Showing posts with label evolution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label evolution. Show all posts

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Symbolic Racism: A Look At The Science - 6

This scares white racism sufferers
In this series we have been looking at the science which concerns racial impairment in the United States (see references @ Symbolic Racism: A Look At The Science - 3).

There are many things Americans do not know about their country.

One of those things many of us are ignorant about is the degree of racism.

A new study has been published to focus on how symbolic racism impacts our concept of democracy as well as our concept of our national character.

That study shows how symbolic racism affects one of our fundamental concepts about rights of Americans.

We talk the talk about "the right to vote" in elections, but there are growing concerns about whether or not we walk the walk:
A newly published study conducted by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication reveals that seeing a photograph of African Americans using voting machines affected how white respondents answered a survey question about voter ID laws. White survey respondents who saw this image expressed stronger support for voter ID laws than those who saw no image. Seeing an image of white Americans using voting machines did not affect white respondents’ support.
(Nationwide Study: Racial Images Shape Opinion on Voter ID Laws, PDF). Symbolic racism is animated by subconscious circuits in our brains which have been cultivated there by our culture (Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala, 2, 3, 4).

I recently pointed out how the current epidemic of voter id laws in various states is the result of an infection of fear-based memes (We Got Your Voter Id Fascist Republicans - 2).

It would seem that cultural ignorance (Agnotology: The Surge, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) works like a trance (Comparing a Group-Mind Trance to a Cultural Amygdala) which causes wide spread dementia (Etiology of Social Dementia, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

This is not the way we put an end to inequality and injustice, rather, it is the way we put an end to civilization itself (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4).

The previous post in this series is here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Will Humans Evolve Into Machines? - Revisited

On this date in 2009 I contemplated some of the efforts of the 1% to free themselves from what was to come, then moved it to Ecocosmology Blog (Will Humans Evolve Into Machines?).

It is interesting, as that post points out, that several very wealthy people pay the big bucks to research that question.

Since then the melt of the polar ice caps has doubled (How Fifth Graders Calculate Ice Volume - 5),  so Oil-Qaeda is more nervous now than they were back then.

There is a lot of talk about going to Mars.

Anyway, here is the text from that post:

Tenet 3(f) of Ecocosmology recognizes that if the human species morphs or evolves into a species that does not depend on central stars with habitable planets orbiting them, the need for infinite nomadic travel from solar system to solar system can be avoided.

This blog also questioned the issue of machines in the scheme of evolution in a post Putting a Face on Machine Mutation a while back.

The notion of evolution into machines seems like science fiction, however, some serious and viable scientists think human evolution into machines is the only viable reality for survival of the human species:
In a futuristic mode similar to Hawking, both Steven Dick, chief NASA historian and Carnegie-Mellon robotics pundit, Hans Moravec, believe that human biological evolution is but a passing phase: the future of mankind will be as vastly evolved sentient machines capable of self-replicating and exploring the farthest reaches of the Universe programmed with instructions on how to recreate earth life and humans to target stars.

Dick believes that if there is a flaw in the logic of the Fermi Paradox, and extraterrestrials are a natural outcome of cosmic evolution, then cultural evolution may have resulted in a post-biological universe in which machines are the predominant intelligence.
(Space Colonization). In the post Putting a Face on Machine Mutation linked to above, there is a discussion about machines evolving into biotic organisms many millions of years ago:
"Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial." Professor Lithgow said.
"François Jacob described evolution as a tinkerer, cobbling together proteins of one function to yield more complex machines capable of new functions." Professor Lithgow said.

"Our work describes a perfect example of Jacob's proposition, and shows that Darwin's theory of evolution beautifully explains how molecular machines came to be."
(Science Daily, emphasis added; cf Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 4). But wouldn't reverse evolution from biological human back into machines violate Dollo's law? Isn't reverse evolution illegal? Note:
The Belgian biologist Louis Dollo was the first scientist to ponder reverse evolution. “An organism never returns to its former state,” he declared in 1905, a statement later dubbed Dollo’s law.
(NY Times). Well, that throws a monkey wrench into the equation doesn't it?

Wouldn't you know that some futurists are claiming that only the rich will evolve into machines as a separate species?

Can The First Bank of Reincarnation be far behind?

Noam Chomsky on scientific issues, such as Artificial intelligence, etc. ...

Monday, September 29, 2014

The New Paradigm: The Physical Universe Is Mostly Machine - 2

DNA is not biological
This series has been pointing out that the DNA, pictured in the graphic to the left, is the same as the DNA in you or me, viruses, and everything else that contains DNA.

That is, DNA is not alive, it is a molecular machine.

The same goes for RNA, it too is a molecular machine, as was pointed out in the first post of this series  (The New Paradigm: The Physical Universe Is Mostly Machine).

Why that would seem strange to us is revealing, in the sense that we tend not to know where we are or who we are (You Are Here).

Nevertheless, this knowledge of the basic cosmic nature is quite a normal concept, since carbon based life is said to have evolved very recently (by comparison to ancient stars) in our section of the universe, so, what is not a normal concept is our misunderstanding of the nature of RNA and DNA.

Why we deny the logical deduction, under the deductive reasoning compelled by Big Bang Cosmology, that abiotic machines evolved long before biotic organisms evolved.

Then those molecular machines morphed, mutated, or whatever evolutionary term you choose, into biotic organisms:
(see also The Uncertain Gene, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has pointed out this conundrum several times, and that the reason for it boils down to faith and trust rather than boiling down to knowledge (The Pillars of Knowledge: Faith and Trust?).

A new paper is getting around to discussing the dynamics of how machines became organisms:
Because RNA can be a carrier of genetic information and a biocatalyst, there is a consensus that it emerged before DNA and proteins, which eventually assumed these roles and relegated RNA to intermediate functions. If such a scenario—the so-called RNA world—existed, we might hope to find its relics in our present world. The properties of viroids that make them candidates for being survivors of the RNA world include those expected for primitive RNA replicons: (a) small size imposed by error-prone replication, (b) high G + C content to increase replication fidelity, (c) circular structure for assuring complete replication without genomic tags, (d) structural periodicity for modular assembly into enlarged genomes, (e) lack of protein-coding ability consistent with a ribosome-free habitat, and (f) replication mediated in some by ribozymes, the fingerprint of the RNA world. With the advent of DNA and proteins, those protoviroids lost some abilities and became the plant parasites we now know.
(Viroids: Survivors from the RNA World?, emphasis added). If the scientific jargon sometimes is not as pleasing to you as the layman's jargon, read about it in this piece:
New research suggests that [viroids already] existed at the earliest stages of life on Earth, enduring in their primitive state for billions of years. These are the pterodactyls of the microbial world — except that they are still very much with us. We just didn’t realize it.
Machinelike Bacteriophage T4
And [viroids] contain RNA, a single-stranded molecule similar to DNA. Among many other jobs, RNA carries the information for building proteins from a cell’s genes to its protein factories.

