The great silence: Just 4 in 10,000 galaxies may host intelligent aliens

Jul 6, 2024
1
0
10
Visit site
Didn't we also just find evidence vaguely suggesting Dyson spheres in our own galaxy? We have no evidence, having never encountered a single alien lifeform, to be making significant or factual claims about the nature of the search for alien life. Limiting the scope is good, but for all we know every planet has life buried under the surface in tiny pockets of habitable conditions. But we don't know... We have so many criteria for spotting alien life but none that should actually fully eliminate most planets as potentially home to microbes, which may eventually terraform and evolve like they did on earth. Some scientists talk like we've been observing distant worlds clearly enough to spot a lack of cities on their surfaces, but we really can't even tell that much.
 
The other side of the uncertainty band would be 20,000 advanced civilizations per galaxy.

What the headline writers choose to focus on is just a matter of their own personal biases.

The article does make a point that we might be extremely rare, and therefore should take care of ourselves. But, I think we are going to want to do that whether we are rare or not.

One thing that seemed to be missing from the article is the potential for something like the Thea collision hypothesis to be necessary for the start of plate tectonics on a planet. If it requires not just any collision, but some small probability combination of masses, velocities and center of mass offsets at closest point, then that could be extremely rare.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Helio
We have exactly ONE known planet out of thousands detected that will sustain our species which we are rapidly making unlivable.

So what we have yet to find is a single technologically advanced species that is actually intelligent,

if Intelligence requires the capacity of self sustenance.
 
Nov 1, 2023
5
3
15
Visit site
The other side of the uncertainty band would be 20,000 advanced civilizations per galaxy.

What the headline writers choose to focus on is just a matter of their own personal biases.

The article does make a point that we might be extremely rare, and therefore should take care of ourselves. But, I think we are going to want to do that whether we are rare or not.

One thing that seemed to be missing from the article is the potential for something like the Thea collision hypothesis to be necessary for the start of plate tectonics on a planet. If it requires not just any collision, but some small probability combination of masses, velocities and center of mass offsets at closest point, then that could be extremely rare.
Well said
 
That's with the assumption that alien life was DNA life. And an Earth like environment.

Life is much more mysterious than energy, mass, light and gravity. And space, don't forget space.

It's a very unacceptable singularity. Our only singularity. And a slap in the face.

I stay away from it.......in understanding non living matter and physicality. Except for the heavy bias it applies to our reasoning. Things like randomness, probability and chaos. Living behavior products.

Products of choice. An Earth only property.

Addition, multiplication and reduction are life processes, you won't find them on Mars.

Mixing life with star study won't work.

Because of choice, life processes will remain statistical forever. A constant doesn't apply. With choice.

That choice is why we nibble at every tit and tittle of every theory.

Life is choice after choice until a choice is made for you.

Just a Saturday nickle.
 
Dec 25, 2023
17
3
15
Visit site
This article was total fiction. Just complete, total, guessing. No one could possibly have a clue as to how many planets with intelligent life there are. All of these so-called factors in the article are all unknowable. I wish I wouldn’t have wasted my time reading it.
 
Something rather implausible that is not a term in the Drake Equation, is that some quarter-billion years of solar energy would be stored up, just waiting for a technology-minded species to evolve and exploit it.

I don't see how a technological civilization like our own could come to exist without something similar to the giant "Earth battery" that we've used to get to where we are.

And that "Earth battery" is about to go into decline, which may well limit "L" in the Drake Equation to a hundred years or so, at least in our case.
 
Jan, What are you calling the "Earth Battery"? Because you say it is a "quarter-billion years of solar energy", I am guessing you mean "fossil fuels"?

We really are not "running out" of that, we are just realizing that burning more of it will cause major changes in our climate. And, that will damage our technological infrastructure investments. Which may or may not cause social instability and threaten the existence of our technological capabilities.

Maybe. Not really that clear what in the "L" that will do. ;)

(There is a theory that human technological advancements were spurred by past changes in climate.)
 
