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Re: TED TRAINER'S MISTAKE, The Commons

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  • arthurcnoll <arthurnoll@onemain.com>
    ... I can t agree, Ron. Communistic primitive societies very seldom had any police, and the one example of police I can think of, off the top of my head,
    Message 1 of 19 , Feb 1, 2003
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      --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Ron Patterson
      <readyourdarwin@y...> wrote:
      > Arthur wrote:
      > >>>I agree with most everything you say here, Ron. I have one
      > problem, though, perhaps it is just my perception of it, but it
      > seems you are dismissing the possibility of groups using
      > commons. The "tragedy of the commons", happens only when
      > individuals within a group act as independent agents. Monetary,
      > capitalist societies operate like this. It should not be
      > assumed that nothing else works, most primitive human societies,
      > in fact, have owned land in common, and made the system work
      > well for them.<<<
      >
      > Arthur, commons work as long as you have someone to police the
      > commons and everyone who uses the commons are subject to that
      > police force. In primitive societies there were always village
      > elders, or the chief, to keep their subjects from taking more
      > than their fair share.
      >
      > The ocean is a commons and international law is largely
      > ineffective and ignored. The ocean as a commons is being
      > destroyed as a result.
      >
      > Likewise, a city commons where people were free to pick fruit
      > and nuts from the trees, take fish from the ponds and so fourth,
      > would never work unless there was some authority to determine
      > who got what and how much.
      >
      > If anyone believes everyone could be persuaded to put the
      > welfare of the entire community or city ahead of their own
      > personal welfare then they are being naive. It may be that some
      > could be persuaded to behave such, and possibly even most, but
      > not all. And it only takes one to start the commons on the road
      > to ruin.
      >
      > Ron Patterson
      >
      I can't agree, Ron. Communistic primitive societies very seldom
      had any police, and the one example of police I can think of, off the
      top of my head, these police did not work on keeping the commons from
      being destroyed from overuse by individuals. That was the police that
      some of the North American plains tribes had, they worked to prevent
      people from spoiling group hunts, they didn't enforce any kind of
      limits on how many animals were taken. There were people who made
      sure everything was divided fairly, but they did not need any sort of
      coercive force, people were willing to share freely. The most basic
      reason is that people were satisfying basic needs from the land, not
      trying to get richer and richer. Without money, there was no easy way
      to pile up riches, nor any easy way to convince other people help you
      to build things more fancy than they had. Hardin's example of
      individual people grazing cows, and someone adding more cows to his
      herd at the expense of others, is entirely based on the monetary
      paradigm of people out for themselves, a mentality fostered by money.
      Primitive societies were more apt to have the herd in common, as well
      as the land. It wasn't a job that any one person could handle alone,
      they automatically worked together at managing the herd. With
      monetary games, people still work together at managing herds, but you
      get someone who builds up money and pays the others to help. Other
      people can no longer be trusted to help you as in the past, you have
      to have money to pay them, so there is incentive to graze more cows
      at the expense of others, compete with others instead of cooperate
      with them. Someone wins the monopoly game and becomes boss, the
      others become hired hands and the commons is gone. The boss controls
      most of the money, the hired hands must live on what is doled out,
      under this system people can be coerced to build bosses far fancier
      shelter and other things than they have for themselves. It is easy
      to store up money, rather than physical items that deteriorate, so
      people just go on piling it up, destroying the commons in the
      process. The concept of money and markets spread far and wide, and
      you could get even richer selling the things in what was the commons
      to this vast market, than simply being confined to a local market.

      If people don't act as independent agents, buying and selling, then
      they have to cooperate or die, and many things automatically become
      commons. While using money, becoming independent agents, just as
      automatically tears the commons apart.
      Without money and markets, communal systems are far more robust
      against one individual trying to take a little more than they need,
      than you paint it. Someone taking much more than they need, and it
      merely rots unused, becomes someone to laugh at, like a child who
      "has eyes bigger than their stomach". If someone persists with such a
      childish pattern they are likely to have trouble finding a wife, and
      don't become the boss of the community, but become a rather pitiful
      person, considered a bit crazy and untrustworthy, living on the
      fringes. Just the opposite as happens with monetary systems and
      markets, where you take much more than you need and sell it, become
      rich, respected and in control of what used to be the commons.
      I'm not saying that this older system was a golden age or
      anything, there was a lot of ignorance, superstition, overpopulation
      and war. But it was certainly a fairer system, and the possibility
      of making rational decisions as a society, to avoid overpopulation,
      is far greater.