Many scientists have argued that before this kind of life emerged, life was based solely on RNA. RNA can store genetic information, but scientists have discovered that some RNA molecules also carry out chemical reactions. In other words, this single molecule might have been able to handle all the basic tasks required for life. Only later did DNA and proteins evolve.

At first, the proponents of the so-called RNA-world theory assumed that RNA-based life had become extinct long ago, driven to extinction with the arrival of superior DNA-based life. Researchers have relied only on indirect hints to infer what RNA-based life was like.

But in the current issue of Annual Reviews of Microbiology, a team of Spanish scientists argues that these primitive life forms share the planet with us today. “Viroids are probably relics of the RNA world,” said Santiago F. Elena, an evolutionary biologist at Spain’s National Research Council in València.
(NY Times, emphasis added). What makes the logic here more compelling is that scientists have struggled with the question "Are viruses alive?" for many, many years:
When is a life form not a life form? When it's a virus.

Viruses are strange things that straddle the fence between living and non-living. On the one hand, if they're floating around in the air or sitting on a doorknob, they're inert. They're about as alive as a rock. But if they come into contact with a suitable plant, animal or bacterial cell, they spring into action. They infect and take over the cell like pirates hijacking a ship.
Viruses are a curious lot. The standard drawing of the tree of life, the one you find on the inside back cover of biology textbooks, is divided into three branches: Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya. Viruses don’t make it onto the page.

That makes sense, some scientists argue, because they’re not alive. They can’t reproduce on their own; they require the cozy environment of living cells for their survival. Others disagree. Not only are viruses alive, they say, but genetic evidence indicates that they may have been the first forms of life on Earth, predating cellular life.
(Are Toxins of Power Machines or Organisms?). Viroids are all the more suspect as not being alive compared to viruses.

Something had to jump the gap from abiotic molecular machine to biotic organism, so RNA viruses and viroids are prime suspects.

Yes, "the plot thickeneth" as we begin to notice the most prolific dynamic on Earth - microbes, viruses, and virus-like entities.

Science and Religion ... gotta luv 'em.

The previous post in this series is here.

We are the Bored of Education ...

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Peak of Sanity - 9

Denial Castle high on the Hill
One of the dynamics of our mind which we can observe in action from time to time is the "defense mechanism" we call "denial."

Probably one of the strangest aspects of sanity and insanity is that there are times when insanity is the more comfortable state of mind.

We embrace sanity because we think it is more comfortable, but we embrace insanity for the same reason - a type of mental "comfort."

This is readily apparent when we delve into the dynamics of denial, a known dynamic of the part of cognition that we call "dementia" even though it is a daily phenomenon in our lives:
I denied climate change for longer than I care to admit. I knew it was happening, sure. But I stayed pretty hazy on the details and only skimmed most news stories. I told myself the science was too complicated and the environmentalists were dealing with it. And I continued to behave as if there was nothing wrong with the shiny card in my wallet attesting to my "elite" frequent-flyer status.

A great many of us engage in this kind of denial. We look for a split second and then we look away. Or maybe we do really look, but then we forget. We engage in this odd form of on-again-off-again ecological amnesia for perfectly rational reasons. We deny because we fear that letting in the full reality of this crisis will change everything.

And we are right. If we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, major cities will drown, ancient cultures will be swallowed by the seas; our children will spend much of their lives fleeing and recovering from vicious storms and extreme droughts. Yet we continue all the same.
(Naomi Klein - Denial, emphasis added). This mixes the activity of individuals in with the activity of society  or civilization.

In some ways civilization does have some characteristics of individuals. especially when we take a famous historian's observation into consideration:
"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown."
(Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, quoting Toynbee, emphasis added). Suicide and murder are prevalent in our society, so, both individuals and society face those threats.

This Dredd Blog series has dealt with those twin threats to current civilization, in the sense of the threat of nuclear war ("War Is Madness" - Pope Francis) and the threats due to the damaged global climate system.

We examined how we got to where we are as well (see e.g. Agnotology: The Surge, The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science).

When a society "gets something in its head" it tends to stubbornly refuse to entertain facts that conflict with that belief:
In spite of the experimental evidence of infant pain, the psychological and medical communities were slow to accept and integrate these findings into daily practices and protocols--mainly because of the earlier dogma that the immaturity of the brain made it impossible for babies to experience, comprehend, or remember pain.
Hospitalized newborns, from premies of 26 weeks upward, have routinely faced surgery without benefit of pain-killing anesthetics. Although surgery without anesthetic was standard practice for a century, it was unknown to the general public until 1985 when a few parents discovered their seriously ill premature babies had suffered through major surgery with no anesthetic. Instead of anesthetic, the babies had typically been given a form of curare to paralyze their muscles for surgery, making it impossible for them to lift a finger or make a sound in protest!
(Infant Pain, Birth Psychology). Our innocent little ones suffer because of our denialism, then they tend to grow up and do the same.

The irony is that denial is perceived as a "defense" mechanism too:
Denial is probably one of the best known defense mechanisms, used often to describe situations in which people seem unable to face reality or admit an obvious truth (i.e. "He's in denial."). Denial is an outright refusal to admit or recognize that something has occurred or is currently occurring. Drug addicts or alcoholics often deny that they have a problem, while victims of traumatic events may deny that the event ever occurred.

Denial functions to protect the ego from things that the individual cannot cope with. While this may save us from anxiety or pain, denial also requires a substantial investment of energy. Because of this, other defenses are also used to keep these unacceptable feelings from consciousness.
(Psychology, About Denial, emphasis added). At the fundamental levels of cognition in our subconscious, fear of death sponsors episodes of denial:
Humankind has, since time immemorial, struggled with the awareness and fear of mortality. Cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, building upon—and synthesizing—the work of psychiatrists and psychologists, existential philosophers and others, conceives a pervasive self-protective system at the core of human behavior generated by individuals to buffer themselves against the terror of death. Much of personal and social behavior in this context is an attempt symbolically to validate human worth and meaning, notwithstanding the ephemeral nature of human existence. Indeed, death anxiety is conceived as a prime mover of humankind.
(Psychology of Denial, emphasis added). The history of civilization or society that Toynbee pointed out, is the observation that human society most often commits suicide.

That is, any society or culture is far, far less likely to be murdered by another culture (e.g. by war) than it is to commit suicide.

