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Human Extinction: An Idea Whose Time had to Come.

Human Extinction: An Idea Whose Time had to Come. thumbnail
A few years ago, a political movement that took the name of “extinction rebellion” would have been wholly unthinkable. On the other hand, after more than forty years of warnings on climate change and ecosystem collapse from the world’s best scientists, the message had to start going through, somehow. One consequence is the appearance on the social media of a crowd of deranged, depressed, misanthropic, and generally nasty people who have decided that extinction is what’s going to happen no matter what we do and who seem to enjoy insulting those of us who dare to express the opinion that maybe there are ways to avoid it. Other, fortunately, seem to think that we can still rebel against this manifest destiny and that’s the origin of the movement. 

These openly declared attitudes may be just the tip of the iceberg, others may well have decided that, if overpopulation is the cause of the problem, then there are quick and very dirty ways to solve it. They may be concocting dark and dire things we know nothing about. But, as usual, we see the future darkly, as in a mirror, and the time when we’ll see it face to face has not come, yet. 

Below, a text by “Reverse Engineer” of the Doomstead Diner who examines the question and, at the linked page, you’ll find also a longer video. (U.B.)

Guest post by R.E. (Reverse Engineer).

Extinction has moved from the dark corners of the Collapse Blogosphere into the consciousness of the mainstream.  Just a few short years ago the discussion of human extinction was relegated to a few fringe websites, but not so anymore.  Now it has become Topic #1 in the discussions on many websites that concern themselves with topics of collapse.  Sometimes this comes to the exclusion of many other collapse related topics in economics, geopolitics, energy and social psychology that are impacting more directly right now.

Generally, my focus over the years has been on the economics and energy end of the spin down we are immersed in, and I don’t dwell too much on the issues of extinction.  However, here on the Diner we have treated the subject to analysis on a few occasions, most notably the Human Extinction Survey, which we ran a couple of years ago.  It garnered the most respondents of any survey we have run at around 350 submissions until recently, when our Collapse Projections Survey brought in responses from over 600 Kollapsniks.  The extinction survey also inspired a month long email stream between various bloggers and pundits which was quite interesting.

I generally tend to avoid extinction discussions though for a few reasons.  First, I have discovered over the years that it attracts a certain type of reader/commenter who is often nihilistic, misanthropic and sometimes suicidally depressed.  The blog becomes consumed with the discussion of the topic while more proximal problems get ignored.  Who cares if the monetary system is going to crash if we’re all gonna die anyhow, right?  It also sometimes inspires people toward counter-productive behaviors.  If we’re all destined to inevitable death here no matter what, let’s just Party like it’s 1999!  It leads to inaction on problems we still can have an effect on as we move forward in collapse.

The timeline question becomes very important here, because if extinction is indeed going to happen, when will it actually occur?  If it’s in the next 5 years say, that has one set of problems and responses, if it’s going to happen in 50 there’s another set.  Nobody can really finger this accurately, it’s all speculation but some true believers hammer down on anyone who doesn’t buy the whole ball of wax on Near Term Human Extinction (NTHE) is in denial and shooting up too much Hopium.  Amongst this crowd, hope is a bad thing to have.

Recent events however compelled me to discuss this subject in detail, which I do in today’s Collapse Morning Wake-Up Call.  The first is the rise of the Extinction Rebellion movement, which recently held a week long series of often very theatrical demonstrations in London to raise consciousness and hopefully get some real ACTION out of governments to combat this problem, which looms larger each day as more climate related calamities strike in more places with incresing ferocity and frequency.all over the globe.  The second is a corollary issue of Population Overshoot, and the fact that many Millenials are now choosing to remain childless, for one reason or another.  What kind of difference will this make to our society as time marches on here?

All in all, Extinction is a difficult conundrum to deal with, a Wicked Problem.  Hopefully, I clarify some issues with this discussion, or at least lay out my position on where I stand on these issues.

