In the year 2525

This week’s ask a ScienceBlogger question is “Will the ‘human’ race be around in 100 years?”

Yes. Even a big nuclear war or genetically engineered super-virus won’t kill everybody. That leaves the possibility of the Singularity arriving and everybody transforming themselves into something different. Well, I don’t think the Singularity is at all likely and even then there would be plenty of people who would want to remain human.

Results of last week’s ask a ScienceBlogger.

(I know 2525 is more than a hundred years in the future — I’m referring to this.)

Comments

  1. #1 Mark Shapiro
    May 16, 2006

    Yes. Next question?

  2. #2 Sean Braisted
    May 16, 2006

    The question I have is, can Human physiology still evolve within human society? Because from what I can tell the basics of darwinian evolution is that those who are best adapted to their environment/needs will live longer and procreate more. But in our society, those best adapted to our way of life and who achieve the greatest success often have much less offspring than the poorest least adapted segments of society. Just a lingering question on my mind, wondered if anyone had any thoughts on it.

  3. #3 Adam
    May 16, 2006

    Although I think “yes”, I do think “Our Last Century?” by Martin Rees is a pretty good read.

  4. #4 Mark Bahner
    May 16, 2006

    Humans still around in 2100? Yes.

    Percentage of humans with all-hydrocarbon brains (no electronic enhancement at all)? Less than 5 percent.

    Average life expectancy at birth? Well over 100 years.

    Average per capita GDP (2000 dollars)? Over $10 million.

    Percentage of people who think the IPCC TAR and the Limits to Growth series of books were hilarious pseudoscientific fiction? Over 99 percent. (

  5. #5 Ian Gould
    May 17, 2006

    The only credible threat I can see to the continuing existence of the human race would be universal genetic engineering resulting in our replacing ourselves with a new species.

    That strikes me as unlikely (the universal bit that is) an it’d probably only be a semantic matter anyway sicne the replacement species would probably still be pretty human.

  6. #6 Tom Rees
    May 17, 2006

    Sean, you said “those best adapted to our way of life … often have much less offspring”. If true then obvious point isthat, from a Darwinian perspective, people who fail to reproduce are in fact the worst adapted to modern lifestyles. So Darwinian selection is alive and strong, it’s just not in fact selecting for the people you think are “best”. The good news, however, is that most people still live in nations where low socio-economic status carries death sentence…

  7. #7 z
    May 17, 2006

    Much as the majority of social insects have no direct descendants, but by increasing the probability of survival of their siblings who share much of their DNA they fit the model of evolution driven by DNA sequence frequency, you could extend the model to cover humans who, rather than maximize reproduction of their own specific DNA, instead work for an overall increase in their species or local subspecies, with whom they share the majority of their DNA.

  8. #8 Jeff Harvey
    May 17, 2006

    Mark Bahner’s gobbledegook had me laughing so hard that I almost fell out of my chair. This illustrates the consequences of (a) believing that humanity is exempt from the laws of nature, and (b) lacking even a scintilla of understanding of even the most basic environmental science. What is even more scary is that there are lots of minions out there who believe the same kind of utter nonsense as espoused by Mark. The linear optimists forget all of the crysta clear signs that humanity is living off of natural capital rather than income. That we are liquidating our natural life-support systems with breathtaking speed and efficiency.

    Cause and effect. Cause and effect. Cause and effect. We must repeat those sacrosanct words. There is not a peer-reviewed paper published over the past 30 years that does not show that every one of the planet’s major ecological systems is in sharp decline. Not one. And whatever the Mark Bahner’s of this world think, there will be consequences. Will humanity persist beyond the end of the century? Probably. However, its quite clear that we are pushing immensely complex systems towards a point behyond which they will be unable to sustain themselves and, ultimately, us. Among statured scientists there is little or no disagreement about this fact. At least this is the scenario if we stick dogmatically to the status quo, to the cries of the business-as-usual crowd within the political and corporate elite who do not want things to change.

