In science the way one manipulates numbers in a model doesn't change the nature of the universe itself.
Look a physics. Relativity still existed before Einstein came along to describe it. We were not living in a Newtonian universe before that.
The earth has never been "the center of the universe" whatever humans happened to believe at the time.
No matter the mathematical models we create to describe our universe, the universe is not going to change to accommodate them.
Economic theory isn't like that.
Congress could pass a law to change the speed of light, or set pi=3, but the universe doesn't care. If we try to live by the laws of Congress and ignore the laws of nature, then nature will kill us. We can't legislate "zero gravity zones" and do away with elevators in buildings, or wings on airplanes. Step into an elevator shaft without an elevator, fall, and die. The wings come off your airplane, fall, die. Your pi=3 engines explode? Die.
To an outsider observing our current economic system it is clear that only a small percentage of economic activity is actually "productive," in the sense of making this world a richer place, not just for humans, but for the overall cultural and biological diversity of life itself, and not just human culture and biology either. Wolves have a culture. Whales have a culture. Condors have a culture.
But most of the things economists call "productive" are actually exploitive. There is "profit" to be made by destroying the natural environment and increasing the overall misery of cultural populations such as ourselves.
There's nothing "productive" about that exploitive sort of profit.
There's so many ways religions can fuck us up. How many gay people have our religions discarded? Alan Turing? Far, far, beyond that, and into the depths of hellish sorts of despair .
How many rich cultures and environments have our religions destroyed?
What do we know? Somewhere in North America maybe there was a plant that cured some common form of cancer. The indigenous people knew about it, knew how to use it. Then the Europeans invaded, killed off the indigenous people and their culture, and slash-and-burn destroyed the forest where the rare plant grew.
We are much poorer today for that.
...of the religion they abandoned.
That's not "humanism," it's just intolerance of religion. One sees a huge amount of that, even on DU; all the culturally white male Protestants who have abandoned formal religion, but still express great animosity toward Catholics, Muslims, etc. (for example); who fail to recognize recognize the patriarchal, Puritanical, authoritarian and intolerant patterns of thinking that permeate this Christian Protestant society they exist within; the "religious" patterns that still permeate their own thinking.
Having abandoned religion, an atheist can still be a sexist, racist, Puritanical, judgmental, religiously intolerant asshole; the guy you hated in church, but without the church.
Google's definition of humanism is pretty good:
Religious intolerance and bigotry are not rational ways of solving human problems. Religions exist in human societies, that's a scientific fact, deal with it. An anti-religious person can be as intolerant and bigoted as any fundamentalist religious person. That's not humanism.
I can be very critical of any single aspect of a religion or secular society, but lumping groups of people together as "atheists," Catholics, Southern Fundamentalists, Muslims, whatever, is never rational, and it solves no human problems.
Every human being is a bubbling stew of contradictions. Religious beliefs are just a small part of that stew.
The question shouldn't be "How do we replace fossil (or nuclear) fuels with solar?"
The question should be "How do we improve the standard of living for all people (not just the wealthy) and reduce the impact of humans on earth's environment?)
The answer to that question does not involve a very expensive mish-mash of Rube Goldberg technologies.
The most effective answer is to limit human populations. Generally, people will have fewer children if they have easy access to birth control, medical care is good, people are educated (especially women!), standards of living are comfortable, and elderly people are financially independent of their own children or grandchildren.
The next most effective answer is to build an attractive, much less energy intensive society than we have now.
One of the first things that struck me in this article was the $3000 average annual gasoline cost quoted. I drive a recycled "salvage title" car and maybe use about $400 gasoline annually, and the numbers are similar for my wife. (These are current, high, California gasoline prices.) My wife and I used to be Los Angeles commuters, back in the mid 'eighties, but by planning and some good fortune we've managed to avoid that lifestyle since. Ideally, I'd like to live in a fully walkable community where we didn't need cars.
I confess I am a very simple person who could live in a tiny house in a garden with a solar powered laptop and reading light. After I went off to college, and before I met my wife, it was a common living situation for me. I know I can live without a refrigerator, or even a washing machine. (I know I can live in my car too, but that's another story...) One of my great grandma's lived in more primitive conditions than that, with no running water, well into her eighties.
But that's not the sort of life I'm talking about. I imagine dense semi-urban cosmopolitan walkable communities with private home ownership, gardens, good public transportation; places with good plentiful jobs; places where owning a car is something few people desire.
I'm not the sort of architectural fascist who would force people into such communities, not at all so much as I feel forced to live as I do now in a suburban house within a smaller city, with a car in the driveway. But I am the sort who is pushing for low energy, low resource-intensive lifestyles that are more attractive than those generally offered by today's U.S.A. society.
Profile InformationName: Hunter
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 38,203
About hunterI'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.
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