Save As Many As You Can


Cassandra’s legacy by Ugo Bardi

24 Comments on "Human Extinction: An Idea Whose Time had to Come."

  1. makati1 on Sun, 12th May 2019 6:11 pm 

    ALL of the signs visible now point to the end of humans in the not too distant future. So reasons why:

    1. Climate change, growing cycles disrupted, die-off of the things needed for life, like the oceans.
    2. More deadly diseases and fewer cures. Antibiotics that no longer work, etc.
    3. Millions flying around the planet every day, carrying those diseases with them.
    4. Greed. Obvious everywhere, especially in the West. More! More! More!
    5. Wars and threats of wars that could end in a nuclear flash, taking all life.

    When? Well seeing the speed up of number 1, not much longer than 2100. Number 5 could be tomorrow. Probably some time in between. We shall see.

  2. Davy on Sun, 12th May 2019 6:35 pm 

    I am doing Real Green Deep Adaptation. I posted some details today under:
    Davy on Sun, 12th May 2019 6:49 am. “Why the World’s Richest Man Wants Humans To Live on Floating Space Cities.”
    Until these extinction rebellion people get honest they are just kidding themselves. If they think they can change things and avoid the same fate as what they are protesting they are mistaken. Most greens today are Fake Green and delusional. People today that are happy should at least enjoy the moment. Being depressed about something off in the future ruins the present. Some can likely do better dropping below the radar screen yielding to greater powers and practice survival technics like the little mammals did as the dinosaurs died all around. Find a good local and make your last stand. Shit is going to hit the fan eventually but it is still unclear when, what, and where. Enhance your basic resilience by lowering your affluence thereby beating the rush to a life of less.

  3. Davy on Sun, 12th May 2019 6:56 pm 

    “Could There Be Any Hope?” “question everything” george mobus

    “The hope of which I speak is for the genus Homo, not our current civilization. The latter is almost certainly going to collapse and likely come to completion within the next two to three decades. The collapse has already begun as evidenced by global events [some of my earlier musings here]. It is amazing to me how the mainstream media continue to consume the political/economic story about how the economy is doing so well even if growth is slow by historical standards. I take it as just a reflection of how so many people hold out a sense of hope for civilization as we have it today to continue, albeit as a green new deal or even business as usual. Such hope is misplaced in my view. It will allow people to avoid planning for survival and how to reorganize some semblance of a future social system. Humans are necessarily social creatures and some kind of social system is essentially mandatory for human beings to maintain their humanity. Of course, also in my view, this lack of forethought by the majority of humans will solve the overpopulation problem, painfully. So those persons who do not harbor a false hope, can see that any civilization remotely resembling what we have today is doomed to collapse, will be considering what actions they should take to survive said collapse (or see to it that their offspring have a chance) and be ready to execute their plan… The best advice I can give is that one should be vigilant, observe what is happening in the world and, particularly pay attention to the rates of change, and maintain an ability to proactively adapt to the consequences. I strongly suspect there will be survivors. I also believe the best general approach to survival will involve a group effort; strength in numbers as it were. In all likelihood these groups will survive in pockets. And the most successful will have preserved a variety of hand tools with which they can construct some form of social center. I do not believe humans will return necessarily to pure hunter-gatherer groups. Some form of agriculture will be involved (as long-time readers will know I promote the concepts of permaculture).

  4. makati1 on Sun, 12th May 2019 7:28 pm 

    As I have been saying: “Brainwashing isn’t a secretive event that takes place in hidden rooms. No hypnotists or vials full of chemicals are required. It takes place every day on a massive scale across the United States….

    Brainwashing happens every day. It doesn’t have to mean a complete transformation of identity. On the simplest level, it means compelling someone to believe something that isn’t true….

    Control the national environment, force a crisis on the country, and tap into their fear and guilt. And then you can outlaw planes, cows, skyscrapers, straws, plastic bags and the rest of the Green New Deal….

    Like drug addiction, the aftermath of brainwashing transforms the mind into a convoluted maze of rationalizations for self-destructive behavior that are guarded by biology and the subconscious.”