    So what will the world be like as 2100 dawns? Well, unless radical changes are made ever more quickly, the future is not very bright for Homo sapiens at least, I am afraid. As much as we wish to place our faith in technology while crossing our fingers and praying to the tooth fairy, there is every indication that the human population will plummet when the historical plundering of the global commons (e.g. occurring NOW) is finally manifested on a range of critical ecological services. There will be more floods, other extreme forms of weather, such as crippling droughts famine, and deprivation. Many important pollinators and seed dispersers will be extinct, with immense consequences for agriculture, already subjected to extreme abiotic stresses. Terrestrial biological wastes will accumulate, as the decomposer subsystem is simplified. Biogeochemical cycles will not function efficiently because many important species involved in this process will be gone. Soils will become depauperated. Aquifers, critical sources of freshwater, will have been long depleted. There will be limited genetic variability in many surviving plant and animal populations, which will further hinder their ability to respond to the dramatic changes across the biosphere.

    Consequently, the surviving remnants of the human population will, as James Lovelock recently wrote, probably survive in small enclaves in what climatically small suitable areas remain. This scenario is not inevitable. But the longer our species listens to the state-corporate planners and those intent on retaining the status quo for the short-term benefits of the privileged few, the more likely it is that our species will gradually disapear with a whimper.

  9. #9 Dano
    May 17, 2006

    I repeat, again, for the now 977th time, that Mark Bahner’s amazing skills of seeing the future, on display for all of us to see and behold as the marvel that they are, have not been used to my benefit by providing me with the winning PowerBall lottery numbers for next week.

    Bahner: why oh why, with your amazing powers to see into the fyoocher (obvious for all to see and behold as lovely and amazing beauteous things) have you not shared with me (me, me, only me) the winning numbers?

    Why do you shun me so, oh amazing one?

    Why?

    Best,

    D

  10. #10 Mark Bahner
    May 17, 2006

    Jeff Harvey’s gobbledegook had me laughing so hard that I almost fell out of my chair. This illustrates the consequences of (a) believing that homo sapiens are not significantly different from deer, mice, or chickens, and (b) lacking even a scintilla of understanding of even the most basic difference between any type of science–including environmental science–and religious predilictions.

    Jeff Harvey writes, “Cause and effect. Cause and effect. Cause and effect. We must repeat those sacrosanct words.”

    Well, thank you, Dr. Zaius…er, Harvey!

    http://www.movieprop.com/tvandmovie/PlanetoftheApes/drzaius.jpg

    I don’t know where you learned your science, but where I learned mine, we learned that *nothing* in science was “sacrosanct” (“must be kept sacred”). That’s the difference between religion and science; nothing in science is sacred.

    Another thing that I learned when *I* was learning science, is that one of the fundamental aspects of true science is the ability to make falsifiable predictions of the future.

    Here are my falsifiable predictions for world per-capita GDP (in year 2000 dollars). They’re based on a world per-capita GDP in the year 2000 (year 2000 dollars) of $7200.

    2020: >$13,000
    2040: >$31,000
    2060: >$130,000
    2080: >$1,000,000
    2100: >$10,000,000

    And here are my falsifiable predictions for average world-wide life expectancy at birth. They’re based on a life expectancy at birth in the year 2005 of 64 years.

    2020: >67
    2040: >74
    2060: >84
    2080: >98
    2100: >115

    Why don’t you provide your best estimates for these two parameters, Jeff? (Provide it in terms of “

    Or is that too much science for you?

  11. #11 Mark Bahner
    May 17, 2006

    Hmmm…apparently, the software mistook my “less than” for an html tag.

    What I was trying to convey was that you should provide your estimates in terms of “less than x.”

  12. #12 Mark Bahner
    May 17, 2006

    Speaking of amusing, I think I hear the ululating of a Crested Dano Twitmouse.