It seems to me, then, that denial is not the "defense" it is cracked up to be.

So, there is an opportunity to find better way of looking at the real problems which both individuals and civilizations face, or there isn't.

The previous post in this series is here.

Bill Moyers on one prominent source of denial:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Symbolic Racism: A Look At The Science - 5

"We have a warrant for your freedom."
The Ferguson, MO killing of Mike Brown by officer Darren Wilson, and the subsequent advent of the warrior cops has surprised a lot of Americans.

It has raised a lot of eyebrows around the world too (#Twitter).

Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has been watching the rise of the warrior cops for years (Will The Military Become The Police?, 2, 3, 4, 5), and regular readers also know that this series was dealing with the issue well before the Ferguson injustices were exposed (Symbolic Racism: A Look At The Science).

Further, regular readers also know that Dredd Blog ties these decadent dynamics into a coup of American culture (A Tale of Coup Cities, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).

A coup that the world can see, whether Americans want to or not.

This is in accord with the historical norm that all societies, so far, either committed suicide (the vast majority), or have been murdered (The Deceit Business - 3).

The seemingly incoherent developments in Ferguson show that racism is seething below the surface, and simmering there in the frying pan of incoherent hatred.

Wrong-wing white Americans have not been shown the way to eradicate racism via reasoned enlightenment, so they have chosen to try to deny it by deceiving themselves that it does not exist.
"Gawd bless Amurka."

This is easier for them when much of that right-wing culture denies science, embraces fundamental ignorance, and is not aware of or not fond of what human rights are really about.

The W Direction, which too many Americans have taken, eventually guarantees the loss of all freedoms for the great majority, which we call the 99%.

It is also guaranteeing the "freedom to oppress" for a deceived minority that we call the 1%, a culture that is diametrically opposed to the common good.

What I am saying is that "freedom" is becoming synonymous with "no accountability" (impunity and immunity from justice).

Racism, warmongering, oppression, and self-serving have always been in the cultural amygdala of the 1% (those whose ancestors sat there celebrating rather than mourning when slavery was sprinkled with holy water in the original primitive constitution).

The previous post in this series is here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 11

RNA is not alive.
Today we take a look at the evolution of "abiotic communication" or "abiotic signalling."

Microbial communication is a primary discovery of Microbiology (Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 35).

It is also a concern of the scientific discipline which I envision as "Abiology or Micro-Abiology" (Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 27).

More specifically, today's post concerns evolutionary Abiology, a.k.a. "abiotic evolution" (ibid) via abiotic signalling.

Another valid way of describing evolutionary Abiology would be "the evolution of quanta into atoms, then atoms into molecules of various and sundry shapes and sizes" (ibid).

Previously in this series (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) the Big Bang cosmological model was shown to theorize that molecules are a foundation of very diverse and complicated evolutionary developments:
Molecule, the smallest identifiable unit into which a pure substance can be divided and still retain the composition and chemical properties of that substance ... from a structural point of view, a molecule may consist of a single atom, as in a molecule of a noble gas such as helium (He), or it may consist of an aggregation of atoms held together by valence forces.
(Encyclopedia Britannica, "Molecules", emphasis added). RNA and DNA are complex molecules that are not alive, rather, they are structures composed of different atoms bound together to form a unique entity.
DNA is not alive.

In previous posts in this series we started with the premise that RNA preceded the more complex DNA:
Most biologists now agree that the very first replicating molecules consisted of RNA, not DNA.
(Nature Education 3(9):37, "The Origins of Viruses"). Then let's also isolate and focus on the very next sentence in that paper:
We also know that some RNA molecules, ribozymes, exhibit enzymatic properties; they can catalyze chemical reactions.
(ibid, emphasis added). RNA is of three types: Messenger (mRNA), Transfer (tRNA), and Ribosomal (rRNA).

Like a copy machine or a 3-D printer machine that is not alive, the rRNA molecule is instrumental in replication functions (Encyclopedia Britannica, "Ribosomal RNA").

In previous posts in this series I also reflected on the hypothesis that RNA viruses of an ancient RNA type (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 2) were the first self-replicating abiotic entities (cf. RNA World).

I think that abiotic signalling, messaging, or communication would have had to be in existence prior to the functional evolution of such ancient molecular machines into more complex molecular machines (such as current DNA, RNA, and ribosomes).

I brought up the notion of a primitive macro-level "robosome" as the cosmic copy machine at the macro level of solar systems (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 6).

In addition to that, a primitive, prototype microcosm, a primitive rRNA robozyme, is a further necessary hypothetical entity, but one that would require almost instant signalling (ibid).

That entity would be able to work via a form of electromagnetic signalling, which is no longer considered science fiction:
It is well accepted that all objects, whether living or nonliving, are continuously generating electromagnetic fields (EMFs) due to the thermal agitation of their particles that possess charges. Interest in EMFs as alternative forms of cell-to-cell communication can be traced back to at least the second decade of the 20th century. Interactions between EMFs and biosystems have been intensively studied for over a century and a quantitative understanding of many interaction mechanisms exists, There is much evidence that biological processes can be induced or modulated by induction of light of characteristic frequencies.

Recently, distant interactions between mammalian cells through EMF coupling have been shown. Distant (non-chemical) interaction in biosystems is not limited to interactions at the cellular level. Biosystem interaction has been reported at the level of plants, insects and other biosystems.

In 1997 Cosic proposed that there is a resonant interaction between macromolecules that plays an essential role in their bioactivity. The key point of Cosic's finding is the assignment of specific spectral electromagnetic (EM) characteristics of proteins to their specific biological function. Proteins with common biological functionality are known to share one significant peak, called the Consensus Frequency, which is acknowledged to represent the region responsible for the biological functionality. Bio-molecules with the same biological characteristics recognize and bio-attach to themselves when their valence electrons oscillate and then reverberate in an electromagnetic field. Protein interactions can be considered as resonant energy transfer between the interacting molecules. In simple words each protein and biomolecule has its fingerprint electromagnetic characteristics that can be used for its identification. In living systems long-range electromagnetic fields exchange messages across a distance because of matching emissions and absorption spectra. Non-resonating, unwanted random signals are excluded simply because they do not resonate.
(HCV Electromagnetic Signalling, emphasis added; cf. this). Remember that electromagnetism, electromagnetic fields, and electromagnetic radiation are abiotic dynamics (not biotic, not alive).

For example, electromagnetic radiation in the form of light is not alive, it is composed of quanta of light which we call "photons."