    America, a nation of brainwashed sheeple being sheared and about to be slaughtered by TPTB. GO TRUMP! TRUMP IN 2020! Shepherd to the dumbed down flock.

  5. makati1 on Sun, 12th May 2019 8:15 pm 

    Pavlov had a Chihuahua dog named Davy. It could not help yipping defiantly when the real world invaded its space. Woof! LOL

  6. Roger on Sun, 12th May 2019 8:33 pm 

    Hopefully, I clarify some issues with this discussion, or at least lay out my position on where I stand on these issues.

    Yes indeed you do.

    “But, as usual, we see the future darkly, as in a mirror, and the time when we’ll see it face to face has not come, yet. ”

    Or, another way:

    “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”
    ‭‭1 CORINTHIANS‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭NASB‬‬

    God bless

  7. Roger on Sun, 12th May 2019 8:47 pm 

    What a pathetic generation we are. The end of the age ( not world) has been prophesied/known for mellenia. Yet, we’re too arrogant to accept it (yes, the Bible/gospel).

  8. makati1 on Sun, 12th May 2019 9:40 pm 

    The Bible, a fairy tale told by those who want to control people. The Jews want to bring about Armageddon so they can escape the miserable life they created on this world and live in some fantasy land forever. LMAO! Death is ‘lights out’ not ‘wake me tomorrow’.

    Well, Mother Nature/physics is going to do it for them and all of us in the not too distant future. Look around, deniers, and prove to me that all is ‘normal’ with the weather and climates. The fast melting glaciers, Arctic ice and permafrost. The ever increasing heating of the planet. The dying oceans. The wild weather these last few years. Not to mention our killing off the ecosystem that gives us life. 2100 or sooner, I think.

  9. Chrome Mags on Mon, 13th May 2019 1:33 am 

    You know it’s getting bad when an article is written to try and write off ideas about extinction, a desperate form of denial. Fact is, there doesn’t have to be an extinction event to have a die off of billions of people along with collapse of the world economy.

    The problem is our species simply could not ease off the accelerator of population increase, resource depletion, deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, species extinction, fish depletion, etc. What can you say, its a greedy species with apparently no ability to restrict itself.

    Here’s a real simple example. If the speed limit is 70 people do 80-90. That in a nutshell tells you everything you need to know about humans, because 70 is plenty fast enough.

  10. Davy on Mon, 13th May 2019 3:39 am 

    “America, a nation of brainwashed sheeple being sheared and about to be slaughtered by TPTB.
    makato, how about a nation that is not. In your case it is a washed out brain of an extremist. You are a one track binary mind of anti-Americanism. People like you have no legitimacy because you preach a personal agenda not observe the world objectively.

    “GO TRUMP! TRUMP IN 2020! Shepherd to the dumbed down flock.”
    Stupid childish play that shows cheerleading instead of intelligent study. Another board fraud like the cloggo

  11. Davy on Mon, 13th May 2019 4:13 am 

    Are there any species that can avoid overshoot if allowed the opportunity? Maybe there is and if there is maybe that is what we should be studying and emulating. So let’s not be so tough on humans. We might be an evolutionary dead end because with hands that can put to work a prefrontal cortex that is a hub for intelligence we can decouple temporarily from a planetary ecosystem. This act of planetary decupling is what is destroying vast systems both organic and inorganic that are in a high degree of harmony.

    Intelligence might be something that is limited by its own ends. It creates its own extinction because it is unable to be limited in a universe that limits all but itself. We humans want to make intelligence into the divine and what is more hilarious into our own image. I don’t think humans can know a divine if there is one like we think we can. Surely it does not look like us. That is the height of hubris. There might be something but it is surely not the simple picture we are painting. Skydaddy shit and the lonely ego worship of an atheist is not it. I imagine it is much more than anything human but humans and intelligence are part of it because duality is not it either. Where has science ever found duality as a basis of the universe yet it is the basis of self-reflecting intelligence at least the human version and that is all we know.