    “Dano,” (good idea, posting anonymously, by the way) I’ve tried to explain this every way I know how, but predicting

    1) methane atmospheric concentrations,
    2) CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations,
    3) resultant worldwide temperature increases,
    4) worldwide GDP per capita, and
    5) worldwide life expectancy at birth,

    …are ****NOT**** the same as predicting lottery numbers!

    You are the very model of, to use your own words, a “slack-jawed dipshit Googler.”

    Perhaps Tim Lambert or someone else on this site speaks your clueless twittering language, and can explain to you why predicting the future of the 5 things I listed is NOT like predicting future lottery numbers. Like I said, I’ve tried repeatedly. (I can’t believe you’ve never come across the concept of random numbers!)

    You’re solid wood from the neck up.

  13. #13 Eli Rabett
    May 17, 2006

    Hi Jeff, why don’t you come over to Roger Pielke Jr’s blog and point out to him that adaptation can be a very expensive and deadly option for most.

  14. #14 Harald Korneliussen
    May 18, 2006

    Bahner, a cause can be made that if anything should be sacred in science, “cause and effect” should be it. We are limited to seeing events as positioned in time and space, that is, we are uncapable of imagining something which happened in a place but not in a time, or the opposite. Casuality is similar: we are forced to see cause and effect. We are incapable of imagining an event without a cause. At least, that was Kant’s argument against Hume… More pragmatically, perhaps, is to say that if we deny casuality it is impossible to make predictions, theories etc. that make the slightest bit of sense.

    What’s more important: Bahner, I wonder how you believe we are going to cope with the two major issues of today, peak oil production (which will certainly happen in 100 years, probably much less) and global warming. If we handle peak oil the way I think we will, with coal, coal liquification and immensely polluting and energy inefficient non-conventional oil, then the second problem will get much worse.

    I don’t know the site Eli Rabett invited you to, but I’m sure people will like to talk to you on the oil drum as well.

  15. #15 nanny_govt_sucks
    May 18, 2006

    There is not a peer-reviewed paper published over the past 30 years that does not show that every one of the planet’s major ecological systems is in sharp decline. Not one.

    What about:

    Global Warming Sparks Increased Plant Production in Arctic Lakes http://www.livescience.com/environment/051024arcticlakes.html “Biological activity in some Arctic lakes has ratcheted up dramatically over the past 150 years as a result of global warming, according to a new study.”

    Earth is becoming a greener greenhouse http://cliveg.bu.edu/greenergh/nontechsum.html “Our results … indicate that the April to October average greenness level increased by about 8% in North America and 12% in Eurasia during the period 1981 to 1999.” “the growing season is now about 12 ± 5 days longer in North America and 18 ± 4 days in Eurasia”

    Greening of arctic Alaska, 1981-2001 http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2003/2003GL018268.shtml “Here we analyzed a time series of 21-yr satellite data for three bioclimate subzones in northern Alaska and confirmed a long-term trend of increase in vegetation greenness for the Alaskan tundra that has been detected globally for the northern latitudes.”

  16. #16 Jeff Harvey
    May 18, 2006

    Nanny,

    These links are meaningless. What about 99.9% of the rest of the planet’s marine and terrestrial ecosystems across the biosphere? Don’t they matter? Furthermore, increased temperature and resultant increases in primary productivity in the Arctic as a result of climate change and increased atmospheric C0 2 levels is a death knell for many of the species there. Ecosytem functioning is not driven by simple indices of primary productivity but by interactions occurring over variable spatial and temporal amongst the species which make up the commummities and ecosystems. And many, perhas most of these species, which are vital components of the system are not adapted to new temperature regimes, and will go the way of the dodo. With them, food webs will fray and unravel. End of story.

    But this is grade school science. There’s nothing in the ‘weakest links’ you provided which suggests that the Arctic will beome a new garden of eden. Nothing on the consequences in the way the system will work. And, as James Lovelock said, the remaining remnants of the human population will likely be restricted to Arctic regions with their coming temperate climate. The rest of the planet will be environmentally hostile and uninhabitable.

