    The .45 Long Colt was adopted by the Army in 1873 and lasted until 1892 (a little longer than “briefly”), when it was officially replaced by double-action revolvers chambered in .38 Long Colt. These proved to be ineffective in the Philippines at the turn of the (last) century, resulting in the re-fielding of refurbished Colt SAA revolvers. These were eventually phased out by the .45 ACP cartridge in the Colt 1911 semi-automatic pistol. The .45 ACP cartridge was developed to match the ballistics of the older .45LC cartridge in 1904 by John Browning for early prototypes of his automatic pistol. It did not enter mass production until the adoption of the Colt 1911 in…wait for it…1911.

    Of all the cartridges mentioned, the .45-70 is the one most appropriate for the discussion. It was employed by the US Army to devastating effect at the end of the Indian Wars. FYI, the .45-70 with a 500-grain bullet will kill at 3,500 yards. That’s two miles or 3.2 kilometers. Kinda hard to aim at that range, though :-).

    Now I’ve forgotten what the original topic was about.

  119. David Ball says:

    I’ve said before; It is civilization that has a tenuous grip, not nature.

  120. R. Gates says:

    Kasuha said:

    “And being cute is not the best reason for a species to being protected – in fact, that only creates a new kind of evolutionary pressure which leads to Earth full of extremely cute but completely useless animals. Do we need that? No, we don’t.

    ——-
    This was the most humorous thing I’ve read today. Thank you!

  121. Louis says:

    Eric Simpson says:
    “Obama’s Science Czar’s John Holdren’s past call (before the AGW scare) to “de-develop the United States” and create a “stable low consumption economy” is the political expression of the leftist dream, and they will push and push for that.”

    Seems like Obama and Holdren are well on their way to “de-develop” the United States, although they have yet to admit that they are doing it on purpose. When Obama said he was planning to “fundamentally transform” this country, no one thought to ask him what he meant by that. However, I doubt that many would have changed their vote even if he had admitted that he wanted to create a low consumption economy on par with the stone age. Until they are paying $10 a gallon for gasoline and can no longer find their favorite foods on grocery shelves, people assume that “low consumption” was only meant to apply to others.

  122. R. Gates says:

    Gary Hladik says:
    February 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm
    R. Gates says (February 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm): “The individual gazelle will be sacrificed a million times to make sure both lion and gazelle as a interrelated set of species continue on.”

    Until “Nature” drops an asteroid on them both. “Nature” may or may not “care” about her “children”, but I’m pretty sure she has a sense of humor. I suspect “Nature” brought us into existence just so someone could appreciate her practical jokes; an audience, if you will. And I think she “created” the IPCC to keep us amused in between sets. :-)
    ———–
    The price of existence is risk. And yes, it actually is all very much humorous– a divine comedy if you will. For the universe to bring about self- reflective consciousness is certainly to prevent the boredom that would have been the alternative. Still…it is just a game of hide and seek and the real joke is…we are all It!

  123. Smokey says:

    Gates,

    I’m a young 63. And with age comes wisdom.

    [Smokey was the name of my wife's big gray tomcat, with ear notches from all the fights he was in. And Mrs Smokey has never complained about a lack of passion. Where there's smoke, there's fire.☺]

  124. vigilantfish says:

    John says:
    February 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm :

    You mention eastern Canada as a place where peregrine falcons survived implying that this was because there was not much DDT spraying going on there as opposed to the northeastern United States. Actually, New Brunswick had an extensive DDT spray program in the 1950s, as did I imagine the forested parts of Nova Scotia and parts of Quebec. This was for spruce budworm which was a threat to the logging (pulp and paper) industry. In fact, some of the data Carson drew upon was observations by salmon biologists that DDT runoff in the Miramichi was killing larval salmon and other stream life. It does seem to have higher toxicity in aquatic animals.

    However, as regarding birds’ eggs, I note that the works you cite date from the period in which scientists were very actively looking for evidence to support Carson’s contentions, a methodology which, as we know, can be problematic. There were both earlier and later studies that cast doubt on the egg-shell thinning, as there is considerable evidence that this predated DDT spraying. There is also the problem regarding Carson’s work in that it is hard to distinguish whether her horror stories are referring to DDT (which she suspected erroneously had some link to the breast cancer from which she died) or to organophosphate pesticides, for which I believe human and animal negative health effects are much better documented. Ironically, thanks to the hysteria surrounding DDT, the more harmful organophosphates continued to be used for decades longer than DDT.

