Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 28, 2019

Open Thread 2019-77

News & views ...

Posted by b on December 28, 2019 at 14:40 UTC | Permalink

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To reply to #80 and others -

I do believe that the above presentation is closer to Truth than what current science provides. It is a radical concept - but then again - is not life in a Universe where there should be nothing - not radical?

Posted by: Tim E. | Dec 29 2019 20:33 utc | 101

I do believe that Jay Hanson - in his treatise - Overshoot Loop has it right.

But that is my opinion - based upon my experiences. From Jay Hanson

Today, when one observes the many severe environmental and social problems, it appears that we are rushing towards extinction and are powerless to stop it. Why can’t we save ourselves? To answer that question we only need to integrate three of the key influences on our behavior: 1) biological evolution, 2) overshoot, and 3) a proposed fourth law of thermodynamics called the “Maximum Power Principle”(MPP). The MPP states that biological systems will organize to increase power[2] generation, by degrading more energy, whenever systemic constraints allow it[3].

Biological evolution is a change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. Individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic (DNA/RNA, etc.) material from one generation to the next.

“Natural selection” is one of the basic mechanisms of evolution, along with mutation, migration, and drift. Natural selection explains the appearance of design in the living world, and “inclusive fitness theory” explains what this design is for. Specifically, natural selection leads organisms to become adapted as if to maximize their inclusive fitness. The “fittest” individuals are those who succeed in generating more power and reproducing more copies of their genes than their competitors. Two of the most important methods of selection are “kin selection” and “coalitional killing”[4].

“Kin Selection” is the evolutionary strategy that favors the reproductive success of an organism’s relatives, even at a cost to the organism’s own survival and reproduction. The coalitional killing of adults in neighboring groups occurs regularly in humans, wolves and chimpanzees. Selection favors the tendency to form coalitions and kill rivals when the costs are sufficiently low. Here is the basic outline: genes cooperate to build cells, which cooperate to build bodies, which cooperate to form coalitions to attack and kill competing groups, which facilitates the dispersal of the winning coalitions’ genes into the environment.

Note that I also value the work of William Catton: Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change

And Dr. Joseph Tainter - Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter -

Ultimately the truth will be revealed - when we discover if Industrial Civilization is endless on a Limited Planet with finite resources - or not.

Posted by: Tim E. | Dec 29 2019 20:50 utc | 102


"You'll have experienced the Asian cultural trait of self-deprecation asking forgiveness for their unworthiness, which may be personal or material, while there is no counterpart whatsoever within Western culture..."

I couldn't resist this one, karlof1, do pardon me! There is indeed a counterpart, though most who would consider themselves Christian have forgotten it. The counterpart is best expressed by Saint Paul who has declared that Christ 'emptied himself' by becoming man, which leads us to contemplate the divine as willing, in the extreme, to humble itself out of concern for others. John says "For God so loved the world that he gave..." Christians are asked to follow Christ, and that indicates that the highest form of that discipleship is precisely as you have described it - 'self-deprecation asking forgiveness' or the practice of humility, in the consideration of others, all others, as being more worthy than oneself. One approaches the divine in this.

I always think that is why Peter, who denied Christ three times, and Paul who persecuted Christians, are considered the pillars of the church - since they to the highest degree recognized their own shortcomings and learned what it means to be divine.

I will grant you, not many in western civilization recognize this quality as the one most needful.

Posted by: juliania | Dec 29 2019 20:54 utc | 103

And while I expect some disagreement - science says this - although you never heard it from your Science Teacher.....

Since the mid-1800s, biologists have generally shared the belief that all living things descended from a single common ancestor. Based on fossil evidence and comparative anatomy, Charles Darwin proposed that humans and great apes–which include chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans–share a common ancestor that lived several million years ago. More recent research has propped up Darwin's theory of common descent (also called common ancestry): genome analysis reveals the genetic difference between humans and chimps to be less than 2 percent. In other words, humans and chimps have DNA sequences that are greater than 98 percent similar.

While the genetic similarity between human and ape strengthened Darwin's theory, a significant, unexplained discrepancy remained. While great apes all have 48 chromosomes (24 pairs), humans have only 46 (23 pairs). If humans and apes shared a common ancestor, shouldn't both have the same number of chromosomes in their cells?