    BTW, just out of interest nanny-[Bush]-govt-sucks, aside from a few feeble web sites, how much of the primary literature do you read?

  17. #17 Eli Rabett
    May 18, 2006

    May I suggest a better question? Will your immediate descendents be alive in 2100?

  18. #18 Jeff Harvey
    May 18, 2006

    Mark,

    Please tell the world what your science qualifications are for all to behold. Nobody in his right mind would right such utter claptrap – “This illustrates the consequences of (a) believing that homo sapiens are not significantly different from deer, mice, or chickens” – if they had even a basic education in environmental science, or unless they’d been given a lucrative payout from a think tank or one of their corporate paymasters. To be honest, I found your first comment on this thread less funny than unbelievable. Your riposte is striaght out of an asylum. Most importantly, you made no effort at all to answer my basic scientific argument, that humans are destroying the very systems that permit us to survive and to persist. Why not? Answer: because you don’t understand the science, you can’t do the maths. So you dismiss it.

    Give it a shot, if you can. Same goes to nanny and the others who dont read the primary literature.

  19. #19 Jeff Harvey
    May 18, 2006

    AHA! I found that Mark B is, by his own admission, the following: “I’ve got a BS in Mechanical Engineering, an MS in Environmental Engineering (Air Pollution Option) and about 20 years combined experience in performing air pollution analyses and designing/analyzing energy systems”.

    Mark, could you please list your peer-reviewed publications. Or atleast your most important ones, if the list is too long. I’d like to see them.

    However, I don’t see anything in your experience about population ecology in there – nothing on the effects of global change on the dynamics of food webs, biodiversity loss and ecosystem functioning, nor is there any hint that you understand the link between biodiversity and the provisioning of ecosystem services. This sounds just like Bjorn Lomborg! Old BLs refrain is that if you don’t understand ecological complexity and the role of the natural economy in sustaining humanity, then you dispense with it! Mark, this sounds just like you. Care to comment?

  20. #20 Nabakov
    May 18, 2006

    “Percentage of humans with all-hydrocarbon brains (no electronic enhancement at all)? Less than 5 percent.”

    Electronic enhancement? What century are you living in Mark? The 20th?

    It’ll be at least 5% gelbrain within a hundred years.

  21. #21 Jeff Harvey
    May 18, 2006

    OOOPS – In exposing the scientific vacuity of the arguments posted by some of the contras here, I discovered this little gem on another blog from nanny with respect to his/her views on the effects of climate change on complex adaptive systems: “What do you have against increased habitats for plants and animals?”.

    Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I gotta knock my head on the wall. This ain’t high school level science, or even grade school science. Its pre-kindergarten.

  22. #22 Dano
    May 18, 2006

    Boy, I’m apologizing (apologising) all over the place here.

    I’ve failed to sound the Bahner klaxon, and now we have poor Jeff beating his head against the wall.

    Apologies.

    ** Klaxon **

    Bahner alert! Bahner alert!

    Proceed at your own risk and danger of exceeding Tim’s bandwidth!

    Bahner alert! Bahner alert!

    ** Klaxon **

    Best,

    D

  23. #23 Mark Shapiro
    May 18, 2006

    Hey guys,

    Why don’t we back off from Mark B. just a little? I’m a decarbonizer like most of us here, but I’m willing to listen to an optimist. I think he’s simply extrapolating good old Adam Smith/Milton Friedman market economics of continued compound growth due to increasing productivity from technological improvements.

    I recall from a post elsewhere that he expects us to decarbonize soon with cheap nuclear power and that markets will steer us around the shoals of various shortages, from peak oil to water etc. I’m a fan of efficiency, conservation, and renewables myself. (No true conservative would tout a resource like nuclear, which requires huge government bureaucracy, regulation, and subsidies.)