      Arthur


      >
      > =====
      > - As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we
      might as
      > well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the
      laws of
      > thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we
      feel in
      > response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of
      our
      > ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
      > Reg Morrison "The Spirit in the Gene"
      >
      > __________________________________________________
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    • Ron Patterson
      ... seldom had any police, and the one example of police I can think of, off the top of my head, these police did not work on keeping the commons from being
      Message 2 of 19 , Feb 1, 2003
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        Arthur wrote:
        >>>I can't agree, Ron. Communistic primitive societies very
        seldom had any police, and the one example of police I can think
        of, off the top of my head, these police did not work on keeping
        the commons from being destroyed from overuse by individuals.
        That was the police that some of the North American plains
        tribes had, they worked to prevent people from spoiling group
        hunts, they didn't enforce any kind of limits on how many
        animals were taken. There were people who made sure everything
        was divided fairly, but they did not need any sort of
        coercive force, people were willing to share freely. The most
        basic reason is that people were satisfying basic needs from the
        land, not trying to get richer and richer. Without money, there
        was no easy way to pile up riches, nor any easy way to convince
        other people help you to build things more fancy than they
        had.<<<

        Arthur, I really cannot argue about how hunter-gatherer
        societies lived. I haven�t a clue but I really don�t think we
        can make any kind of argument about commons based on how
        hunter-gatherer societies lived. If we revert to that then we
        are talking about a population of, at most, one or two hundred
        million. And we are looking at a time frame of about 150 to 200
        years from now, until the last of the fossil fuels have been
        used up. That is way beyond the scope of anything I am prepared
        to discuss right now.

        I would like to point out one thing however; money is not
        intrinsically evil. Even the most primitive of societies used a
        form of money. It might have been shells, beads or something
        with actual value like animal hides. Money benefits the entire
        tribe in various ways. One cannot simply look at the dark side
        of money or wealth and say a society would be better off without
        it. As I said before, the opposite of something that is mostly
        bad is very often mostly worse. And at any rate, the behavior of
        tribes is not determined by what might be good or bad for
        everyone collectively, it is determined by the selfish genes of
        each individual member of that tribe.

        Perfect communism is like all other forms of utopia that has
        ever been created by the imaginations of men and women. It is
        something that has never existed in the past and shall never
        exist in the future.

        Ron Patterson





        =====
        - As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as
        well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of
        thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in
        response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our
        ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
        Reg Morrison "The Spirit in the Gene"

        __________________________________________________
        Do you Yahoo!?
        Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.
        http://mailplus.yahoo.com
      • Eric Thurston <enthurston@pobox.com>
        ... wrote: ... Ron, There does not necessarily have to be a person or persons policing the commons. In some societies that I ve
        Message 3 of 19 , Feb 1, 2003
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          --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Ron Patterson
          <readyourdarwin@y...> wrote:
          <snip>
          >> Arthur, commons work as long as you have someone to police the
          > commons and everyone who uses the commons are subject to that
          > police force. In primitive societies there were always village
          > elders, or the chief, to keep their subjects from taking more
          > than their fair share.

          Ron,
          There does not necessarily have to be a person or persons policing
          the commons. In some societies that I've studied, simply a strong
          tradition accepted by the people is enough to prevent anyone from
          risking the censure of the group. This was apparently true in many
          indigenous American groups. The European approach was, of course,
          oriented toward having an 'authority' of some sort do the policing.
          As you point out, it only takes one to ruin the commons, or to begin
          an unraveling process whereby the group begins the 'race to the
          bottom.' This, in my view, is what happened with the clash of the
          European and indigenous American cultures and is still happening
          around the world as the 'American Way' causes the crumbling of many
          cultures.

          Eric Thurston,
          Asheville, NC
        • Lawrence B. Crowell
          ... The commons only works peacably if the commons is big and people are few in number. Under those conditions it matters little if somebody takes more than a
          Message 4 of 19 , Feb 1, 2003
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            At 01:37 AM 2/1/03 -0000, arthurcnoll <arthurnoll@...> wrote:
            >--- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Ron Patterson
            ><readyourdarwin@y...> wrote:
            >
            > I agree with most everything you say here, Ron. I have one
            >problem, though, perhaps it is just my perception of it, but it seems
            >you are dismissing the possibility of groups using commons. The
            >"tragedy of the commons", happens only when individuals within a
            >group act as independent agents.

            The commons only works peacably if the commons is big and people are few in
            number. Under those conditions it matters little if somebody takes more
            than a share, for there is plenty beyond what anyone can take to the
            detriment of others. It is when people multiply and the cooperative use of
            the commons becomes more and more of an arm wrestling match. At that point
            the communative thinking of society begins to fail. If the land or
            resources continue to be used as a commons then the commons are ultimately
            gobbled up by those capable of making the greatest use of it. Further the
            commons under those conditions can only be sustained by the use of power.
            At some point the commons is divided into "turf," eg land becomes
            realestate.

            best,

            Lawrence B. Crowell


            For every apparent change in place occurs on account of the movement either
            of the thing seen or of the spectator, or on account of the necessarily
            unequal movement of both. For no movement is perceptible relatively to
            things moved equally in the same direction; I mean relatively to the thing
            seen and the spectator.