  125. John Crane says:

    David Ball says:
    February 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    “I’ve said before; It is civilization that has a tenuous grip, not nature.”

    That is one of the more succinct statements I have seen in a very long time.

    Except for people who understand what those color bands in the Grand Canyon represent (especially to our ‘precious’ graveyards) or the percentage of species that have gone extinct prior to our appearance, few have any grasp of time. If children where taught that it takes 11 and a half days for a million seconds to pass and nearly 32 years for a billion to go by, they might begin to understand proportions and what is required of 39 molecules in a hundred thousand to wreck life on this planet.
    .
    Having grown up and gone to school with the Navajo to the west, the Ute to the north and the Jicarilla Apache to the east and understanding what history the Anasazi, the Basketmakers and the Fremont before them endured, I have an inkling of how brutal life was long before modern Europeans arrived. They slaughtered, raped and enslaved each other long before 1492. Does anyone really believe the Inuit (no vegans there) stayed where they are because they wanted to? Native Americans (they beat
    Europeans by a miniscule 10-15 K) did anything and everything to obtain food and the territory it contained up to and including setting forest alight and driving far more food than they needed over cliffs. Within a half hours drive of my home there has been found ample evidence of cannibalism in prehistoric ‘culture’.

    Human civilization, as we know it today, is the greatest anomaly the biological record has ever seen. Mark the introduction of the coal fired steam ENGINE (from ‘ingenious’), and the ensuing inventions on a plot of human population and it is difficult to argue that civilization has not been a success of late.
    Those who find the past a romantic place to live and the public education systems that teach that the people who brought us to this point in geologic time are evil remind me strongly of the analogy of a mother bird plucking the feathers off its own chicks.

  126. R. Gates says:

    Smokey,

    Glad to know you still got it goin’ on! See, “nature” does want us to enjoy ourselves in the brief existence we call life!

  127. Smokey says:

    Gates,

    We are in agreement there.

  128. R. Gates says:

    David Ball says:
    February 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm
    I’ve said before; It is civilization that has a tenuous grip, not nature.
    ———
    Civilization is just a collective way one species has found to survive. That species is as mich a part of “nature” as anything else, and like the countless species before us, we too shall one day pass, with a whimper or a bang…

  129. markx says:

    Nice essay. Overlabours the point a little, based on ‘definitions’.

    But, it holds a great truth: If we need forests, we can make them, it takes only about thirty years.

    Stop blaming the developing countries for cutting down their forests (and, mostly these arguments are really based on not wanting the economic completion of, say, Brazilian corn and soya beans) and replant your own forests!

  130. The Ill Tempered Klavier says:

    Small thought for this thread:

    Save the Planet ?!?!?!
    The Planet doesn’t need saving!
    The people are {BEEP}, but the planet’s doin’ just fine. – George Carlin

  131. Gary Hladik says:

    Alan the Brit says: (February 14, 2012 at 9:39 am): “…when Stewart’s character is talking to the capured Spanish girl, something about being dead before she was 30 years old because of the tough lives of the Indians! Sometimes the obvious is staring you right in the face!”

    That reminds me of “Little Big Man”, 1970. Although it has Noble Savage elements, it included this memorable quote: “At first sight of an Indian camp, what you think is, ‘I see their dump. Where’s their camp?'”

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065988/quotes

  132. Steven Devijver says:

    This guy obviously hasn’t read Ishmael.

  133. Caleb says:

    Great topic. I haven’t had time to read all the comments, so forgive me if this has been mentioned.

    The best thing a dreamer can do is to put his money where his mouth is. I did it. I didn’t like working indoors and only fishing on the weekends. Why not fish all week long? So I “ran away from civilization.” It was a wonderful experience, but not all that easy. And that was during the summer.

    To be quite honest, most people are cowards, when it comes to quitting a cozy job, that has benefits and a pension. It is easy to indulge in armchair speculation. It takes guts to risk sleeping in your car, for a dream.

    It takes stamina, I suppose, to stick with a job you hate, however even there you may find the business goes bankrupt, and the benefits and pension may vanish.

    I have looked a lot at the balances some cultures found, for a time, and one thing you see happen over and over is that they lose their balance. If they have adapted to a LIA, a MWP comes along, and if they readapt to a MWP, along comes another LIA. Even when the weather stays the same, a culture can become corrupt, and bring about its own downfall.