Electromagnetic communication between and among bacteria is also known to take place:
The chemical mode of communication [between and among microbes] is the best studied of all. Nevertheless, bacteria also use electromagnetic signals as part of sophisticated signalling [systems] that function over distances that are substantially larger than cellular dimensions (which are the order of one to a few micrometers). The following descriptions focus mainly on the investigations in the area of electromagnetically mediated communication of microorganisms.
"Dude, microbes use wireless?"

Research into the electromagnetically mediated communication of microbes started immediately after the discovery of mitogenetic radiation (MR) by Alexander Gurvitch in the 1920s. His observation stimulated early research, which led to over 500 publications on the ability of information exchange by means of electromagnetic fields between micro-organisms.
(Electromagnet Fields - Bacteria, PDF, emphasis added). Research needs to be conducted into the possible use of electromagnetic signalling (wireless) by the hypothetical primitive RNA virus entities (a possible origin is proton tunnelling ... see The Uncertain Gene).

In the RNA World + Virus First concept, prototypical RNA viruses are believed to have preceded single celled biological organisms.

Eventually the primitive RNA virus would have to evolve signalling, messaging, and communication of more focused sorts (coordinated genetic assembly & replication ... see Ancient RNA and Virus World, PDF).

More complex signalling, messaging, and communication could lead to primitive DNA, and then more advanced viruses.

Carbon-based organisms that developed later could then evolve more advanced genetic dynamics.

The previous post in this series is here.

Friday, August 8, 2014

On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 10

The DNA molecule is NOT alive.
In this series we contemplate the spectre of viruses being the first carbon based life forms to evolve billions of years after molecular machines had already evolved.

People have a difficult time wondering about how machines could evolve.

Which is not logical because machines are not as complex as organic life forms are.

If evolution proceeds from non-life to life, from simple to complex, then it should be obvious that machines composed of atomic parts, which later became molecules, would have to evolve first.

Those controversial issues have been discussed in the previous posts in this series as well as the following complimentary series (The Uncertain Gene, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) and (Putting A Face On Machine Mutation, 2, 3, 4).

Those issues were also writ large in the posts (The New Paradigm: The Physical Universe Is Mostly Machine, Autopoiesis: It's Not Just For Machines Anymore).

With that background in mind, let's consider a recent paper:
The MSU-led research provides the first detailed blueprint of a multi-subunit "molecular machinery" that bacteria use to detect and destroy invading viruses.

"We generally think of bacteria as making us sick, but rarely do we consider what happens when the bacteria themselves get sick. Viruses that infect bacteria are the most abundant biological agents on the planet, outnumbering their bacterial hosts 10 to 1," said Blake Wiedenheft, senior author of the paper and assistant professor in MSU's Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

"Bacteria have evolved sophisticated immune systems to fend off viruses. We now have a precise molecular blueprint of a surveillance machine that is critical for viral defense," Wiedenheft said.
Abiotic Came 1st
"This surveillance machine consists of 12 different parts and each part of the machine has a distinct job. If we're missing one part of the machine, it doesn't work."

Understanding how these machines work is leading to unanticipated new innovations in medicine and biotechnology and agriculture. These CRISPR-associated machines are programmable nucleases (molecular scissors) that are now being exploited for precisely altering the DNA sequence of almost any cell type of interest.

"In nature, these immune systems evolved to protect bacteria from viruses, but we are now repurposing these systems to cut viral DNA out of human cells infected with HIV. You can think of this as a form of DNA surgery. Therapies that were unimaginable may be possible in the future," Wiedenheft said.
(Molecular Machine Dynamics Identified, emphasis added). In other words, this is not science fiction, rather, it is applied science now.

The microbial world has molecular machine tools at its disposal which are used to do phenomenal brain surgery:
"... this is a protozoan parasite that knows more about the neurobiology of anxiety and fear than 25,000 neuroscientists standing on each other's shoulders ..."
(Hypothesis: Microbes Generate Toxins of Power - 6, quoting Dr. Sapolsky). In future posts we will look at genetic tools of viruses.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On The Origin of The Bully Religion - 4

Evolution from left to right wrong
The wrong-wing Israeli government has learned its bully ways from Western Culture's imperialistic ideology.

The now-murderous regime has learned the bully religion well horribly (Origin of the Classic Nuclear Bully, 2).

In recent times this schooling comes primarily from the high priests of U.S. military doctrine (The Dogma of The High Priest In Chief, 2, 3); a military doctrine that teaches, in The War College (The Intellectual War Monger, 2), that war is an art (Is War An Art or Is War A Disease?, 2), and even better worse, that war is a religion (Bully Worship: The Universal Religion, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Western Civilization's behavior in the mid-east over the past century of oil wars chronicles what happens when psychopathic cultures have children who then form gangs to protect turf, flash gang-signs, and amass weapons of mass destruction (The Peak Of The Oil Wars - 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1).
Gaza is a Prison. Children there are being Bombed.

While talking about peace.

The old religious adage of "an eye for an eye" has become "a thousand eyes for an eye" as Israeli foreign policy morphs from sociopathic to psychopathic, yes, as one murder morphs into a thousand murders.

As women and children become enemies, therefore soldiers, then corpses (NBC, Al Jazeera America).

Meanwhile, the war whores (The War Whores Ride The War Horse) are calling for a more sexy form of mayhem while the prestitutes (In the Fog of The Presstitutes, 2, 3) clamour for more blood and guts so their very low ratings in the polls can improve.

Meanwhile, civilization is on suicide watch (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2), and the doomsday clock increasingly has a bias towards lights out (Doomsday Clock).

The previous post in this series is here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Interesting Science Subjects

Supernova 1987-A
It is Friday, again, so I am sharing some links to various and sundry scientific subjects today.

Over the years the Dredd Blog System has featured posts on a variety of scientific subjects.

Typically I try to keep up with new subject matter as the new subject develops.

In the past few years, and in this the 21st Century, a virtual revolution is taking place in genetics and microbiology, including viruses.

And I do mean a revolution in understanding based on discoveries in and out of the labs.


For example:
"The theory of evolution was first proposed based on visual observations of animals and plants. Then, in the latter half of the 19th century, the invention of the modern optical microscope helped scientists begin to systematically explore the vast world of previously invisible organisms, dubbed “microbes” by the late, great Louis Pasteur, and led to a rethinking of the classification of living things.