            "Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres" sec 5 Nicolous Copernicus
          • arthurcnoll <arthurnoll@onemain.com>
            ... Ron, I am shaking my head at the idea that if something is bad, it s opposite is usually worse. The opposite of a flawed system will be more flawed? Seems
            Message 5 of 19 , Feb 1, 2003
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              ---
              Ron,
              I am shaking my head at the idea that if something is bad, it's
              opposite is usually worse. The opposite of a flawed system will be
              more flawed? Seems to me that the opposite of a flawed system will
              be an unflawed system. Lets deal in specifics here. Never mind the
              past, I have no intention of going back to the past, and said so. I
              don't need the supersition, the mystic beliefs, the general level of
              ignorance. Their systems were flawed by these things. But the
              markets are also a flawed measuring system. I made some specific
              observations about how markets fail, I've made other observations
              here in the past, and vague words about how it is beneficial, without
              addressing these specific faults, does not constitute much of an
              argument to me. I have also proposed an alternative, basically to
              use energy measurement, and I have to wonder how you consider energy
              measurement, used quite successfully for many things, to be flawed
              for this use.
              I have not heard any reason from anyone why it will not work,
              aside from the majority refusing to accept it, but these things are
              not a matter of majority vote being right. I know that you know
              this, and wonder that you are trying to argue with me on these
              things. From everything I see, evolution is a matter of precisely
              these factors, of energy efficiency in solving problems, and
              sustainability of that efficiency. Those with genetic patterns too
              limited in brain power to understand and change, too driven by
              instincts to act rationally, will not survive. And it could happen
              rather quickly. Nearly everyone on earth is dependent on fossil
              fuels right now, directly or indirectly. War could cut off large
              fractions of the current flow and do it fast, and the war drums are
              beating. It doesn't have to be a 100 year time frame. Facing
              fundamental truths about what we are and what we really need to
              survive is something for right now, not to be put off as something we
              might have in a hundred years of gradual die off.
              One last thing. Your body is "perfect communism". The cells and
              organs do not engage in buying and selling their various different
              nutrients and products. Evolution has selected this free giving and
              taking as the most efficient way to organize your body. I think one
              could argue that bodies are not perfect, but they are capable of
              working very harmoniously. And I see no reason why evolution cannot
              bring about the same degree of harmony on different levels. You seem
              to be simply denying the possibility of this, without any specific
              reason why. I don't claim that human society will ever be perfect,
              but I think it can become much improved, can work as smoothly and
              sustainably as the organization of cells and organs in bodies have
              worked.

              Arthur

              In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Ron Patterson
              <readyourdarwin@y...> wrote:


              > Arthur wrote:
              > >>>I can't agree, Ron. Communistic primitive societies very
              > seldom had any police, and the one example of police I can think
              > of, off the top of my head, these police did not work on keeping
              > the commons from being destroyed from overuse by individuals.
              > That was the police that some of the North American plains
              > tribes had, they worked to prevent people from spoiling group
              > hunts, they didn't enforce any kind of limits on how many
              > animals were taken. There were people who made sure everything
              > was divided fairly, but they did not need any sort of
              > coercive force, people were willing to share freely. The most
              > basic reason is that people were satisfying basic needs from the
              > land, not trying to get richer and richer. Without money, there
              > was no easy way to pile up riches, nor any easy way to convince
              > other people help you to build things more fancy than they
              > had.<<<
              >
              > Arthur, I really cannot argue about how hunter-gatherer
              > societies lived. I haven't a clue but I really don't think we
              > can make any kind of argument about commons based on how
              > hunter-gatherer societies lived. If we revert to that then we
              > are talking about a population of, at most, one or two hundred
              > million. And we are looking at a time frame of about 150 to 200
              > years from now, until the last of the fossil fuels have been
              > used up. That is way beyond the scope of anything I am prepared
              > to discuss right now.
              >
              > I would like to point out one thing however; money is not
              > intrinsically evil. Even the most primitive of societies used a
              > form of money. It might have been shells, beads or something
              > with actual value like animal hides. Money benefits the entire
              > tribe in various ways. One cannot simply look at the dark side
              > of money or wealth and say a society would be better off without
              > it. As I said before, the opposite of something that is mostly
              > bad is very often mostly worse. And at any rate, the behavior of
              > tribes is not determined by what might be good or bad for
              > everyone collectively, it is determined by the selfish genes of
              > each individual member of that tribe.
              >
              > Perfect communism is like all other forms of utopia that has
              > ever been created by the imaginations of men and women. It is
              > something that has never existed in the past and shall never
              > exist in the future.
              >
              > Ron Patterson
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > =====
              > - As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we
              might as
              > well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the
              laws of
              > thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we
              feel in
              > response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of
              our
              > ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
              > Reg Morrison "The Spirit in the Gene"
              >
              > __________________________________________________
              > Do you Yahoo!?
              > Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.
              > http://mailplus.yahoo.com
            • Ron Patterson
              Arthur, please do me a favor. When replying to my posts, do not change my words in order to make your reply sound more valid. ... bad, it s opposite is usually
              Message 6 of 19 , Feb 2, 2003
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                Arthur, please do me a favor. When replying to my posts, do not
                change my words in order to make your reply sound more valid.

                You wrote:
                >>>Ron, I am shaking my head at the idea that if something is
                bad, it's opposite is usually worse.<<<

                But what I actually said in my original reply to Ted Trainer:
                �Nothing is either all bad or all good. And even
                when sometimes we find something that is �mostly bad�, quite
                often the exact opposite turns out to be �mostly worse�.�

                And in my reply to your post, I wrote:
                �As I said before, the opposite of something that is mostly
                bad is very often mostly worse.�

                And what I wrote is absolutely true, when something is �mostly
                bad� QUITE OFTEN the exact opposite will turn out to be �mostly
                worse�.

                You changed my words from �quite often� to �usually�. �Quite
                often� cannot be disputed! �Usually� is another matter entirely.
                You changed my words in order to reinforce your argument. If I
                told you that Doctors �quite often� misdiagnose an ailment, you
                would not question me. But if I said that they �usually�
                misdiagnose their patients, then such an accusation would be an
                indictment of all doctors.