    People who dream that Native Americans were in harmony with nature need to go meditate on the ruins left behind by the Anasazi or Mound-builders. It wasn’t Europeans that brought them to their knees.

    No matter how hard we try to build safe havens, the fresh winds of change come and dislodge us, pushing us reluctantly on our way, unless we were getting a little fed up with the stagnation and musty air of our safe haven, in which case we are glad to depart.

    Earth is a lovely place, to be respected and cared for, but we are not here forever. We are only passing through.

  134. R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Don’t we want a world our grandchildren and great grandchildren can live healthy and abundant lives in which they are free to achieve their maximum potentials?

    I don’t want my grandchildren to live in the world containing individuals capable of uttering such wish-washy mawkish nonsense.

  135. Keith Battye says:

    Some of us, not a big percentage but enough, like museums and art galleries. They store beauty and information that those of us who feel so inclined might go and enjoy them. They are paid for using private and public money but they never really detract from our own self actualization and purpose in life even though they are somewhat elitist.

    National parks are similar ,but on a larger scale, to urban parks and public open spaces. They too provide amenities to a small part of the public but are felt to benefit society at large in many ways so the majority go along without complaint.

    Unfortunately the “environmental movement” , Big Green, goes much further. This very elitist movement has decided that a minority of people should be able to prescribe what entire countries should do and not do so as to preserve the environment in a form they find attractive and acceptable. This is elitism at its worst.

    Just look at the advocacy groups against fracking, nuclear power plants, GM crops, hydro power, cell phone towers and so on. You have small groups trying to prevent things that would be advantageous to very large groups of people. They will dress it up as opposition based on exaggerated environmental damage coupled invariably to corporate greed. They never acknowledge the large benefits that will accrue to large population groups and are mum on the fact the the large corporates are invariably owned by pension funds, insurance funds and a large swath of little guy shareholders as well as a few “fat cats”. They just highlight the fat cats and that’s it.

    The bottom line is that this is all extremely undemocratic. It is elitist and damaging to ordinary people yet it is never portrayed in those terms. Yes a dam will displace a few people and wildlife but the greater good will be served by the power and irrigation potential. Yes a pipeline from Canada to the Gulf may have the potential of bursting and causing pollution but it will also provide go juice to a population that needs it while achieving a strategic objective at the same time. The resistance to GM crops is fueled not by science but by hatred of corporates even though ordinary people get more, cheaper, food using these seeds.

    Let’s face facts. The environmental movement today is deeply elitist and constitutes cultural imperialism of the worst kind. A small group of people , who a-la South Park, have farts that don’t smell are trying to foist upon us all a world that they would like to see not one that would serve us all the best. They are unelected yet they wield great power without any accountability. They are supported by a corrupted media that strikes fear into the hearts of the elected ( actual and wannabe ) if they don’t go along with this construct. The construct seems to be a global “National Nature Park” with only themselves still alive to enjoy it and they have demonized CO2 to achieve that end.

    The little guy trying to eke out a living and bring up a family needs a better shake than he is getting.

  136. R. Gates says:

    Alexander Feht says:
    February 15, 2012 at 2:38 am
    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Don’t we want a world our grandchildren and great grandchildren can live healthy and abundant lives in which they are free to achieve their maximum potentials?

    I don’t want my grandchildren to live in the world containing individuals capable of uttering such wish-washy mawkish nonsense.
    ——-
    Well since I, and others like me don’t plan on leaving anytime soon, I suggest you find an alternative world. Maybe one of convenient and happy little gated communities that are so popular in the vast suburban landscape will have to suffice, where everyone looks, acts, thinks, shops, and votes the same.

  137. Jessie says:

    R. Gates says: February 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm
    AND
    Smokey says: February 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Well it seems you boys are outliers and should be collaborating with our Aussie researcher, Bettina Arndt. ☺
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/the-health-issue-powerful-men-wont-talk-about/story-e6frgd0x-1226240227878

  138. David Ball says:

    Gates, it does not have to be that way. Nature has also provided the capability to rise above that and off our planet. Have you no vision?
    Or Hope?

  139. More Soylent Green! says:

    Gates, you keep saying nature but you mean Mother Gaia, , don’t you? You have completely anthropomorphized the natural world.