    Our road to extinction is an intelligence problem of limits. Wisdom should limit intelligence. We have plenty of intelligence and these days it is leveraged with computing machines. What we have very little of is wisdom that limits and chooses what intelligence to utilize. Life is about decisions and consequences that negotiate scale. Human intelligence has not figured out scaling. This simple idea appears to me to be a fundamental flaw of human intelligence and possibly a reason for a dead end. Humans are realizing a great experiment in hubris and now it is a deadly planetary one. We even have rich men telling us to leave the planet as if that will solve the problem. LOL. The problem is us not the planet. We will take our problem where ever we go.

    The ancients that talked about the world ending maybe had this insight of hubris and scale. It seems to be an underlying thought to some of the deeper esoteric ideas of the ancients. We see them talk about fascinating cycles that tell us far more than the fastest computers. An all knowing intelligence would be without movement because it would already anticipate the next actions and so forth. That says something about the absolute limits of intelligence maybe. The fundamental basis of modern human intelligence and its view of intelligence is likely flawed. That would be a good starting point for fixing our anxiety about extinction.

  12. Davy on Mon, 13th May 2019 5:39 am 

    “Why One Bank Thinks That Much More Market Pain Will Be Needed To Close Any Trade Deal” zero hedge trade war chart

    “how far apart are the two sides in the negotiations? It is hard to know as both sides were “spinning” that there was steady convergence and now both sides are “spinning” the opposite. This makes sense since they were at first trying to assure the markets and are now trying to play hard ball in getting a better final deal. We still assume the true divide is bridgeable. Third, BofA contemplates the “World War I” scenario, namely could there be an accident where both sides miscalculate and stumble into a protracted war even though it is in neither side’s interest?” For now, BofA’s top economist still sees this as very much a tail risk as the market and political costs will escalate dramatically in a full-blown war that extends to all Chinese products, including many consumer products. Wars are popular during the departure parades, but not when the casualties mount. However, the longer both sides dig in without any material decline in the US stock market, the ultimate arbriter of any Trump decision, the harder it will be to prevent events to take on a deteriorating life of their own. For now, Harris assumes the escalation has a relatively small impact on the medium term outlook, because while it adds to the case for weak capital spending, it does not alter the bank’s global “soft landing” scenario. The risk, of course, is that markets take time to create enough pain and some persistent damage is made to the global economy. The subsequent upside would then be smaller.

    Footnote: tail risk

  13. Davy on Mon, 13th May 2019 5:43 am 

    What I like about good market analysis is its objectivity at least in regards to the content not the intent. Market people are selling something but when they look at the world’s economies and politics they are looking at money making opportunities. This search for profit is the most objective reporting I have found. Greed tries to go beyond ideology and agenda in search of individual profit. This is not always the case and there are different degrees of it but financial people generally talk more objectively about the world because of their money motives. The bad side of this is misinterpretations when objectivity hits subjectivity. Objectively analyzing the subjective of emotions and differing cultures is very tricky.

    This Sino American trade war is big existential danger for the global economy but it is not realized as such yet by the MSM. It goes much deeper than trade and it is the beginning shots of a new cold war that will have much more of an impact than the old USSR cold war did. The Americans are up against a real competitor now not the morally bankrupt USSR. China is the real deal and China has the BM Beijing Moscow. Forget the cloggo PBM nonsense. Russia and China together are the real power. cloggo’s dreams of PBM may end up as a Sino Russo colony. You know a place to go and sip wine, eat cheese, and check out the pretty places for Chinese and Russian soldiers. Just like the Natzis did in the Great War in Paris. LOL.

    This cold economic war might be a new and deadly converging force of decline. In fact likely the nail in the coffin of the global economy with a resulting bifurcation with all the other converging decline variables exploding. If the world could come together mustering resources to fight decline it is possible we could mitigate the worst of the current decline variables. You know these variables climate, resource depletion, net energy decline, ecosystems destruction, economic decline, and the fraying of the social fabric. Now we add in geopolitical clash of empires. The only silver lining to this is the initiation of a crisis that could focus attention. Yet, crisis today with so many converging forces of decline is likely the end. Buckle up and grab the popcorn there will likely not be a happy ending but it will be exciting.