                Ted was making the naive assumption that because capitalism and
                world trade was bad, that the opposite would be good. Well, that
                would depend on one�s definition of good. Capitalism and world
                trade keep billions of people alive that would otherwise die. If
                that is good, then capitalism and world trade are good, but if
                that is bad because it is destroying the world�s ecosystem, then
                that is bad. But I really don�t think that is the type of good
                and bad that Ted had in mind.

                I read your post Arthur, and I think you miss the point
                entirely. Your example of the human body being an example of
                �perfect communism� is really very silly. Survival demands that
                different parts of your body cooperate. Your feet are not in
                competition with your head and your hands are not in competition
                with your butt. But you are in competition with other members of
                your species for food and your tribe is in competition with
                other tribes around the world for food and territory. But it
                does not stop there; Homo sapiens are in competition with almost
                every other species on earth for food and territory.

                You wrote:
                >>>From everything I see, evolution is a matter of precisely
                these factors, of energy efficiency in solving problems, and
                sustainability of that efficiency. Those with genetic patterns
                too limited in brain power to understand and change, too driven
                by instincts to act rationally, will not survive.<<<

                This is simply wrong! This is unbelievably wrong! While it is
                true that animals must use the energy available to them in an
                efficient manner, millions of years of evolution has already
                molded them to do exactly that. All of them, more or less, do it
                equally and those that cannot die. But that is a given. I could
                go on about the body�s ability to use energy and store unused
                energy as fat, but I don�t thank that is what you are talking
                about.

                Author, evolution is CHANGE OVER TIME. (My email cannot
                underline, bold or italic, so please forgive the caps.) To
                evolve means to CHANGE and to evolve biologically means to
                CHANGE GENETICALLY.

                Your assumption that those too limited in brain power to act
                rationally will not survive is probably true in the very broad
                sense. After all, how could it possibly be otherwise? But what
                one person might consider as �acting rationally� may be the very
                act that gets them killed. The rational decision to use brute
                force and kill your neighbor may be what enables one to survive.
                (I am giving an example here, not making a suggestion.) The
                point I am trying to make here is that another might not
                consider one person�s rational decision rational at all. One
                might be pitting his or her rationality against that of another.
                One survives and one dies. Now that IS evolution, or at least
                leads to change over time. That is, the species gets a little
                smarter.

                The point I wish to make Arthur is that you, Ted and many others
                are missing the point entirely. Ted, and I think you also, (but
                I may be mistaken here), and many others, are trying to conjure
                up systems that will allow us all to survive and live in
                sustainable harmony forever, all of us! That is not only
                impossible but would also be totally detrimental to the
                biosystem of planet Earth. There is simply no way that the earth
                can go on supporting 6.25 billion people for very much longer.
                It doesn�t matter how efficiently we learn how to use energy,
                the problem is too many people, not inefficient use of energy.
                Even if we were to invent perfect communism and a perfect
                commons that no one would abuse, the system would STILL
                collapse.

                True, it was the abundance of very cheap fossil energy that
                enabled us to multiply like rabbits in a field of clover, like
                the reindeer on St. Matthews Island. But even if this fossil
                energy were to last forever, a collapse is still inevitable. The
                beginning of the demise of fossil energy will simply make the
                collapse happen a few years sooner. Reg Morrison documents this
                inevitable collapse beautifully in �The Spirit in the Gene�.
                That is why everyone should read the book, even if you are a
                mystic.

                What is happening to the ecosystem is the result of too many
                people. One can make the argument that our western footprint is
                too big, and if it were simply smaller, all six plus billion
                people could live without destroying the system. This is simply
                not true. Look at Africa. The ecosystem of Africa is an absolute
                disaster. Africa is collapsing because of too many people. Too
                many people cutting the timber for fuel, too many people using
                the savanna for domestic animals, too many people polluting the
                pristine lakes and turning them into cesspools. I could go on
                and on but I hope you get the point.

                If Author C. Noll invents the perfect energy system, it may help
                us survive a little longer and our numbers become a little
                greater. But because it will delay the collapse until our
                numbers are greater and more animals have been driven into
                extinction and much more of the ecosystem has been destroyed, it
                will make matters much worse. The Author C. Noll energy system
                will have ultimately increased human misery and environmental
                destruction.

                That is my argument. But I must admit it is not an original
                argument. It is the exact same argument made by Garrett Hardin
                in �The Ostrich Principal�. That is another great book everyone
                should read. Perhaps even Bill will be willing to read that one
                because Hardin does not bad mouth mysticism.

                Ron Patterson


                =====
                - As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as
                well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of
                thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in
                response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our
                ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
                Reg Morrison "The Spirit in the Gene"

                __________________________________________________
                Do you Yahoo!?
                Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.
                http://mailplus.yahoo.com
              • William Tamblyn <wmtamblyn@yahoo.com>
                The title is , Ron, and I didn t need Hardin to understand that infinite growth in a finite system runs into a problem or two. What I
                Message 7 of 19 , Feb 2, 2003
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                  The title is <<The Ostrich Factor>>, Ron, and I didn't need Hardin to
                  understand that infinite growth in a finite system runs into a
                  problem or two.