  140. Peter Crawford says:

    Alexander Feht – I agree but was it necessary to make the guy burst into tears ?

    I second the commenter from Ottawa. Steven Pinker’s ‘The Blank Slate’ is a must read for anyone who wants to get a grip on this subject. A big, detailed, authoritative, and meticulously researched book that is also engagingly written and leavened with humour.

  141. David Ball says:

    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

    “Don’t we want a world our grandchildren and great grandchildren can live healthy and abundant lives in which they are free to achieve their maximum potentials?”

    I agree completely, but we cannot go forward by going backward. To see that come to fruition, we need economic stability to provide a platform for research to develop the technology to clean our world.

    Have you seen “Alone in the Wilderness”? It is amazing what he does from next to nothing in the way of supplies. If you watch carefully, he says that he HAD to make one concession to modernity . 600 square feet of polyethylene (for the roof of his domicile). Without this, he would have to rebuild his home every couple of seasons. Most of my “green” friends miss that or ignore it. It is pivotal.

  142. R. Gates says:

    David Ball says:
    February 15, 2012 at 7:22 am
    R. Gates says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

    “Don’t we want a world our grandchildren and great grandchildren can live healthy and abundant lives in which they are free to achieve their maximum potentials?”

    I agree completely, but we cannot go forward by going backward. To see that come to fruition, we need economic stability to provide a platform for research to develop the technology to clean our world.

    Have you seen “Alone in the Wilderness”? It is amazing what he does from next to nothing in the way of supplies. If you watch carefully, he says that he HAD to make one concession to modernity . 600 square feet of polyethylene (for the roof of his domicile). Without this, he would have to rebuild his home every couple of seasons. Most of my “green” friends miss that or ignore it. It is pivotal.
    ———-
    Some may misunderstand my perspective. I am 100% for the use of the tools of science and technology to improve the lives of people. I am in now way of favor of going back to the old world of superstition and ignorance. But, it is not a case of using science and technology to fight against nature, as that is a false dichotomy, but rather we are nature, and we can learn to use our knowledge of science to improve our world in wise and healthy ways.

  143. David Ball says:

    R.Gates, perhaps that is how you yourself feel about the subject, but what we are talking about is the environmentalist movements view that humans are a “cancer” on the planet. That is a false dichotomy in my view. Do not confuse your views with what we are discussing here.

  144. David Ball says:

    R.Gates, I said nothing about “fighting against nature”. I believe it was David M Hoffer who said it best about a year ago on this blog. I’m paraphrasing; ” Mankind has spent its entire existence trying to keep the outdoors out, and the environuts want to let it back in.”

    Nature cares little about our survival and would relegate us to the “extinction bin” left to it’s own devices.

  145. R. Gates says:

    David Ball says:
    February 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Nature cares little about our survival and would relegate us to the “extinction bin” left to it’s own devices.

    ——
    This is illogical and sadly full of anthropomorphism. Nature “cares” about us as much as we care, for we are nature. This notion that there is a “nature” out there somewhere separate from the web of interrelated life on earth is absurd, but this false-dichotomy way of thinking is so engrained in certain people’s minds that they simply can’t see the absurdity of trying to separate humanity and nature. There is no division.

  146. TonyG says:

    R. Gates says:
    Civilization is just a collective way one species has found to survive.

    From what I see, it’s a bad choice for long-term survival. “Civilization” ultimately weakens the race, by suppressing its evolution.

  147. timg56 says:

    JimBob,

    Thanks for the response to Alan. Saved me the time and you were more informative than I probably would have been.

    FYI – I have Springfield TD rifle in .50-70 and a carbine in .45-70. Couple of SAA’s in .45 LC as well. I still kick myself for passing on a .52 Spencer carbine several years ago.

  148. David Ball says:

    TonyG says:
    February 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    You are referring to natural selection if I take your meaning. Is a species not strongest when it is growing? I certainly hope for more from our species.

  149. David Ball says:

    R.Gates, do not pretend you care more about about nature. You are confused about my position on this. Understand me, I do not think we are seperate from nature. We have been given the capability to be successful as a species, and we should do just that. It is you who wish to slow development to full potential. It is an anthropocentric view that you have. Freeman Dyson imagined much more for mankind. I am with him. Sorry.