  14. Davy on Mon, 13th May 2019 6:05 am 

    “Visualizing 20 Years Of Quantum Computing Growth” zero hedge

    “Rigetti, a quantum computing startup, is expected to release a 128-qubit computing system at some point in 2019, a major advancement in the quantum arena putting the field one step closer to achieving quantum advantage and supremacy. As Statista’s Sarah Feldman explains, quantum advantage refers to the moment when a quantum computer can compute hundreds or thousands of times faster than a classical computer, while quantum supremacy is achieved once quantum computers are powerful enough to complete calculations that classical supercomputers can’t perform at all.”

    “For the layperson, quantum computing still isn’t a household term. Quantum computing is a fairly new technology, first introduced in 1982. The fundamental difference between the computers and computing systems we interact with daily and quantum computing is the way information is processed on the backend. A traditional computer relies on a binary system, meaning the computer processes information using 0’s and 1’s. A bit is the smallest unit of data in a computer, and all data—the applications that are run, the images that appear—are translated into bits for the computer to understand and process. A qubit takes the idea of a bit of information, which can only exist in one state or another and can only be processed one bit at a time and complicates it by making it two-dimensional. Qubits can be processed simultaneously and exist in multiple states at the same time. That idea is called superposition and it means that qubits can hold a zero, a one, or any combination of both zero and one at the same time, giving them the potential to be exponentially faster and more efficient than binary systems.”

  15. Shortend on Mon, 13th May 2019 6:54 am 

    Ya, we are full of ideas, that are full of shit, like any thought will save us.
    I have an idea, herd a few goats and sheep in the outback hick hillbilly Midwest and blog here 24/7, that will make a difference,
    baaaaa, maaa. daaaavvvvyyyyy

  16. Davy on Mon, 13th May 2019 7:05 am 

    Morning short, how was the tee off yesterday? BTW, what clubhouse cocktail do you prefer? Let me guess…greyhound…in your case salty dog? LOL. Are you in the dog house with the wife and here to kick the dog? Double LOL. Seriously when is the last time you contributed, short on brains? Lots of questions because you are questionable kind of guy. All I see is whining. I will tell you the same thing I tell juanpee, all that matters here is intelligence and neither of you two have any that is actionably at least. You just have wounded pride. ppppuuuusssyyy

  17. Darrell Cloud on Mon, 13th May 2019 8:12 am 

    Look at the population of Rome beginning in 800 BC and continuing through 2000 AD. The graph shows you that population growth is cyclical and in time returns to a base line.

    In each die off, there remains a remnant that begins the process again. The mood of the herd, the zeitgeist, is that we are approaching another tipping point.

    Look to your people, their provisions and their security.

  18. Davy on Mon, 13th May 2019 9:17 am 

    Oops, sorry for losing my shit again everyone.

    Somebody help me please!!!!

  19. JuanP on Mon, 13th May 2019 9:30 am 

    How depressed are you with 1 being asshole and 10 being dumbass.

  20. Davy on Mon, 13th May 2019 9:39 am 

    11. 1 and 10 together.

  21. Dredd on Mon, 13th May 2019 10:16 am 

    There Ugo again.

    Thanks! (Seaports With Sea Level Change – 2).

  22. JuanP on Mon, 13th May 2019 12:25 pm 

    Great that means you are a dumbass asshole. That is a well rounded depression for a Miami Beach surfed bitch.

  23. Cloggie on Tue, 14th May 2019 3:07 am 

    Americans dive 11 km deep and find… plastic:

  24. Charlie Bucket on Wed, 15th May 2019 1:01 pm 

    Quite simply, live life to the fullest because there ain’t much time left! (as I sit in a fucking cubicle!)

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