In the mid-1970s, based on the analysis of the ribosomal genes of these organisms, Carl Woese and others proposed a classification that divided living organisms into three domains: eukaryotes, bacteria, and archaea ... Even though viruses were by that time visible using electron microscopes, they were left off the tree of life because they did not possess the ribosomal genes typically used in phylogenetic analyses. And viruses are still largely considered to be nonliving biomolecules —a characterization spurred, in part, by the work of 1946 Nobel laureate Wendell Meredith Stanley, who in 1935 succeeded in crystallizing the tobacco mosaic virus. Even after crystallization, the virus maintained its biological properties, such as its ability to infect cells, suggesting to Stanley that the virus could not be truly alive.
Now, with the advent of whole-genome sequencing, researchers are beginning to realize that most organisms are in fact chimeras containing genes from many different sources—eukaryotic, prokaryotic, and viral alike—leading us to rethink evolution, especially the extent of gene flow between the visible and microscopic worlds. Genomic analysis has, for example, suggested that eukaryotes are the result of ancient interactions between bacteria and archaea. In this context, viruses are becoming more widely recognized as shuttles of genetic material, with metagenomic studies suggesting that the billions of viruses on Earth harbor more genetic information than the rest of the living world combined.

Viruses may be little more than a ball of genetic material with a single functional goal of transmitting pure information in the form of DNA or RNA, but researchers are finding more and more evidence that viruses freely share their genes among diverse ecosystems, making viruses a powerful and large genetic reservoir that challenges how we think about all biological life.1 As pure biological language, however, viruses are inherently difficult to understand." - (Viruses Reconsidered).
"For more than 130 years, since the first inkling that viruses existed, these submicroscopic entities have continued to occupy a sort of netherworld in both the scientific community and the public consciousness.

What is clear, however, is phages’ vital role in human and environmental health, and many laboratories across the globe are looking to uncover how bacteriophages interact with their bacterial hosts to affect the Earth’s ecosystems. Found in virtually every biome on the planet, from coral reefs to the mucus layers of many animals, bacteriophages are the most ubiquitous “organisms” on Earth. We encounter billions of phages daily in what we breathe, eat, drink, and bathe in—shedding an equally large number as we live our lives. Phages powerfully affect genetic change in soils, vegetation, and oceans, regulating nutrient cycling, evolution, and even climate change on a global scale." - (Going Viral).
(emphasis added). If that doesn't generate some curiosity, let's review:
There are an estimated 1031 viruses on Earth. That is to say: there may be a hundred million times more viruses on Earth than there are stars in the universe. The majority of these viruses infect microbes, including bacteria, archaea, and microeukaryotes, all of which are vital players in the global fixation and cycling of key elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. These two facts combined—the sheer number of viruses and their intimate relationship with microbial life—suggest that viruses, too, play a critical role in the planet’s biosphere.
(Ocean of Viruses, emphasis added). You can look at the Series Posts tab and find a "series" posts (more than one post, linked together, covering a subject).

An example series is On The Origin of the Genes of Viruses (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).

RNA World 2.0

A subject that is linked to viruses is the ongoing hypothesis about RNA, especially "RNA viruses."

One specific question is whether they were the first entities to replicate:
The ubiquity and diverse functionality of ribonucleic acid (RNA) in today’s world suggest that the information polymer could well have been the leading player early on in the establishment of life on Earth, and, in theory, it’s a logical basis for primitive life. One can readily imagine that RNA, as a catalytic molecule capable of serving as a template for its own replication, might have reproduced itself and grown exponentially in the primordial environment. Perhaps such an RNA-based proto–life-form even replicated with an appropriate level of fidelity to allow natural selection to begin directing its evolution.
(RNA World 2.0, emphasis added). That research goes on as more and more lab work is done wherein RNA pieces and parts are built synthetically, and as more and more small pictures fit together to begin to make a larger picture possible (Let There Be Life, The Scientist).

Cellular Shape Shifters

It was thought for a long time that once a cell type formed it would stay that type for the duration, however, new understanding is developing in this arena:
For many years, researchers believed that mature cell types, stable as they were, could not be changed into different types of cells. In recent years, however, the engineered overexpression of specific transcription factors has yielded many dramatic transformations previously not thought possible—including the regression of adult fibroblasts to stem cell–like states and the direct conversion of mature skin cells to neurons.

Some cells are now even known to switch type during normal development. The epithelial lining of the esophagus, for example, is formed as a columnar epithelium, like the rest of the gut tube. Only later does it transform into a stratified squamous epithelium resembling that of the skin. Pancreatic endocrine cells are also seen occasionally popping up in the bile ducts of the liver. This change occurs in late embryogenesis and involves a switch from a ductal to an endocrine cell type.
(A Twist of Fate, emphasis added). The list of new discoveries in the realm of Microbiology continues to fascinate year after year.

On Science & Religion

Polls show that substantial numbers of Americans do not believe Evolution, rather, they have or lean toward Creationist beliefs:
More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades. Half of Americans believe humans evolved, with the majority of these saying God guided the evolutionary process. However, the percentage who say God was not involved is rising.
(Gallup). The further back in time we go alters the percentages, to the point that at one time, it was probably more ok that it is now for scientists to contemplate such matters:
It would not be difficult to come to an agreement as to what we understand by science. Science is the century-old endeavor to bring together by means of systematic thought the perceptible phenomena of this world into as thoroughgoing an association as possible. To put it boldly, it is the attempt at the posterior reconstruction of existence by the process of conceptualization. But when asking myself what religion is I cannot think of the answer so easily. And even after finding an answer which may satisfy me at this particular moment, I still remain convinced that I can never under any circumstances bring together, even to a slight extent, the thoughts of all those who have given this question serious consideration.

At first, then, instead of asking what religion is I should prefer to ask what characterizes the aspirations of a person who gives me the impression of being religious: a person who is religiously enlightened appears to me to be one who has, to the best of his ability, liberated himself from the fetters of his selfish desires and is preoccupied with thoughts, feelings, and aspirations to which he clings because of their superpersonalvalue. It seems to me that what is important is the force of this superpersonal content and the depth of the conviction concerning its overpowering meaningfulness, regardless of whether any attempt is made to unite this content with a divine Being, for otherwise it would not be possible to count Buddha and Spinoza as religious personalities. Accordingly, a religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt of the significance and loftiness of those superpersonal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation.
(Einstein on God, "Religion, and Science", 1941). The subjects where religion and science have comparable viewpoints also makes for interesting reading (Message of Science & Religion - Western).

Have a very good weekend whatever your persuasion.

Mykonos by Fleet Foxes (lyrics here):

Friday, June 20, 2014

Autopoiesis: It's Not Just For Machines Anymore

SN-1987-A: Autopoiesis at work?
It is Friday, so let's do a weekend rebel science excursion just for the fun of it.

In today's post I want to once again bring up and then focus on aspects of denial which can be rife within the scientific development of the theory of evolution.

A denial that remains, and is perhaps even stronger in American science today than it has been at other times of great scientific discoveries in the past.