The phases through which chromosomes replicate, divide, shuffle, and recombine are imperfect, as DNA is subject to random mutations. Mutations do not always produce harmful outcomes. In fact, many mutations are thought to be neutral, and some even give rise to beneficial traits. To corroborate Darwin's theory, scientists would need to find a valid explanation for why a chromosome pair is missing in humans that is present in apes.

A fundamental part of the process by which science is done involves developing a testable prediction, also known as a hypothesis. Scientists offered two possible explanations for the discrepancy: Either the common ancestor had 24 pairs, and humans carry a fused chromosome; or the ancestor had 23 pairs, and apes carry a split chromosome. Their focused research led them to find a mutation on one human chromosome that explained what had happened.

Posted by: Tim E. | Dec 29 2019 20:57 utc | 104

US bases--
Evo Morales kicked the US base out of Bolivia apparently saying at the time--"When Bolivia can have a base in Miami then the US can have a base in Bolivia.

Trump demanding that places like South Korea up their payments to the bases smells of not being able to afford them. I know, I know he thinks that the US is protecting these ingrates.

Posted by: arby | Dec 29 2019 21:13 utc | 105

Dear juliania @103--

I do hope your Christmas was wonderful and your New Year celebration worthy of inaugurating a new decade, but I do have just one question for you: Just how many actual Christians are there in the world today--I mean those who actually know what Jesus's deeds were and who genuinely follow his admonitions? That population would be those capable of similar self-deprecation: and IMO, it's a very, very small group.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 29 2019 21:59 utc | 106

@Russ #97
So given your "empirically and scientifically proven abundance of agroecology" - how many farmers would there need to be in the United States, vs. the 2.2 million now?
Having some independent references would be nice, too.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 30 2019 0:18 utc | 107

@john #96
Given that "full spectrum dominance" originated as a US military term - but the US dominance over other nations is primarily economic, it is far from clear to me that military bases are a sign of anything except MIC/State Dept. profiteering.
Germany has a large trade surplus vs. the US, and also spends less on defense than it might otherwise (or has historically).
Ditto Japan.
Is it dominance when the "dominated" are benefiting overall?

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 30 2019 0:23 utc | 108

From Truthdig on B. Sanders/2020;

An excerpt;

"With so much at stake—including the presidency and the top leadership of the Democratic Party—no holds will be barred. For the forces of corporate greed and the military-industrial complex, it’ll be all-out propaganda war on the Bernie campaign."

Posted by: ben | Dec 30 2019 0:29 utc | 109

I believe it might be a good idea to read the ‘Rise and fall of the Roman Empire’. ..i probably did that over 55 years ago, but it would have greater immediacy this time round. To wit: It would help me pro rate the relative importance of the many signs of empire dissolution...for example, is the takeover of the legislative branch by the oligarchy the single greatest fail
Point? ...or is it the capture of the scotus ...or perhaps the changeover to a mercenary military? Certainly, the failure of the manufacturing class and its replacement by the money lenders must have a prominent place. how can i position the rise of bread and circus inthe eventual fail? I do remember the loss of the small farmer was considered a death rattle for the Roman republic ...lis this comparable to the industrial farms takeover of the amrican small farmer?
Finally, has the modern world learned how to defend itself against the terror tactics of the good ol us of a, much like the borderlands learned how to fight and beat the roman legions.? I,m looking forward to a good read.

Posted by: James j | Dec 30 2019 0:30 utc | 110

@Tim E #102
What you wrote exhibits many of the most wrong beliefs on how natural selection works. Natural selection isn't intelligent; there is no such thing as "fittest". There is simply survival vs. not survival.
Among the problems with the erroneous belief of "fitness": genetic research has shown that all the complex organisms retain enormous latent variability in their genetic code. The variability is submerged by a relative handful of genes - that's why dogs and cats have such enormous variation in breeds despite their original wolf and cat ancestors being single species.
Dmitri Belyaev recreated this in Siberian foxes - successful generations of foxes bred for tameness yielded enormous variations.
I am also extremely unclear on how an animal species generates power. Among many other problems, a prey species has radically different survival strategies than a predator species. Plants vs. animals. Single cell organisms vs. multi-celled. Birds vs. land bound. Fish vs. land animals. etc etc.
Evolution generally works over long time frames - it is far more a feather on the survival scale than any notion of "fitness". The catastrophe scenarios - asteroid, massive volcano eruption, etc - such as the handoff between dinosaurs and warm blooded animals - function as brooms, with green fields for the survivors.
Net net - it is far from clear to me that anyone really has a way to predict evolutionary outcomes.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 30 2019 0:34 utc | 111

