'Should This Be the Last Generation?'

Discussion in 'Environment' started by midcan5, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    The other evening while engaging in the primary American male pastime, channel surfing, a show appeared that predicted the future for humankind. I watched for a while but personally find future prognostication a useless science as experts on any topic are usually on target about as much as throwing darts blindly. But when you see the numbers and uses of material earth in order to support an economic structure that only survives on growth you have to think a bit. Peter Singer offends some people as he thinks at the extremes, but the question is interesting and as a grandpa I hope life and the earth remain the joy it has been for us.

    If you want an amazing view of nature I strongly suggest Planet Earth. It is simply the best nature documentary, take some time this summer and see it.


    By Peter Singer

    "Have you ever thought about whether to have a child? If so, what factors entered into your decision? Was it whether having children would be good for you, your partner and others close to the possible child, such as children you may already have, or perhaps your parents? For most people contemplating reproduction, those are the dominant questions. Some may also think about the desirability of adding to the strain that the nearly seven billion people already here are putting on our planet’s environment. But very few ask whether coming into existence is a good thing for the child itself."

    Should This Be the Last Generation? - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com

    ‘Last Generation?’: A Response - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com
     
  2. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Well, what ever the philosophical ramifications are, there is a rapid decline in population numbers in our future. Sometime after 2050 would be my guess. But it could possibly be sooner. Had you asked me, and I would have referanced people like James Hansen, about the possibility of the Arctic sea ice being where it is at today in 2000, I would have said it would be very unlikely.

    Going to be interesting times, but I won't be around.
     
  3. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    None of us debating this will be. It is only our grandchildren or theirs that will see if sense has made ground or all is pretty much gone or going.

    "Is a world with people in it better than one without?" Did the earth care before we arrived, wouldn't it be interesting to visit the time of the dinosaur?

    from above

    "Here is a thought experiment to test our attitudes to this view. Most thoughtful people are extremely concerned about climate change. Some stop eating meat, or flying abroad on vacation, in order to reduce their carbon footprint. But the people who will be most severely harmed by climate change have not yet been conceived. If there were to be no future generations, there would be much less for us to feel to guilty about.

    So why don’t we make ourselves the last generation on earth? If we would all agree to have ourselves sterilized then no sacrifices would be required — we could party our way into extinction!

    Of course, it would be impossible to get agreement on universal sterilization, but just imagine that we could. Then is there anything wrong with this scenario?"
     
  4. JBeukema
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    JBeukema BANNED

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    He's more than welcome neuter and/or kill himself, in keeping with his beliefs.
     
  5. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    He answered that particular question, there were a lot of replies to the piece. ‘Last Generation?’: A Response - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com

    More info from follow up comment.

    "I wanted to know how those commenting were split on this fundamental issue of whether life is on the whole good or bad and whether we should have children, so I asked Julie Kheyfets, a Princeton senior, to go through the 1040 comments that were posted through midnight on June 9 and classify them on the basis of the attitudes they expressed. She found that 152 of them did not address that issue at all, and another 283 addressed it but were undecided or neutral. Of the remainder, 145 claimed that existence is generally bad and that we should not bring more children into the world, whereas 460 held that existence is generally good and that we should bring more children into the world. In percentage terms, excluding those who did not address the issue at all, 52 percent of respondents held a positive attitude toward human existence; 16 percent held a negative attitude and 32 percent were neutral or undecided."

    None of this allows us to draw any conclusions about the attitudes of people other than those who chose to comment, or recommend comments, but at least among that group, there is more support for a negative view of human existence and against having children than one might have expected. (I put this forward purely as an interesting fact about this group of people; I am not suggesting that it has any bearing on whether that view is sound.)"
     
  6. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    Hell, if we're going to decide to kill our selfs off, than why not use all the nuclear bombs we have all at once to end it fast. Makes no sense to do it any other way. Obama can order the launch of all our nuclear power if he wents to kill humanity.

    Let it be fast.:eusa_eh:
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  7. Ragnar
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    Ragnar <--- Pic is not me

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    I'll grant it as the most open and honest form of naked evil I've read in quite some time. Sadly it has zero of the entertainment value of Nikolai Gogol's Diary of a Madman. I don't know if Singer considers himself a Humanist or not but it would go a long way toward confirming in my mind the idea that Humanist ought to be defined as a non-discriminating racist.

    As to what "the philosophical ramifications are" that is simple enough. Human extinction would mean the end of philosophy. The end of morality and the end of values the end of value qua value. Of course the Earth does not care if we live or die. It has no consciousness. Only humans have consciousness. Thus only humans can have such a thing as a moral code. The evil (and stupidity) of trying to make a moral case against humanity is self evident.

    Only strange mix of whiny wanna-be Hamlet/Heaven's Gate cultist could come up with an evil such as the OP describes....
     

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