November 29, 2019

Dream a Little Dream

Timothy Birdnow

Oh for the love of God!

The researchers agree it is difficult to understand the full extent of the interplay between Earth's myriad of climate-affected systems, but note carrying down the business-as-usual path will still put us on track for approximately 3 degrees of warming. Notably, the authors highlight Earth's climate has been unstable across timescales before, caused by small changes in Earth's orbit. However, now, humans are "strongly forcing the system" into a state that hasn't been seen for millions of years.


I really don't know how to make it any plainer.

Having spun a fanciful tale, they are now saying it's settled and are pretending doomsday is upon us when none of the metrics have been met. There is no tropospheric hot spot. There has been no warming per satellite data. Planetary ice is stable. Sea level rise has not increased significantly. There is no "missing heat" in the deep oceans.

In short, all we have are computer projections and solemn assurances by people who make their living by research funded by computer projections and solemn assurances. Government funds this stuff, and government wants this because it means more in taxes, more regulations, and more government control. Global warming is a statists' wet dream.

And in a world where funding goes to the guy who crows the loudest you aren't going to find many scientists - especially young ones just starting out - who will buck this. It's career suicide. That's why it's primarily older people who say this is hockum; they aren't facing oblivion for calling out imperial nudity.

What''s truly sad is how easily our young people are duped, and most especially tech people like the good folks at CNET. They don't know the difference between simulation and reality.

Does anyone remember the Star Trek episode The Menagerie? It used the original pilot for Star Trek (starring Jeffrey Hunter and entitled The Cage) which was rejected by NBC. The premise was Captain Christopher Pike (who proceeded Kirk as Enterprise captain) was kidnapped by aliens who could put completely realistic illusions into your mind. They could give you anything you wanted, make you happy beyond belief. But they could also make you miserable and frighten you. The aliens had been forced off the surface of their world to dwell underground, and had developed their mental abilities to project illusions. As it turns out they wanted to rebuild their world and avoid extinction - an extinction that was becoming increasingly likely because, as they tell Pike, their power was a terrible trap. Illusions are too pleasant to be rid of, and their race was incapable of actually doing anything. They wanted to seed the surface with a vigorous people through whom they could experience new life. In the end they gave up on the idea and set Pike free.

I fear computers and virtual technology is moving us in that very same direction, and the Global Warming issue is proof positive that too many people - especially our young - are now seriously out of touch with reality.

As science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick put it, reality is that thing which, when you stop believing in it, won't go away. And no matter how much we devote to the digital alternate universe in the end we still have the real universe to contend with. A willfull refusal to accept reality usually comes back to bite you HARD.

I fear that is where we are heading.

Maybe this is the answer to the Fermi Paradox?  There have been all kinds of speculations about alien intelligences in the Universe, including the famous Drake Equation which uses statistics to "prove" there has to be alien civilizations out there.  Enrico Fermi, the great physicist and member of the Manhattan Project, famously asked "where are they?" His point being that if all this intelligent life is out there why is it we haven't found even the tiniest shred of evidence of them? Surely we would find something, be it an alien equivalent of a Kuerig cup or a pull tab from alien beer cans. But there's nothing. So where are they?

Maybe any intelligent species will eventually devise a way to create such wonderful illusions that they will inevitably degenerate into sessile creatures, permanent couch potatoes. Maybe computers are the beginning of the end for any technological civilization.

Reality is harsh. It is far more pleasing to live in a world of illusion. I can imagine few living creatures that wouldn't substitute illusion for reality, since illusion is nothing more than imposing your will and desires on the world you inhabit. That is the goal of survival for every creature, after all. It is so ubiquitous that I cannot imagine a powerful enough civilization NOT tempted into such a trap.

We may become extinct not from war or disease or asteroids or any other titanic event, but from our own dreams.

It's something to think about.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 11:51 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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