@Tim E #104
More conjecture based on a fundamentally flawed premise.
People with Down's syndrome have 47 chromosomes - so we have a relatively common occurrence where chromosome number has changed.
There are lots of other variations - 2% of the human population have chromosomal inversions. These people act/look "normal" in pretty much all ways, but their chromosomes are not "normal".
Furthermore, the monkeys have high variability in chromosome count. Rhesus monkeys have 42, Capuchin monkeys have 54. Horses and armadillos have 64. Turkeys have 80. Carp have 100. And the ciliated Protozoa has over 1000 - and its a single cell animal.
Don't try and read too much into chromosome counts.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 30 2019 0:42 utc | 112

@ Posted by: juliania | Dec 29 2019 20:54 utc | 103 and Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 29 2019 21:59 utc | 106 who responded and asked
Just how many actual Christians are there in the world today--I mean those who actually know what Jesus's deeds were and who genuinely follow his admonitions?

I don't beat this more fundamental drum very often because it causes too much angst but let me beat it again now.

The West needs to have a secular-peoples party that would be similar to what is happening in China. In China, it is my understanding, one does not both belong to one of the 360+ registered religions in China and belong to the party and if you don't belong to the party then you can't be a politician nor government bureaucrat....a truly secular government. Given that this disallows the God of Mammon religion, as well, China has a public system of finance which I just provided the link below to about their financial governance over on The Week in Review Open Thread

Chinese President Xi Installs Finance Experts To Avoid "Lurking, Devastating Debt Bombs"

As I also remarked in the other thread
In the West, Debt Bombs are a feature, not a bug
To me, this means China is acting like a civilization that has completed the Enlightenment period that the West never finished evolving through. IMO, if humanity is to survive as a species it needs to evolve to a reason and logic based social contract and leave behind a social contract that continues to prioritize faith in various God type ones, like God of Mammon, over logic and reason.

Any other MoA barflies want to join my secular-peoples party in the West?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 30 2019 1:39 utc | 113

James j #110 "I believe it might be a good idea to read the ‘Rise and fall of the Roman Empire"

Perhaps a more up to date collapse theory is needed. Dmitry Orlov has provided such guides as Reinventing Collapse and the Five Stages of Collapse. Mr. Orlov has even speculated recently on when the US will collapse, and he expects it within his lifetime, and he doesn't expect to be as "smooth" as the Soviet collapse. I'm praying that they wont take the rest of the planet along for the ride in some sort of Samson Option, but you never know what with the Evangelical rapture crowd in the Whitehouse.

Two things immediately jump to mind when comparing the USSR and the USA, a bloated military and geriatric leadership. It will be good for the planet when this collapse happens, but not so much for me at my age living in the shadow of the empire north of the 49 parallel but I will still rejoice when it happens. It will as Anti Republic at Syrian Perspective once said roughly, the collapse will be very painful, but those who go through it will be spiritually better off. By the way any news on SP and when it might be back?

Posted by: Tom | Dec 30 2019 8:04 utc | 114

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 30 2019 0:18 utc | 107

"how many farmers would there need to be in the United States, vs. the 2.2 million now?"

I already answered that too. Is this your usual mode of trolling, to keep demanding the same answer over and over as if you never heard it before, or do you just have severe memory problems?

To give the answer one more time, only for the benefit of anyone interested who didn't see the exchange in the other thread, it would need for all able-bodied people to participate in food production. This watershed-based community work would be like gardening and artisanal processing, not like the horrors of agricultural and factory work under your commodity production system.

And of course this would make for far healthier, ecologically integrated and more human societies in every way. Like I said multiple times, it's not as if humanity has a choice anyway since your globalist corporate poison-based agriculture is not sustainable. Humanity will have to transform, and can choose to do it the good way or the very hard, very bad way. As we see with die-hard dead-enders like you and the elites for whom you shill, there's no chance humanity as a whole will do what's necessary to save itself, but I do have some optimism that some regions at least might do what they can.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 30 2019 8:52 utc | 115

since 1945 and the imposition of the US military/geostrategic apparatus, bringing us all to the brink of nuclear confrontation and/or economic collapse and/or environmental ruination, our loquacious troll c1ue @ 108 asks:

you're a real pauper, dude, a real pauper.