Like I have indicated in an earlier post, that would be the subject of the denial of the need for the discipline I call Abiology:
The subtitle of today's post could be "The Abiology Rebellion."
(Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 27). But more than that, let's do so using the subject referred to in the title, the subject of autopoiesis.

Like "Abiology" the word "autopoiesis" is not in some dictionaries yet, but both words should be in all dictionaries:
"Autopoiesis" (from Greek αὐτo- (auto-), meaning "self", and ποίησις (poiesis), meaning "creation, production") refers to a system capable of reproducing and maintaining itself. The term was introduced in 1972 by Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela to define the self-maintaining chemistry of living cells.
(Wikipedia, links removed, emphasis added). Notice that biologists formed that word with the myopic application based only to their discipline ("chemistry of living cells").

I have criticized narrow, myopic types of nomenclature in some Dredd Blog series (e.g. The Uncertain Gene - 8, Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3) as well as some non-series posts (e.g. Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?).

The gist of this weekend rebellion is that evolutionists tend to apply nomenclature in such narrow ways that the nomenclature becomes incoherent to a broader interdisciplinary base:
The modern synthesis solved difficulties and confusions caused by the specialisation and poor communication between biologists in the early years of the 20th century.
(On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 3, quoting Wikipedia: "Modern Evolutionary Synthesis", emphasis added). That type of myopic distortion has happened with the word "autopoiesis" too.

So, today we will apply it to the broad, long term time frame concept of abiotic evolution rather than pigeon holing it within the much shorter time frame of biotic evolution.

If you think about it, the Big Bang Theory is a description of spontaneous autopoiesis, because that cosmological, abiotic theory describes an abiotic, non-living, pre-carbon-based-life system-generating-event.

An event that is said to have resulted in a universe which has powers of replication (see e.g. the series On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses, especially On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 6).

Remember that a lot of current abiotic science was not known when Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela coined the word "autopoiesis."

Furthermore, it was not known then that abiotic molecular machines generated many of the dynamics which they were observing.

They thought that the phenomena being observed were totally biotic or biological dynamics.

A new paradigm exists for understanding how cells function. Scientists are recognizing that the cell is a highly integrated biological factory with a modular architecture. Each modular unit acts as a molecular machine. These machines have highly specialized functions and are large assemblies of proteins and nucleic acids. They range in size from about 10 - 150 nanometers (10-9 m) and provide environments in which chemical species can interact in a highly specific fashion. Molecular machines also function as mechano-chemical energy transducers, converting chemical free energy into mechanical energy for cellular processes. They operate cyclically, and can reset themselves.

With the genetic information gained from the U.S. Human Genome Project and DOE's Microbial Genome Program, scientists now have the raw information with which to observe, manipulate, characterize and, ultimately, replicate these large protein assemblies. Using conventional and newly developed microscopy techniques, PBD researchers, through an initiative called Microscopies of Molecular Machines (M3), are creating a toolkit for probing the inner workings of these molecular machines.
(The New Paradigm: The Physical Universe Is Mostly Machine). Thus, much of what they saw as being purely biological functioning in cells was actually machine or abiotic autopoiesis, not biological or biotic autopoiesis.

This is also true for genetic dynamics (DNA is not alive, not biotic, it is abiotic) taking place within cells too:
"We took this approach because so many RNAs are rapidly destroyed soon after they are made, and this makes them hard to detect," Pugh said. "So rather than look for the RNA product of transcription we looked for the 'initiation machine' that makes the RNA. This machine assembles RNA polymerase, which goes on to make RNA, which goes on to make a protein." Pugh added that he and Venters were stunned to find 160,000 of these "initiation machines," because humans only have about 30,000 genes. "This finding is even more remarkable, given that fewer than 10,000 of these machines actually were found right at the site of genes. Since most genes are turned off in cells, it is understandable why they are typically devoid of the initiation machinery."

The remaining 150,000 initiation machines -- those Pugh and Venters did not find right at genes -- remained somewhat mysterious. "These initiation machines that were not associated with genes were clearly active since they were making RNA and aligned with fragments of RNA discovered by other scientists," Pugh said. "In the early days, these fragments of RNA were generally dismissed as irrelevant ["junk"] since they did not code for proteins." Pugh added that it was easy to dismiss these fragments because they lacked a feature called polyadenylation -- a long string of genetic material, adenosine bases -- that protect the RNA from being destroyed. Pugh and Venters further validated their surprising findings by determining that these non-coding initiation machines recognized the same DNA sequences as the ones at coding genes, indicating that they have a specific origin and that their production is regulated, just like it is at coding genes.
(The Uncertain Gene - 8). When geneticists and microbiologists look inward they see evidence of autopoiesis in the micro-universe of microbes.

Likewise, V. G. Gurzadyan and Roger Penrose are advancing a kind of a never ending autopoiesis hypothesis called "conformal cyclic cosmology" (CCC) in the macro-universe of the cosmos:
According to conformal cyclic cosmology (CCC) ... what would normally be regarded as a probable entire history of our universe, starting with its Big Bang and ending with its accelerating de Sitter-like expansion (assuming a positive cosmological constant Λ ...), is taken to be but one aeon in a (perhaps unending) succession of such aeons, where the conformal 3-surface B representing the big bang of each aeon is regarded as the conformal continuation of the remote future (i.e. conformal infinity I ...) of the previous one. CCC takes there to be no inflationary phase in any aeon, the observational support that inflation enjoys being supposed to be equally supported by the existence of the final exponential expansion occurring in the previous aeon ...
(Concentric circles in WMAP data may provide evidence of violent pre-Big-Bang activity, cf. Phys Org). Their paper argues that the Big Bang is perhaps a regular intermittent event that takes place between aeons in a CCC.

A follow-up to their paper which address some criticism of their first paper: (On CCC-predicted concentric low-variance circles in the CMB sky).

Their hypothesis is somewhat akin to the old Oscillating Universe (the ultimate abiotic autopoiesis) hypothesis.

I now return you back to your regularly scheduled borgosphere programming.

Have a good weekend!

The Borgosphere ...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Peak of Sanity - 8

In the previous post of this series I talked about how the captains of industry and government knew exactly, and said so in 1957, what would happen if they did not go on one of those "go to the moon this decade" campaigns like JFK did.

A campaign to use the surplus dirty energy to build renewable, clean energy industries in preparation for the inevitable peak oil production that was predicted to impact civilization in the most dramatic way, yes, the impact described by leading figures as the collapse of current civilization.

Let's revisit the list of things that were known for sure and even expressed in writing in 1957:
1) ... "let me review ... the role of energy resources in the rise and fall of civilizations."