    Certainly we need flexible markets, and they will continue to allocate scarce resources, even if some ecosystems collapse, as long as the whole system doesn’t collapse. So the question is: What are the critical collapses that markets (and technology) couldn’t handle?

    This is certainly an interesting experiment — a global race to the cliff while we try to invent parachutes.

  24. #24 Mark Bahner
    May 18, 2006

    Jeff Harvey writes…

    …blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m not going to waste my time with all the ad hominem attacks and insinuations. Let’s cut to the chase:

    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-32,GGLD:en&q=define%3A++cut+to+the+chase

    Jeff Harvey asks, “Care to comment?”

    Sure, I’d be glad to comment.

    You seem to be very confused regarding what science is all about. Science is all about only one thing: Who is right, and who is wrong. Let me give you a perfect example.

    Robert E. Lucas Jr. is a Nobel laureate in economics. More specifically, his Nobel prize was awarded because of his pioneering work in economic growth theory. In the Winter 2000 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Dr. Lucas predicted that the world per-capita economic growth rate will fall over the 21st century, from approximately 3.1 percent per year in 2000 to approximately 2.3 percent per year in 2100. This would produce a world per-capita GDP in the year 2100 of approximately $90,000 (in year 2000 dollars). His prediction was based on the hypothesis that the per-capita GDPs of poorer countries would start to converge towards those of richer countries, resulting in the growth rate of the world slowing down to the rate of the richer countries, which he thought would be about 2 percent.

    In contrast, I don’t have a Nobel prize in economics (or anything else). In fact, I don’t even have a degree in economics. However, in 2005, on the non-profit website, “Long Bets,” I predicted that Dr. Lucas would be (spectacularly) wrong. I predicted that instead of the world per capita GDP declining as the 21st century progressed, it will instead increase…dramatically. Specifically, I predicted that the increase would be from approximately 3 percent per year in the first decades of the century, to more than 10 percent per year by the end of the century. This would produce the world per capita GDPs that I’ve already given for 2020 to 2100…culminating with a value of over $10,000,000 in 2100 (in year 2000 dollars). My prediction was based (in large part) upon the work of Julian Simon, who pointed out that wealth is based on (free) human brains, and the work of Ray Kurzweil, who has predicted that computers will equal and then vastly exceed the capability of human hydrocarbon brains this century.

    http://markbahner.typepad.com/random_thoughts/2005/11/why_economic_gr.html

    So I’m saying that Nobel-prize-winning Robert E. Lucas Jr.’s prediction in the Journal of Economic Perspectives is not just wrong, but spectacularly wrong. I predict he’ll be wrong by more than a factor of 100 by 2100.

    How do we determine who is right and who is wrong…which is the foundation of science? Do we try to figure out who has written or read more relevant published papers? No, there’s a much more simple way. He’s made his falsifiable prediction, and I’ve made mine. We just wait to see who is right and who is wrong.

    I’m confident enough in my own prediction to predict that, by the time I die, which hopefully will be more than 30 years from now, it will be very clear that I am right, and Dr. Lucas was wrong. It will be very clear that worldwide per capita economic growth is headed upward, not downward. And it will be very clear that the average per-capita growth rate will be far, far greater than the approximately 2.5 percent that Dr. Lucas predicts for the 21st century.

    Now, you obviously think you know something about environmental science. (You’re arrogant enough about it, in fact, to cavalierly disparage others’ knowledge.) And you apparently think that your knowledge of environmental science means you know something about future world per-capita GDPs, and future life expectancies at birth.

    I could ask you a bunch of insulting and mealy-mouthed questions, as you’ve asked me. But there’s a simpler way to see who is right and who is wrong. In fact, I’ve already requested it. Once again, why don’t you provide me and the rest of the world with *your* predictions of world per-capita GDP and life expectancy at birth, for the years 2020, 2040, 2060, 2080, and 2100?