                  What I have learned from Spengler is just how alluring the infinite
                  is within Western Civilization. Convincing most people that our
                  species has become a cancer on the planet seems utterly impossible.

                  Regards,

                  Bill


                  --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Ron Patterson
                  <readyourdarwin@y...> wrote:
                  <snip>

                  That is my argument. But I must admit it is not an original argument.
                  It is the exact same argument made by Garrett Hardin in "The Ostrich
                  Principal". That is another great book everyone should read. Perhaps
                  even Bill will be willing to read that one because Hardin does not
                  bad mouth mysticism.

                  <snip>
                • arthurcnoll <arthurnoll@onemain.com>
                  ... Ok Ron, I changed your words. I shouldn t have done that. But my argument still applies to what you did say. Your general principle is very prone to
                  Message 8 of 19 , Feb 2, 2003
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                    --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Ron Patterson
                    <readyourdarwin@y...> wrote:
                    > Arthur, please do me a favor. When replying to my posts, do not
                    > change my words in order to make your reply sound more valid.
                    >

                    Ok Ron, I changed your words. I shouldn't have done that. But my
                    argument still applies to what you did say. Your general principle
                    is very prone to being read as I read it. You try to put a
                    modification in, by saying "mostly", yet you have a very definitive
                    word with the word "opposite". Makes for a lot of confusion. The
                    exact opposite of something "mostly bad", by definition is not going
                    to be "mostly worse". The opposite of mostly bad is mostly good.
                    This general principle is mostly bad, and you should drop it.

                    >
                    > > I read your post Arthur, and I think you miss the point
                    > entirely. Your example of the human body being an example of
                    > "perfect communism" is really very silly. Survival demands that
                    > different parts of your body cooperate.

                    I am really flabbergasted that you would first say I am silly, and
                    secondly basically repeat my argument. "Survival demands that the
                    different parts of the body cooperate." Exactly. And guess what-You
                    cannot survive without the cooperation of other people. Go try it,
                    observe others try it, find me a case of human beings living
                    independently of each other. Market systems make for coerced
                    cooperation, not very efficient. It doesn't distribute resources
                    evenly, also leading to poor efficiency.

                    >Your feet are not in
                    > competition with your head and your hands are not in competition
                    > with your butt. But you are in competition with other members of
                    > your species for food and your tribe is in competition with
                    > other tribes around the world for food and territory. But it
                    > does not stop there; Homo sapiens are in competition with almost
                    > every other species on earth for food and territory.

                    Yes, people compete. Within a tribe, they compete in non-lethal
                    manner, to try and find the right solutions to problems. We are
                    right now competing in a non-lethal manner. Tribes can split, if
                    they cannot resolve their differences, and then the competition is
                    likely to become lethal. All as you have written. If we cannot
                    agree, at a certain point we are very likely to become mortal
                    enemies. I don't see why we should, we actually agree on quite a
                    number of points, and I think there is a lot of misunderstanding here.


                    > You wrote:
                    > >>>From everything I see, evolution is a matter of precisely
                    > these factors, of energy efficiency in solving problems, and
                    > sustainability of that efficiency. Those with genetic patterns
                    > too limited in brain power to understand and change, too driven
                    > by instincts to act rationally, will not survive.<<<
                    >
                    > This is simply wrong! This is unbelievably wrong! While it is
                    > true that animals must use the energy available to them in an
                    > efficient manner, millions of years of evolution has already
                    > molded them to do exactly that. All of them, more or less, do it
                    > equally and those that cannot die. But that is a given. I could
                    > go on about the body's ability to use energy and store unused
                    > energy as fat, but I don't thank that is what you are talking
                    > about.
                    >
                    > Author, evolution is CHANGE OVER TIME. (My email cannot
                    > underline, bold or italic, so please forgive the caps.) To
                    > evolve means to CHANGE and to evolve biologically means to
                    > CHANGE GENETICALLY.
                    >
                    > Your assumption that those too limited in brain power to act
                    > rationally will not survive is probably true in the very broad
                    > sense. After all, how could it possibly be otherwise? But what
                    > one person might consider as "acting rationally" may be the very
                    > act that gets them killed. The rational decision to use brute
                    > force and kill your neighbor may be what enables one to survive.
                    > (I am giving an example here, not making a suggestion.) The
                    > point I am trying to make here is that another might not
                    > consider one person's rational decision rational at all. One
                    > might be pitting his or her rationality against that of another.
                    > One survives and one dies. Now that IS evolution, or at least
                    > leads to change over time. That is, the species gets a little
                    > smarter.

                    I am slightly amused here. This is the second time you have told
                    me I'm wrong, and then go on to make precisely my argument.
                    >
                    > The point I wish to make Arthur is that you, Ted and many others
                    > are missing the point entirely. Ted, and I think you also, (but
                    > I may be mistaken here), and many others, are trying to conjure
                    > up systems that will allow us all to survive and live in
                    > sustainable harmony forever, all of us! That is not only
                    > impossible but would also be totally detrimental to the
                    > biosystem of planet Earth. There is simply no way that the earth
                    > can go on supporting 6.25 billion people for very much longer.
                    > It doesn't matter how efficiently we learn how to use energy,
                    > the problem is too many people, not inefficient use of energy.
                    > Even if we were to invent perfect communism and a perfect
                    > commons that no one would abuse, the system would STILL
                    > collapse.