Posted by: john | Dec 30 2019 10:23 utc | 116

since 1945 and the imposition of the US military/geostrategic apparatus, bringing us all to the brink of nuclear confrontation and/or economic collapse and/or environmental ruination, our loquacious troll c1ue @ 108 asks:

Is it dominance when the "dominated" are benefiting overall

you're a real pauper, dude, a real pauper.

Posted by: john | Dec 30 2019 10:27 utc | 117

Tom @ 114

You might also consider Glenn Diesen's The Decay of Western Civilisation and Resurgence of Russia: Between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (Rethinking Asia and International Relations)

Aug 2018

What explains the rise of populist movements across the West and their affinity towards Russia? UKIP’s Brexit victory, Trump’s triumph, and the successive elections and referendums in Europe were united by a repudiation of the liberal international order. These new political forces envision the struggle to reproduce and advance Western civilisation to be fought along a patriotism–cosmopolitanism or nationalism–globalism battlefield, in which Russia becomes a partner rather than an adversary. Armed with neomodernism and geoeconomics, Russia has inadvertently taken on a central role in the decay of Western civilisation.

This book explores the cooperation and competition between Western and Russian civilisation and the rise of anti-establishment political forces both contesting the international liberal order and expressing the desire for closer relations with Russia. Diesen proposes that Western civilisation has reached a critical juncture as modern society (gesellschaft) has overwhelmed and exhausted the traditional community (gemeinschaft) and shows the causes for the decay of Western civilisation and the subsequent impact on cooperation and conflict with Russia. The author also considers whether Russia’s international conservativism is authentic and can negate the West’s decadence, or if it is merely a shrewd strategy by a rival civilisation also in decay.

Posted by: pogohere | Dec 30 2019 17:43 utc | 118

c1ue | Dec 29 2019 14:46 utc @ 86
I posted a bit of a rambling reply on same thread.
So many issues to resolve, so little time in one life-span. Hope you have the time to read.
& I'll hope you, and all the MoA barflies have a fulfilling and positive 2020.

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Dec 30 2019 20:30 utc | 119

some more base mania...

for your edification.

Posted by: john | Dec 30 2019 21:02 utc | 120

@Russ #115
I don't remember any mention of actual numbers. Rather than go back and dig through your frankly semi-coherent posts, I looked at the links you posted.
They *all* involve Africa: ways to improve farming productivity in that part of the 3rd world with different methods.
I don't have any dispute that there are likely ways to improve farming productivity in those nations that don't have the tech or infrastructure due to their utter poverty - but that wasn't my question.
My question, again, is if so-called agro-ecology methods are used - how many farmers in the United States would be needed to produce the same amount of food as the 2.2 million today do using the decried industrial methods?
Especially given that you are supposedly a farmer, and supposedly understand these methods, it should be a few minutes to determine a result.
Or is your talk just that?

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 1 2020 14:15 utc | 121

@Jon_in_AU #119
I read your post - thank you. It definitely was interesting and helpful for me, and I will look further into the links you've posted.
My concern, as always, is whether the hype actually translates into reality.
I've talked extensively with utility planning engineers, solar PV designers and with people associated with turbine companies. The overwhelming conclusion I get from these discussions is that the technology - solar PV and well as wind - has its place in specific situations but is totally unready for primary base load if cost and/or reliability is the primary consideration. Which for a utility, is normally the priority.
If we throw emissions into the mix - even then the solar PV and wind are not clearly better despite enormous subsidies. Much as a significant part of US emissions "improvement" in the past few decades is due to outsourcing of manufacturing to China, so too do the solar PV and wind turbine manufacturing - as well as electric vehicles/batteries - front load their emissions to 2nd and 3rd world nations.
If CO2 emissions is truly a global problem, then this practice doesn't help.
The ongoing attacks on nuclear and natural gas are also more than a little bit ludicrous, if CO2 emissions are truly the worst evil.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 1 2020 14:21 utc | 122

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