    Or is that too much science for you?

  25. #25 Pinko Punko
    May 19, 2006

    Things get so heated around here. I’ll skip the Jr. high shenanigans and talk about this Singularity summit we just had at Stanford. Of course too busy working to go, but have wen ever been joking about it all week. There is the one guy that wants humans to merge with machines and argues that reality could be a simulation by an advanced race. We have been making cracks about glitches in the simulation all week, especially when experiments fail, or someone says something kind of boneheaded. The simulation seems especially glitchy lately.

    Oh, economics aren’t quite “science” (not being perjorative).

  26. #26 Tim Lambert
    May 19, 2006

    I’m not impressed with Julian Simon. He observed that there were more people in the areas of Sri Lanka with low malaria rates and concluded that more people causes less malaria.

  27. #27 z
    May 19, 2006

    I have to ask whether world-per-capita GDP is an unalloyed positive, without some examination of the distribution of per capita GDP? Are we better off with the starving fraction of humanity continuing on, but increasing the wealth of the outliers at the other end of the spectrum? With or without consideration of how their extravagant wealth contributes to the deterioration of the ecosystem, etc.?

  28. #28 Mark Bahner
    May 19, 2006

    “Oh, economics aren’t quite “science” (not being perjorative).”

    Do you think this matter of economics is science? If not, why not?

    I’ve made *falsifiable* predictions of worldwide per-capita GDP, based on economic and technological trends theories. Similarly, Robert Lucas Jr. has made *falsifiable* predictions, based on his economic theories.

    How is that not science?

  29. #29 z
    May 19, 2006

    “How is that not science?”

    Well, I’m not an expert and therefore just playing a devil’s advocate here, but I would answer that by saying that it would need a rigorous underlying mathematical theoretical structure to be accepted as “real science”, much as biology was viewed as just “natural history” by the “hard science” folks until the advent of quantitative biochemistry and biophysics.

  30. #30 Mark Bahner
    May 20, 2006

    “Well, I’m not an expert and therefore just playing a devil’s advocate here, but I would answer that by saying that it would need a rigorous underlying mathematical theoretical structure to be accepted as ‘real science’,…”

    Heh, heh, heh!

    Modern economics is nothing, if not heavy in “underlying mathematical theoretical structure”!

    Here are some excerpts from Robert E. Lucas Jr.’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

    Lucas ‘ Nobel Prize acceptance speech

    “It was lucky for me that one of my undergraduate texts referred to Paul Samuelson’s Foundations of Economic Analysis as “the most important book in economics since the war.” Both the mathematics and the economics in Foundations were way over my head, but I was too ambitious to spend my summer on the second most important book in economics, and Samuelson’s confident and engaging style kept me going. All my spare time that summer went in to working through the first four chapters, line by line, going back to my calculus books when I needed to. By the beginning of fall quarter I was as good an economic technician as anyone on the Chicago faculty. Even more important, I had internalized Samuelson’s standards for when an economic question had been properly posed and when it had been answered, and was in a position to take charge of my own economic education.”

    “There was also plenty of interesting economics going on at Chicago. My interest in probability and statistics stemmed from an interest in econometrics, stimulated by courses of Zvi Griliches and Gregg Lewis. Donald Bear, a new Assistant Professor from Stanford, taught a valuable mathematical economics course, and gave valuable encouragement to technically inclined students. Arnold Harberger’s sequence in public finance was a lasting influence on me too. My thesis, which used data from U.S. manufacturing to estimate elasticities of substitution between capital and labor, was written under Harberger and Lewis, and was part of a larger project of Harberger’s analyzing the effects of various changes in the U.S. tax structure.”