                    I really have to wonder at how carefully you have read my posts. I
                    have repeatedly said that I do not see my ideas for society
                    deflecting a die off. I have repeatedly said exactly what you just
                    argued, that evolution selects out greater intelligence, and I have
                    merely gone further than this, and said that the greater intelligence
                    selected from this coming die off, should be capable of better
                    organization, which will avoid the behavior that has led to the
                    current situation.
                    I suspect you are angry and are not reading or thinking clearly
                    about my words. Calm down. I'm snipping the rest of this, it is
                    more of the same.

                    Arthur >
                    > >
                  • Ron Patterson
                    Arthur, you are confusing me now. I have been reading your arguments very carefully, though I admit I cannot recall what your arguments from many past posts
                    Message 9 of 19 , Feb 2, 2003
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                      Arthur, you are confusing me now. I have been reading your
                      arguments very carefully, though I admit I cannot recall what
                      your arguments from many past posts are. I can only reply to
                      your past two posts. I will make this reply then as you suggest,
                      I shall drop it. But I MUST clear this point up.

                      You write:
                      >>>The exact opposite of something "mostly bad", by definition
                      is not going to be "mostly worse".<<<

                      This is really infuriating Arthur. AGAIN I never stated the
                      opposite of something mostly bad was �by definition� mostly
                      worse. I said �QUITE OFTEN� not �BY DEFINITION�. MUST YOU
                      continually change my words to make your point look valid and
                      make mine look silly?

                      Again, you write:
                      >>>The opposite of mostly bad is mostly good. This general
                      principle is mostly bad, and you should drop it.<<<

                      Well of course Author, the opposite of the TERM �mostly bad� is
                      �mostly good�. But we were not discussing semantics; we were
                      discussing things in the real world, capitalism, communism and
                      world trade.

                      If you determine that capitalism and world trade are mostly bad,
                      that does not mean, by definition, that the opposite, communism
                      and no world trade whatsoever, would be mostly good. Think about
                      it Arthur, the opposite of SOMETHING mostly bad is not, by
                      definition, mostly good. That is absolute nonsense. That point
                      is so obvious it is silly to keep on trying to juggle words in
                      an attempt to deny it. You may be able to show that world trade
                      is mostly bad but if all world trade stopped tomorrow then
                      billions of people would starve to death within the next few
                      months. Is that mostly good?

                      One more point: Your example of the human body as an example of
                      communism working fine is too silly to be taken seriously. The
                      human body is not a political system, communism is! Biology
                      cannot be compared with politics. That is like comparing puppy
                      dogs with battleships.

                      If you read "The Ostrich Factor", you will see Harding make the
                      point over and over that the choice in this matter of feeding
                      starving masses is never between good and bad. He explains that
                      the choice is between the bad, not feeding them and letting them
                      starve, and the worse, feeding them so millions or billions more
                      will starve a little further down the road.

                      Obviously not feeding starving people is mostly bad. But
                      soothing your conscious and thereby insuring that a billion or
                      so more will starve twenty years later is mostly worse.

                      I know many would argue that it is not proven that we will run
                      short of fuel and thereby food. But for those of us who do
                      acknowledge this very obvious fact, then it cannot be denied
                      that the more kept alive with foreign aid today, their numbers
                      will be multiplied by over one billion in 20 years. And to the
                      extent that their numbers are multiplied, is the extent that the
                      misery will likewise be multiplied, and the deaths will be
                      multiplied. I would hope Author that this point is blatantly
                      obvious....to everyone!

                      Okay, now let�s drop it,

                      Ron Patterson


                      =====
                      - As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as
                      well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of
                      thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in
                      response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our
                      ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
                      Reg Morrison "The Spirit in the Gene"

                      __________________________________________________
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                    • Frith, Denis
                      Bill You said Convincing most people that our species has become a cancer on the planet seems utterly impossible. I believe that Mother Nature is in the
                      Message 10 of 19 , Feb 2, 2003
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                        Bill

                              You said "Convincing most people that our species has become a cancer on the planet seems utterly impossible." I believe that Mother Nature is in the process of spelling out the message that our species is a cancer on her habitat and eventually most people will take in that message - albeit too late to avoid the dire consequences of depleting irreplaceable resources and causing irrepairable damage to the environment..

                        Denis Frith

                        Melbourne

                         "William Tamblyn <wmtamblyn@...>" <wmtamblyn@....> wrote:

                        The title is < >, Ron, and I didn't need Hardin to
                        understand that infinite growth in a finite system runs into a
                        problem or two.

                        What I have learned from Spengler is just how alluring the infinite
                        is within Western Civilization. Convincing most people that our
                        species has become a cancer on the planet seems utterly impossible.

                        Regards,

                        Bill


                        --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Ron Patterson
                        wrote:


                        That is my argument. But I must admit it is not an original argument.
                        It is the exact same argument made by Garrett Hardin in "The Ostrich
                        Principal". That is another great book everyone should read. Perhaps
                        even Bill will be willing to read that one because Hardin does not
                        bad mouth mysticism.