  150. R. Gates says:

    TonyG says:
    February 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm
    R. Gates says:
    Civilization is just a collective way one species has found to survive.

    From what I see, it’s a bad choice for long-term survival. “Civilization” ultimately weakens the race, by suppressing its evolution.

    ————
    Sort of like being self-domesticated? Time will tell if it indeed is a “bad choice” for our long term survival as a species. Civilization is certainly a product of our relatively mild Holocene climate. If we slip into a climate less docile, cooler or warmer, it will be interesting to see if the new climate would be so kind to civilization– though perhaps to your point, such a change might actually prove positive for humans as a species, even if civilization collapses.

  151. SteveSadlov says:

    Sacre bleu Mssr. Rousseau!

  152. Joe Paleo says:

    The argument presented in the essay is teleological, and predicted on facile suppositions. In short, it’s bullshit, and you ought to know it. Which leaves the blog host and the supporting commenter to be either stupid, or so driven by dogma as to be willfully ignorant. I vote for just plain stupid. It’s a fact – people who subscribe to this sort of un-American, non forward thinking garbage just tend to be…well, stupid. It’s OK. No shame in being dumber than your classmates. Some kids just are. But let’s get a grip shall we? Time to be grown ups now, and yes, the smart kids were right, and you ought to just deal with it. They are smart, and you are dumb. Deal with it – it’s OK.

  153. R. Gates says:

    David Ball says:
    February 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm
    R.Gates, do not pretend you care more about about nature.
    _____
    I care infinitely about nature, in all aspects and in every way it is manifested. To care about nature is to care about yourself and your place in the amazing universe we inhabit. But more than that, to care about nature is to care about our connectedness to the world around us– how it impacts us and how we impact it. For nature is the web of this connectedness, spanning from highest heights to the deepest ocean, with the strange and beautiful life dwelling there, and even deeper, to the internal motions of the core of the planet itself, which bring about the magnetic field that gives protection to all life on earth. This marvelous interconnectedness on this planet and well balanced harmony is nature, and to not care about it, is to be dead inside, or to be so exceedingly self-centered that you imagine that you really are an island unto yourself.

  154. David Ball says:

    Gates you really have not been reading my posts. ….out

  155. Roger Knights says:

    Peter says:
    February 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm
    Terry Pratchett has a line he’s used in several of his books that I’m rather fond of.

    “There is a reason why they call Nature a mother.”

    There’s a book called You Sane Men whose epigraph is: “This I know: Mother Nature is a maniac.”

  156. R. Gates says:

    David Ball,

    I read your posts very carefully, and when I come across nonsense like this, in which you say about me:

    “It is you who wish to slow development to full potential.”

    It seems you’ve read none of my post, but only state things you think “someone like me” might say or believe.

  157. The Arcadian says:

    The noble savage is one of those ideas so dumb that only an intellectual could have come up with it. We’ve gotten to the point where people with no ability to feed or shelter or protect themselves are telling everyone else who is working to do those things that they’re doing them all wrong.

  158. David Ball says:

    R.Gates, the idea of the “Noble Savage” is the notion that savages are noble in the way they lived. It seems noble until you realize no one wants to live that way. NOT EVEN THE NOBLE SAVAGES.

  159. John Whitman says:

    The premise that man’s nature is not natural and that his manipulation of nature is not natural is a false premise that leads to the irrational self-fulfilling pseudo-science promulgated by ideological environmentalism and the associated CAGWism.

    The correct premise wrt man’s nature is we are masters of nature through understanding and verifying nature’s behavior via observations of nature. Go for it mankind . . . nature is open as a source of plentiful changing resources . . . !!!

    John

  160. David Ball says:

    R.Gates, show me how your ideology will lead to mankind’s full potential.

  161. actuator says:

    The “noble savage” is a myth as much as the myth of the “noble red man”. When you read of the real behavior of native American tribes who raided one another; killed each other without mercy; used captives as target practice, filling them with arrows for target practice; raped women, usually before killing them; occasionally adopted captured children provided that they were not killed for annoying their captors by incessantly crying for their dead mothers; practiced slavery; used torture as an entertainment venue, to include roasting captives over fires etc etc.

    It is the rule of law when enforced equitably in a modern, technologically developed culture that seems to have made humans seem less savage. But beneath it all there has been NO evolutionary change in our DNA that makes any significant difference to the real nature of the basic human being.

Comments are closed.