    “Once my thesis was finished, I began theoretical work on the decisions of business firms to invest in physical capital and in improved technology. Dale Jorgenson had served on my Chicago thesis committee, and his work on investment had stimulated me. I spent a lot of time in my first years at Carnegie Tech learning the mathematics of dynamical systems and optimization over time, and trying to see how these methods could best be applied to economic questions. Economists of my cohort all over the world were engaged in this enterprise in the 1960s, and I remember exciting conferences on this theme at Chicago and Yale, led by Hirofumi Uzawa.”

    In fact, some economists (e.g. Arnold Kling) are of the opinion that modern economics may have too much math:

    Too much math in modern economics?

  31. #32 Mark Bahner
    May 20, 2006

    Geez, I never remember those quotation marks. Last time:

    Robert E. Lucas Jr. Nobel Prize speech

  32. #33 Ian Gould
    May 20, 2006

    “Oh, economics aren’t quite “science” (not being perjorative).”

    No, economics is a social science.

    However it is the most rigorously mathematically defined of the social sciences.

  33. #34 Ian Gould
    May 20, 2006

    Mark: “I’ve made falsifiable predictions of worldwide per-capita GDP, based on economic and technological trends theories. Similarly, Robert Lucas Jr. has made falsifiable predictions, based on his economic theories.

    How is that not science?”

    Mark, we’re on the same side here but while falsifiability is one important criteria of science it isn’t the only one.

    The average newspaper psychic makes falsifiable predictions too.

  34. #35 Mark Bahner
    May 22, 2006

    “Mark, we’re on the same side here but while falsifiability is one important criteria of science it isn’t the only one.”

    Yes, I only mentioned falsifiability to contrast my predictions with the “projections” in the IPCC TAR and Limits to Growth (LTG) series of books. The “projections” in the IPCC TAR and LTG are clearly not falsifiable, and therefore are clearly not science.

    I also stated that my (and Dr. Lucas’s) predictions were based on economic and technological trends theories. I didn’t think it was necessary to point out the many ways those theories qualify as “scientific,” because I don’t see how anyone could possibly claim otherwise. For example, even a very superficial reading of Ray Kurzweil’s work reveals it to be extremely solid, thorough, and cogent to the question of when computers might equal or exceed the human brain in capability. For example, here’s what Marvin Minsky wrote about “The Age of Spiritual Machines”:

    “With these brilliant descriptions of coming connections of computers with immortality, Kurzweil clearly takes his place as a leading futurist of our time. He links the relentless growth of our future technology to a universe in which artificial intelligence and nanotechnology may combine to bring unimaginable wealth and longevity, not merely to our descendants, but to some of those living today.”
    – Marvin Minsky,
    Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, M.I.T.

    Needless to say, Marvin Minsky probably knows something about artificial intelligence!:

    http://web.media.mit.edu/~minsky/minskybiog.html

  35. #36 Dano
    May 22, 2006

    In case any lurkers out there might, fantastically, think Bahner might be right (hey, you never know):

    The “projections” in the IPCC TAR and LTG are clearly not falsifiable, and therefore are clearly not science.

    Yes, as you have been told countless times, yet you continue to use them to pound one of the subjects of your search bot (‘IPCC’).

    They are used in adaptive management schemes. You manage to them or use them to verify your management objectives.

    Your brilliance has not uncovered some tinfoil hat-worthy scheme.

    Best,

    D

  36. #37 Mark Bahner
    May 22, 2006

    “In case any lurkers out there might, fantastically, think Bahner might be right…”

    …let’s see what Jesse Ausubel (11-year member of the National Academy of Sciences, and 5-year Program Manager for the National Academy of Engineering) has said. From Jesse Ausubel’s website:

    “The IPCC’s 2001 Third Assessment Report uses 40 scenarios which show decarbonization and carbonization going in all different directions with no probabilities attached. Failing to provide probabilities is unscientific and reveals the political bias of the results, said Ausubel.”

    Jesse Ausubel also said, “What I would do is try to make people put money where their mouth is. The IPCC doesn’t even put probabilities on its results.”

    Jesse Ausubel: “The IPCC doesn’t even put probabilities on its results.”