2) ... "Possession of surplus energy is, of course, a requisite for any kind of civilization" ...

3) ... "Surplus energy provides the material foundation for civilized living" ...

4) ... "What assurance do we then have that our energy needs will continue to be supplied by fossil fuels: The answer is - in the long run - none."

5) ... "Fossil fuels are not renewable ... Fuel that has been burned is gone forever."

6) ... "In the face of the basic fact that fossil fuel reserves are finite, the exact length of time these reserves will last is important in only one respect: the longer they last, the more time do we have, to invent ways of living off renewable or substitute energy sources and to adjust our economy to the vast changes which we can expect from such a shift."

7) ... "A selfish and irresponsible parent will squander it in riotous living and care not one whit how his offspring will fare."
(The Peak of Sanity - 7, emphasis in original). Yes, in 1957, almost six decades ago, those comments were made by a well-known scientist, Navy Admiral, and government official who had a navy vessel named after him (Adm. H. G. Rickover).

Nevertheless, we all seem to have blind spots, including Rickover, who made a huge mistake by his advocacy for weapons grade nuclear reactors instead of realizing the benefits of the thorium reactor --in terms of environmental problems (Thorium Reactors).

Clearly, the ramifications of being addicted to fossil fuels was understood long ago, but was global warming one of those ramifications?

It was well known by that time:
07:09 - Tyndall in mid 1800's began research into [greenhouse gases].
07:45 - Arrhenius did first degree calculations re: CO2 content.
08:25 - Callendar discovered [greenhouse gas] increases in 1930's.
09:02 - Hulburt accord in 1930's.
09:43 - Depression / war stopped GG research.
10:00 - Gilbert N. Plass developed CO2 atmospheric calculations.
10:49 - Suess & Revelle do paper in 1957 warning of GW dangers.
12:30 - Dr. Revelle warned of polar ice cap melt in TIME interview.
(The Exceptional American Denial, video index, emphasis added). So I presume that Admiral Rickover, along with the other captains of industry and government, were all aware sixty years ago of those additional dangers involved with the addiction of civilization to fossil fuels.

So, we measure sanity by what we know is right, what we must do to preserve our lives, and what we then do about it.

In this series Dredd Blog is arguing that the captains of industry and government of our culture are psychopathic, because they knew what they were doing was wrong, even that it was suicidal for civilization, yet continued down that deadly path anyway:
The psychopath is callous, yet charming. He or she will con and manipulate others with charisma and intimidation and can effectively mimic feelings to present as “normal” to society. The psychopath is organized in their criminal thinking and behavior, and can maintain good emotional and physical control, displaying little to no emotional or autonomic arousal, even under situations that most would find threatening or horrifying. The psychopath is keenly aware that what he or she is doing is wrong, but does not care.
(The Peak of Sanity - 5, emphasis added). What makes the behavior of the captains of industry and government criminal is that their psychopathy can be mastered and controlled.

The video presentation at the bottom of this post, featuring Dr. James Fallon, illustrates that point.

Psychopaths have brought us to where we are, at the brink of global warming catastrophe, which could make the human species extinct.

Discussions of the problem are still mixed with both psychotic and sane observations of our fate:
The global El Niño weather phenomenon, whose impacts cause global famines, floods – and even wars – now has a 90% chance of striking this year, according to the latest forecast released to the Guardian.
The latest El Niño prediction comes from the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), which is considered one the most reliable of the 15 or so prediction centres around the world.
The movement of hot, rain-bringing water to the western Pacific ramps up the risk of downpours in the nations flanking that side of the great ocean, while the normally damp eastern flank dries out. Governments, commodity traders, insurers and aid groups like the Red Cross and World Food Programme all monitor developments closely and water conservation and food stockpiling is already underway in some countries.
(Guardian). Some countries see the reality and react properly, yet in other countries the psychopaths "poo poo" every concern the people have.

Even if the psychopaths in industry and government cannot help themselves, perhaps those around them can (Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment).

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Epigenetics trumps genetics. The wonderful Dr. James Fallon:

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Peak of Sanity - 7

The Peak of Sanity - Criminal Epoch
In this series we have taken a look at many facets of the social dementia which led to the peak of the sanity of our current civilization.

In the post today, I will attempt to narrow the discussion down so as to further support the notion about when the peak of sanity was reached.

But first, let's remember that we are talking about the peak of the sanity of civilization, our human culture, not the sanity of individuals:
In this series we have been discussing, not individuals, but current civilization, in terms of civilization having reached The Peak of Sanity.
(The Peak of Sanity - 3). This exercise of doing a psychoanalysis of a group as large as civilization was long ago recognized as a real need by "The Father of Psychoanalysis," but was never realized:
If the evolution of civilization has such a far reaching similarity with the development of an individual, and if the same methods are employed in both, would not the diagnosis be justified that many systems of civilization——or epochs of it——possibly even the whole of humanity——have become neurotic under the pressure of the civilizing trends? To analytic dissection of these neuroses, therapeutic recommendations might follow which could claim a great practical interest. I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness. But it behooves us to be very careful, not to forget that after all we are dealing only with analogies, and that it is dangerous, not only with men but also with concepts, to drag them out of the region where they originated and have matured. The diagnosis of collective neuroses, moreover, will be confronted by a special difficulty. In the neurosis of an individual we can use as a starting point the contrast presented to us between the patient and his environment which we assume to be normal. No such background as this would be available for any society similarly affected; it would have to be supplied in some other way. And with regard to any therapeutic application of our knowledge, what would be the use of the most acute analysis of social neuroses, since no one possesses power to compel the community to adopt the therapy? In spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture upon this research into the pathology of civilized communities. [p. 39]
Men have brought their powers of subduing the forces of nature
to such a pitch that by using them they could now very easily exterminate one another to the last man. They know this——hence arises a great part of their current unrest, their dejection, their mood of apprehension. [p. 40]
(MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact - 5, quoting Sigmund Freud). With that background, let's now focus on the graphic at the top of the post.

That graphic shows a bell curve with a peak curve shape that produces a dome, which is colored  purple on the upswing side, and colored red on the downswing side.

The colored dome begins circa 1900 and ends circa 1959, with two divisions.

The first division is purple and titled "The Peak of Sanity", while the second division is red and titled "Criminal Epoch."

One simple inference we can surmise from that graphic is that there was a process by which those in power during that time frame, made the decision to fully commit civilization to being / becoming utterly dependent on massive fossil fuel usage.

Regular readers know that Dredd Blog, in other posts covered the earlier and more embryonic phase of that emerging dependence, which was the decision to make military forces dependent on Middle East Oil (see e.g. Viva Egypt -2, The Universal Smedley - 2).