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                      • arthurcnoll <arthurnoll@onemain.com>
                        ... In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Ron Patterson ... I still don t understand you. But lets go on to specifics. ... Indeed, that is my real objective
                        Message 11 of 19 , Feb 3, 2003
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                          ---

                          In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Ron Patterson
                          <readyourdarwin@y...> wrote:
                          > Arthur, you are confusing me now. I have been reading your
                          > arguments very carefully, though I admit I cannot recall what
                          > your arguments from many past posts are. I can only reply to
                          > your past two posts. I will make this reply then as you suggest,
                          > I shall drop it. But I MUST clear this point up.
                          >
                          > You write:
                          > >>>The exact opposite of something "mostly bad", by definition
                          > is not going to be "mostly worse".<<<
                          >
                          > This is really infuriating Arthur. AGAIN I never stated the
                          > opposite of something mostly bad was "by definition" mostly
                          > worse. I said "QUITE OFTEN" not "BY DEFINITION". MUST YOU
                          > continually change my words to make your point look valid and
                          > make mine look silly?

                          I still don't understand you. But lets go on to specifics.
                          >
                          > Again, you write:
                          > >>>The opposite of mostly bad is mostly good. This general
                          > principle is mostly bad, and you should drop it.<<<
                          >
                          > Well of course Author, the opposite of the TERM "mostly bad" is
                          > "mostly good". But we were not discussing semantics; we were
                          > discussing things in the real world, capitalism, communism and
                          > world trade.

                          Indeed, that is my real objective here, too. And as I write below,
                          I object to your idea of what is opposite. I think that is what this
                          dispute is really about.
                          >
                          > If you determine that capitalism and world trade are mostly bad,
                          > that does not mean, by definition, that the opposite, communism
                          > and no world trade whatsoever, would be mostly good.

                          First, I have not said anything at all about world trade to this
                          point. I find flaws in all the systems of government that have been
                          tried, and do not see them as such opposites as you seem to do.
                          Which is probably the point we are really arguing. All modern
                          governments have attempted to use money. The difference between them
                          is the degree to which they tried to control markets, the
                          "communists" tried to have lots of control over the market, the
                          "capitalists", used less control. I would not call them opposites at
                          all. Primitive societies were often indeed "opposite" of capitalism,
                          in that they had no money, but they also did not have any sense of
                          the need for sustainability or population control, and very often
                          were unified and made decisions by mystic beliefs that I think were
                          nonsense. Many similar mystic views have been held by all factions
                          of modern capitalism. The Soviets, for example, were officially
                          atheists, but they held irrational views about how many people could
                          be supported sustainably, Malthus was rejected. They made technology
                          their god, and believed in this god with the same irrational faith
                          that the religious have. Many free market capitalists do the same,
                          and many of them believe in a mystic god, too. So there are a lot of
                          similarities between all these systems, I can't view them as
                          opposites when all these factors are considered. And when I can't
                          view them as opposites, I can't see your general rule applying. They
                          were all mostly bad because they were all flawed, and flawed very
                          often in similar ways. Not opposites at all.
                          Incidently, I think some world trade could be beneficial, and could
                          be done without fossil fuels, ships can run with the wind. But I see
                          such a deep fall that I doubt we will get back to doing anything like
                          this very soon. Onward...

                          Think about
                          > it Arthur, the opposite of SOMETHING mostly bad is not, by
                          > definition, mostly good. That is absolute nonsense. That point
                          > is so obvious it is silly to keep on trying to juggle words in
                          > an attempt to deny it. You may be able to show that world trade
                          > is mostly bad but if all world trade stopped tomorrow then
                          > billions of people would starve to death within the next few
                          > months. Is that mostly good?

                          Yes, I think it would be good for trade to be cut off and
                          billions die shortly as a result. These billions of people are doing
                          tremendous damage to the carrying capacity of the earth, and it would
                          do a sustainable population good to have this excess removed and the
                          damage stopped. I think a larger sustainable population will be
                          sturdier against problems than a smaller one, and that is good. I
                          think it is better not to have species going extinct left and right,
                          soils depleted and poisoned, water and air poisoned. Having so many
                          people at the present is not sustainable, they are going to die
                          anyway. I'd stop trade right now, if I could. It would be a very
                          good thing to do.
                          >
                          > One more point: Your example of the human body as an example of
                          > communism working fine is too silly to be taken seriously. The
                          > human body is not a political system, communism is! Biology
                          > cannot be compared with politics. That is like comparing puppy
                          > dogs with battleships.

                          I'm amused. Politics is the result of the physics and biology in
                          people's brains, it isn't something separate from physics and
                          biology. The forces that drive individual human beings to cooperate
                          or fight with each other are just the same as the forces within a
                          body that have the various chemicals either attract or repel each
                          other, and make the body grow and function.

                          >
                          > If you read "The Ostrich Factor", you will see Harding make the
                          > point over and over that the choice in this matter of feeding
                          > starving masses is never between good and bad. He explains that
                          > the choice is between the bad, not feeding them and letting them
                          > starve, and the worse, feeding them so millions or billions more
                          > will starve a little further down the road.

                          I haven't read it and don't intend to, if that is all it is about.
                          I understand the principle completely, and don't need a whole book of
                          going over the same point over and over again. You learn to take a
                          machete and cut off the heads of baby goats and eat them, and it is a
                          good thing to do. Not mostly good. Good. The human herd is way too
                          big, people need to die, and the sooner it happens the better. People
                          have been tremendously arrogant or ignorant about defying nature's
                          laws about sustainability. Neither is a defense against the execution
                          of that law.
                          >
                          > Obviously not feeding starving people is mostly bad. But
                          > soothing your conscious and thereby insuring that a billion or
                          > so more will starve twenty years later is mostly worse.