    So…we have “Dano”…an anonymous poster who has repeatedly implied that he thinks predicting future methane concentrations, CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and resultant temperature increases is like predicting the lottery. He says that what the IPCC did was just fine.

    And we have Jesse Ausubel (11-year member of the National Academy of Sciences, 5-year Program Director at the National Academy of Engineering) saying that failing to provide probabilities is unscientific and reveals political bias.

    Hmmmm…”Dano” on one hand, and Jesse Ausubel on the other.

    Well, let’s generously (to “Dano”!) say it’s too close to call, and go to James Hansen, the Father (or Godfather) of global warming:

    “Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate…scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions.”

    So we have Dano on one hand, and Jesse Ausubel and James Hansen on the other. Hmmmm…it’s so hard to figure out who is right…

  37. #38 Mark Bahner
    May 23, 2006

    A couple more things…

    In case any lurkers out there might, fantastically, think Dano might be right (and Jesse Ausubel and James Hansen wrong)…

    …let’s parse the logic of Dano’s theory on the IPCC TAR scenarios:

    “They are used in adaptive management schemes. You manage to them or use them to verify your management objectives.”

    Does that make any sense? No, it doesn’t make any sense, when one thinks about it in a logical manner.

    Dano is right that scenarios are used in adaptive management schemes. But adaptive management schemes are typically developed for EXTERNAL events, or at least events over which one has no significant control.

    For example, it makes sense for me to plan for what I’d do if my house was totaled by a hurricane. (First, I make sure I’ve got insurance. Then I make sure I’ve got an inventory of my property. I make sure I’ve got important documents (birth certificate, title to the house, whatever) in a place that’s secure…and probably portable. Etc.

    BUT…does it make any sense at all for me to develop an “adaptive management scheme” for the eventuality that I will go to the Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut, and lose $100,000?

    No, of course not. Because that’s an internal event. That’s something I *can* control, so there is absolutely no need to “adapt” to it. I “adapt” by not losing the $100,000 in the first place! (Note: I would ever even lose $1,000 in either place…and probably never even $100.)

    So can the IPCC TAR “scenarios” be plausibly put forward as legitimate parts of an adaptive management scheme? No, of course not. Here is a graph of the various scenarios from the IPCC TAR:

    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/figts-17.htm

    Does it make any sense to do “adaptive management” techniques for the A1F1 and A2 scenarios? No! Why not? Because they will NEVER happen. As I’ve pointed out to “Dano” before, it’s like doing adaptive management for the poop that will fall from the sky if pigs can fly.

    The inescapable conclusion for anyone who looks at the matter rationally and scientifically, is that the IPCC TAR scenarios are pseudoscience, and were intended to scare, not to scientifically evaluate.

  38. #39 Pinko Punko
    May 26, 2006

    No one will ever see this, but we have video of Zager and Evans here. It is a hoot.

  39. #40 Tim Lambert
    May 26, 2006

    WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING

    Pinko Punko’s link also has “Seasons in the Sun”, the worst song ever in the history of the universe.

    WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING

  40. #41 w.
    May 29, 2006

    I’m an economist and I agree completely that economics isn’t a science. It’s a social science, albeit with some practitioners who rely too much on quantitative methods and begin to imagine it is a hard science.

  41. #42 colleen takac
    August 3, 2006

    It is interesting how we hypothesise about what is to come within the next millennium and ignoring what ground work is being put into place by whom, The state or multi nationals? Our children must have a mobile phone for their safety, do they also need a microchip for the same reason or to distinguish them for others? Who knows what the sales pitch will be , or by that time may be there will be no choice.

    History is the greatest teacher yet we never understand the lessons taught. For example understanding how the human animal can have such disregard for the protection and nurturing of its dependant young and to relish the power held over the poor and mentally ill by way essential needs. In 2525 I believe we will have a system that categorises one’s eligibility to be a member of the society.