The result of the decision of captains of industry and government, when fully developed and delivered, was acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Energy statement: "Oil is the lifeblood of America’s economy."

And by extension, oil is also the lifeblood of civilization's economy.

With that preface, let's take a look at some of the evidence concerning when civilization went over the top, then entered downside of the curve, which is the Criminal Epoch.

The evidence is based on what they knew and when they knew it, concerning the affects of having a worldwide dependence, which some call addiction, to the burning of fossil fuels in order to avoid the collapse of civilization.

And by the same token, that evidence is also based on the reality that the same burning of fossil fuels to avoid the collapse of civilization is what will certainly cause the collapse of civilization.

That was pointed out by the recent scientific paper indicating that the human species, not just civilization itself, is facing extinction as a result of the fateful decision to become addicted to oil:
Despite the uncertainty in future climate-change impacts, it is often assumed that humans would be able to adapt to any possible warming. Here we argue that heat stress imposes a robust upper limit to such adaptation. Peak heat stress, quantified by the wet-bulb temperature TW, is surprisingly similar across diverse climates today. TW never exceeds 31 °C. Any exceedence of 35 °C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible. While this never happens now, it would begin to occur with global-mean warming of about 7 °C, calling the habitability of some regions into question. With 11–12 °C warming, such regions would spread to encompass the majority of the human population as currently distributed. Eventual warmings of 12 °C are possible from fossil fuel burning.
Heat stress is already a leading cause of fatalities from natural phenomena. While fatalities appear associated with warm nights, hot days alter the lifestyles and work productivity of those living at low latitudes. Both impacts will clearly worsen in warmer climates, but most believe humans will simply adapt, reasoning that humans already tolerate a very wide range of climates today. But when measured in terms of peak heat stress—including humidity—this turns out to be untrue. We show that even modest global warming could therefore expose large fractions of the population to unprecedented heat stress, and that with severe warming this would become intolerable.
(PNAS, "An adaptability limit ... heat stress", emphasis added). Humans cannot adapt to the heat stress that is coming.

Nor are we inclined to adapt to what we must do, that is, give up our addiction to fossil fuel usage.

Moving on with this post, here is the concept expressed ~six decades ago, in 1957, a la "the first one is free," that got us hooked:
Whether this Golden Age will continue depends entirely upon our ability to keep energy supplies in balance with the needs of our growing population. Before I go into this question, let me review briefly the role of energy resources in the rise and fall of civilizations.

Possession of surplus energy is, of course, a requisite for any kind of civilization, for if man possesses merely the energy of his own muscles, he must expend all his strength - mental and physical - to obtain the bare necessities of life.

Surplus energy provides the material foundation for civilized living - a comfortable and tasteful home instead of a bare shelter; attractive clothing instead of mere covering to keep warm; appetizing food instead of anything that suffices to appease hunger. It provides the freedom from toil without which there can be no art, music, literature, or learning. There is no need to belabor the point. What lifted man - one of the weaker mammals - above the animal world was that he could devise, with his brain, ways to increase the energy at his disposal, and use the leisure so gained to cultivate his mind and spirit. Where man must rely solely on the energy of his own body, he can sustain only the most meager existence.


I think no further elaboration is needed to demonstrate the significance of energy resources for our own future. Our civilization rests upon a technological base which requires enormous quantities of fossil fuels. What assurance do we then have that our energy needs will continue to be supplied by fossil fuels: The answer is - in the long run - none.

The earth is finite. Fossil fuels are not renewable. In this respect our energy base differs from that of all earlier civilizations. They could have maintained their energy supply by careful cultivation. We cannot. Fuel that has been burned is gone forever. Fuel is even more evanescent than metals. Metals, too, are non-renewable resources threatened with ultimate extinction, but something can be salvaged from scrap. Fuel leaves no scrap and there is nothing man can do to rebuild exhausted fossil fuel reserves. They were created by solar energy 500 million years ago and took eons to grow to their present volume.

In the face of the basic fact that fossil fuel reserves are finite, the exact length of time these reserves will last is important in only one respect: the longer they last, the more time do we have, to invent ways of living off renewable or substitute energy sources and to adjust our economy to the vast changes which we can expect from such a shift.

Fossil fuels resemble capital in the bank. A prudent and responsible parent will use his capital sparingly in order to pass on to his children as much as possible of his inheritance. A selfish and irresponsible parent will squander it in riotous living and care not one whit how his offspring will fare.
(Adm. Rickover 5/14/1957 - Energy History - Collapse, emphasis added). There it is, our sophisticated civilization is dependent on fossil fuels, but those resources are finite.

Sanity dictates that we must have used them only to create, build, then transfer our dependence to renewable sources of energy.

The captains of industry and government knew the situation, the great risk of becoming dependent on a finite resource, but risked it anyway, while knowing that their time to convert to renewable resources was limited:
Current estimates of fossil fuel reserves vary to an astonishing degree. In part this is because the results differ greatly if cost of extraction is disregarded or if in calculating how long reserves will last, population growth is not taken into consideration; or, equally important, not enough weight is given to increased fuel consumption required to process inferior or substitute metals. We are rapidly approaching the time when exhaustion of better grade metals will force us to turn to poorer grades requiring in most cases greater expenditure of energy per unit of metal.

But the most significant distinction between optimistic and pessimistic fuel reserve statistics is that the optimists generally speak of the immediate future - the next twenty-five years or so - while the pessimists think in terms of a century from now. A century or even two is a short span in the history of a great people. It seems sensible to me to take a long view, even if this involves facing unpleasant facts.

For it is an unpleasant fact that according to our best estimates, total fossil fuel reserves recoverable at not over twice today's unit cost, are likely to run out at some time between the years 2000 and 2050, if present standards of living and population growth rates are taken into account. Oil and natural gas will disappear first, coal last. There will be coal left in the earth, of course. But it will be so difficult to mine that energy costs would rise to economically intolerable heights, so that it would then become necessary either to discover new energy sources or to lower standards of living drastically.
(ibid, "Adm. Rickover 5/14/1957 - Energy History - Collapse", emphasis added). The entry into the Criminal Epoch began when the captains of industry and government knew the consequences of not beginning to develop and use renewable resources way back then.

Their decision to never-the-less go down a path that would bring collapse of civilization was criminal and was psychopathic (The Peak Of The Oil Wars - 9).

In this post we have not considered their knowledge about the environmental consequences of using fossil fuels, which includes human extinction as was mentioned above.

So, in the next post of this series we will consider their knowledge of the environmental consequences as well as the criminal ramifications of that knowledge and subsequent behavior.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.