                          If people have been warned about the dangers of not controlling their
                          population, and they have been warned from Malthus and before, they
                          don't have any excuse at all, and there is no reason to destroy more
                          renewable resources to feed them, and cut into the sustainable
                          supply, when they get into trouble. They are asking you to do the
                          equivalent of cutting off a leg to feed them. No. They were warned.
                          It is not "mostly bad" not to feed them, but good not to feed them.
                          But I would also say that people who have arrogantly ignored warnings
                          about getting so hooked on fossil fuels are no better. They are also
                          idiots, and when the oil gets cut off and they go into convulsions,
                          they deserve the pain, and people who might have some oil shouldn't
                          feel compelled to give them more. I don't see any government that is
                          acting with any sense at all about these things.
                          >
                          > I know many would argue that it is not proven that we will run
                          > short of fuel and thereby food. But for those of us who do
                          > acknowledge this very obvious fact, then it cannot be denied
                          > that the more kept alive with foreign aid today, their numbers
                          > will be multiplied by over one billion in 20 years. And to the
                          > extent that their numbers are multiplied, is the extent that the
                          > misery will likewise be multiplied, and the deaths will be
                          > multiplied. I would hope Author that this point is blatantly
                          > obvious....to everyone!

                          Of course it is obvious to me, who would stop world trade right
                          now, fully understanding the consequences. Left to me I would not
                          sacrifice another tiny bit of the world, to people who have acted
                          with such arrogance and stupidity.

                          > Okay, now let's drop it,

                          Maybe. :-)
                          Arthur

                          > Ron Patterson
                          >
                          >
                          > =====
                          > - As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we
                          might as
                          > well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the
                          laws of
                          > thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we
                          feel in
                          > response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of
                          our
                          > ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
                          > Reg Morrison "The Spirit in the Gene"
                          >
                          > __________________________________________________
                          > Do you Yahoo!?
                          > Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.
                          > http://mailplus.yahoo.com
                        • Ron Patterson
                          Arthur, I now fully understand our differences. I also now fully understand your argument and will not try to refute it. Our differences lie in our different
                          Message 12 of 19 , Feb 3, 2003
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                            Arthur, I now fully understand our differences. I also now fully
                            understand your argument and will not try to refute it. Our
                            differences lie in our different definitions of �good� and
                            �bad�.

                            I call the coming dieoff something very bad. But the alternative
                            is allowing the population to continue to expand until more
                            species has become extinct and all the pristine places in the
                            world have become dumps or cesspools is far worse, especially
                            since the human misery would be increased also. At least a
                            billion more would die as a result. So I say either the very,
                            very bad will happen or else the very much worse will happen.
                            (We really have no CHOICE in the matter, so I shall not use that
                            word.)

                            You call the impending dieoff something good because it will
                            mean we will avoid the much worse. Okay, I will grant you your
                            definition of �good� and will not argue with you, though I do
                            disagree.

                            Also, you say that the people have been warned, they are hooked
                            on fossil fuels, they are idiots, they are arrogant and have
                            ignored all the warnings, yada yada yada. I would also add, and
                            I am sure you would agree, that their vision is myopic, they can
                            see only a very few years into the future. But of course! They
                            are Homo sapiens and that is how Homo sapiens behave.

                            Please read my signature file Arthur. That is Morrison�s
                            position and mine as well.

                            Ron Patterson


                            =====
                            - As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as
                            well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of
                            thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in
                            response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our
                            ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
                            Reg Morrison "The Spirit in the Gene"

                            __________________________________________________
                            Do you Yahoo!?
                            Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.
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                          • William Tamblyn <wmtamblyn@yahoo.com>
                            Denis, Sometimes I think that, even after Mother Nature has spelled it out in ALL CAPS and easy-to-understand words, most people are going to to
                            Message 13 of 19 , Feb 3, 2003
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                              Denis,

                              Sometimes I think that, even after Mother Nature has spelled it out
                              in ALL CAPS and easy-to-understand words, most people are going to
                              <<continue>> to misinterpret, misunderstand, or simply deny the
                              message.

                              Rather than believe that we are running short of fossil fuels, I
                              think most people will believe higher prices are due to "hostile
                              Arabs" and "greedy oil companies."

                              Rather than believe that our numbers are unsustainable, I think most
                              people will see the deaths of others (by starvation, violence,
                              plague, or whatever) as something that God brings down on others, not
                              on "His own."

                              The more I see, the more I doubt our capacity to face reality.

                              Regards,

                              Bill


                              --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, "Frith, Denis"
                              <denisaf2000@y...> wrote:

                              Bill

                              You said "Convincing most people that our species has become a
                              cancer on the planet seems utterly impossible." I believe that Mother
                              Nature is in the process of spelling out the message that our species
                              is a cancer on her habitat and eventually most people will take in
                              that message - albeit too late to avoid the dire consequences of
                              depleting irreplaceable resources and causing irrepairable damage to
                              the environment..

                              Denis Frith

                              Melbourne
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