I received the following letter in February 2015 from a farmer in South Australia – I thought it made some interesting points. Dick Smith
To Mr. Dick Smith. Author of Population Crisis.
I have just discovered your book, Population Crisis and I find it an excellent publication. Don’t ask why it has taken me four years to read it. Perhaps I had other things to do, like plunder the planet and add lots of methane to our atmosphere. (I run cattle and sheep for a living.)
I have no argument nor criticism of what you say in the book except that I am far more pessimistic of humanities future than you are. I refer only to the first paragraph of chapter 11. The search for solutions. The girl effect.
You believe humanity has the ingenuity and resourcefulness to tackle the issues that confronts us. I agree that individually we are quite intelligent. Collectively we are seriously dumb! Committees and Governments have proved this over and over again.
Mr. Smith, you must have heard that old joke where a Committee was formed to design a horse and they ended up with a camel. There is truth in this innocuous piece of humour. One only needs to look at the turmoil humanity is in as we speak which highlights our inability to unite and combat this self made destruction.
I also am of the unshakable belief that humanity is one of natures failed experiments.
I paraphrase the late Carl Sagan. ” The reason we have not heard from anyone out there (SETI program) is that a life form that develops technology is it self eventually destroyed by the hidden consequences of that technology.”
Sagan went on to say he believed the Universe is teeming with life but technology is extraordinary rare. Which for the overall scheme of things is fortunate.
Fortunate because we have staring us in the face the irrefutable proof that continued survival of our species has been demonstrated by Australia’s original people. 40,000 years as hunter/gathers while the rise of technology in a mere 350 years or so has brought the planet to the brink of being unliveable for our techno species.
I suspect that the majority of human beings believe that the development of technology is essential for continued existence. This is not difficult to understand as so many species of animal have become extinct without technology long before hominids even evolved. With our techno knowledge, our ability to send vehicles into space, our ability to explore other planets and we blew it all away because we lacked the ability to cooperate and therefore lost control of our technology.
I believe that by the end of this century and after the global holocaust where we have behaved towards one another like rats in an overcrowded sewer there will be only about one or perhaps two million homo sapiens left and they will survive as hunter/gatherers.
Why I think humanity has already lost the battle to survive.
Humanity has committed intellectual suicide. How? RELIGION.
Humanity is committing physical suicide. Why? GREED.
Prof. Brian Cox has told us that the rise of homo sapiens was a mere fluke of nature. All it would have taken to disallow our species to evolve would have been a rock, about the size of a house brick, to strike the asteroid which formed the Gulf of Mexico 66 million years ago while it was still at a reasonable distance from Earth and thereby deflecting it’s course by only a fraction of a degree. Enough to miss this planet.
There would be at least half of humanity who would scoff at Prof. Cox’s observation. Many of these scoffers live, work and play in the western world. Intelligent, well educated westerners who have chosen to commit intellectual suicide in a belief system which ignores the irrefutable scientific evidence of evolution. Some of these people are my dearest friends. Some even flatly deny the spectre of climate change. How is cooperation to combat this technological induced threat to our existence be obtained when half the population is on it’s collective knees praying for salvation?
Your audience with his Eminence George Pell was a classic example of intellectual suicide by an educated man. There will be no cooperation from him et al to save our planet because he et al will simply not believe what is happening. In regard to Prof. Cos’s rock, Pell would argue that it was his God that caused the collision in the first place so humanity would arise. That is the sort of intellect that makes cooperation unobtainable. Until of course it is too late.
I wonder, sometimes, if Televisions Life After People program is a subtle warning deliberately aired to get the masses thinking. Is that to much to ask of the media?
The few hunter/gathers that will survive into the next millennium will take with them historical knowledge of what happened to their planet. These people will likely be descendants of the 3 billion which are suffering extreme poverty today. Having been exposed to such hardship the lessons learnt in how to survive in such conditions, lessons passed down from generation to generation will have prepared them for transition to hunter/gathering.
I do not see this transition as a further step down in poverty but a release from the constrains of movement. Hunter/gathering for the survivors will be a new beginning. Free from relying on unreliable, spasmodic and politically motivated aid from the so called developed world.
Ever increasing technological development takes us closer to oblivion. Examples. The first person to live to 150 has already been born. (Even Joe Hockey has acknowledged that.) The first person to live for 1000 years will be born in the 21st century. This of course has nothing to do with evolution but all to do with genetic engineering. Designers and engineers are currently working on the development of an autonomous robotic soldier. The reason for this project given to a sceptic journalist was and I quote “because we can.” And one more Mr. Smith which you would be acutely aware of. The failure of interface between humans and technology tragically demonstrated by the European AirBus, a failure that began in 1982 and is still not solved today. Where did this old farmer get that from? One of my closest friends is a Qantas captain on the A330 and he hates the technology with a passion.
Perhaps a little humour to ease the tension.
I can imagine a couple of thousand years from now a hunter, lets call him Flintstone, turns up at the cave with a round piece of wood with a hole in the middle and gleefully tells the others that this can be made into a device which will make their lives so much easier. Flintstone calls this object a Wheel.
They club him senseless and burn his “wheel.” Now that is an intelligent species.
I know that I am a doom-sayer and a Luddite to boot but I make no excuse for that. However, Mr. Smith, one day sooner or later one of us doomy-Luddites is going to be right. It is inevitable.