What are you calling the "Earth Battery"?
We really are not "running out" of that, we are just realizing that burning more of it will cause major changes in our climate.
The evidence contradicts that on both counts.

Your latter point first: although climate change is in the news, we really are not voluntarily reducing our consumption at all. In fact, except for a small "blip" during the pandemic, fossil fuel use continues to increase every year, as does carbon emissions.

Rather than displacing fossil fuel, so-called "renewables" are merely boosting our energy-use growth.

And that brings up your former point.

It may be true that a lot of fossil fuel remains available — and will remain — available. But we've used up the "low-hanging fruit," and it costs more and more energy to produce such energy, So that doesn't matter from an economic point-of-view. What matters is the direction of the slope of the curve.

As the "master resource," continued growth in energy use is necessary to maintain economic growth.

The "techno-cornucopians" believe that "green growth" is possible, through the use of renewable energy. But there is no evidence that is possible; so-called "renewable" energy is soaked in oil, from the mining and processing of ores, to the transport of materials, to the fabrication, distribution, installation, and maintenance of wind turbines, solar panels, and hydropower, to the eventual de-commissioning and recycling of these resources — all of these things are utterly dependent on fossil fuel, primarily diesel.

Despite penetration of electric vehicles in the consumer market, diesel runs the world. There is no substitute in mining, long-haul transportation, and agriculture. The energy density is just too great, and electrification of those segments has proven to be impenetrable.

… that will damage our technological infrastructure investments. Which may or may not cause social instability and threaten the existence of our technological capabilities.
Outside of the few Great Depression survivors, few people alive today know what "negative growth" is like. You can't find a politician or business leader who will talk of "de-growth." This will send shock waves through our economy, technology, and way-of-life.

Howard Odum taught us that technology is a form of complexity, and that complexity is simply a form of embedded energy. When the energy growth slope goes negative, technology will, too. Technology will not "save us" from fossil fuel decline.

The entire continued growth of fossil energy has been due to US fracking, which is showing signs of faltering. When that slope turns negative, the entire world's growth in fossil energy will turn negative
(There is a theory that human technological advancements were spurred by past changes in climate.)
Technology has always been backed by growth in energy use. "Past climate change" only supplied the need. We extirpated the mega-fauna in order to endure the last ice age. Energy-rich Europeans "took over" entire continents to continue their energy growth, in the words of William Catton (Overshoot, 1982). We've run out of lands to conquer and people to exploit, and are furiously practising what Catton called "draw down," thus the scientific paper on the "Earth battery."

So, get ready for some interesting changes. Humans don't do well with changes in the direction of curves. We are at our best as economists, when the curve is going upward and onward forever.

But if something cannot continue, it will not — including infinite growth on a finite planet. Willam Rees has shown that we are using close to six planets' worth of resources. We are currently using about 40% more energy than that gathered by all the photosynthesizing plants (so-called "primary production") on the planet.

What could possibly go wrong with that?

I have seen the future, and it is powered by current photosynthesis. I'm just not sure I see any humans in that future.

I've dropped some names for your research, but let me know if you get stuck and need some assistance figuring this out. Politicians and business leaders aren't going to help you!
 
I am not very enamored with economists. I think more in terms of ecology and engineering. They include more of the things that economists leave out (and call "externalities").

Anyway, we somewhat agree in conclusions, but with some different reasoning. My main focus has been on human population growth. Like most animals, we have inbred traits that make us increase our population and expand our territories. We long ago reached the point where we have intraspecies (human-against-human) conflicts over territory, because everyplace is already inhabited by humans.

The humans who prevailed in past conflicts were either more numerous, or more technologically advanced.

But, it is correct that humans do not live in a sustainable fashion. We eat or otherwise consume things that are not replaced, and increase our numbers in the process.

We do seem to have come to the conclusion that we need "renewable" energy. But, we still don't seem to think about sustainable ecosystems. We see some of the damage, and try to compensate with protecting "endangered species", preserving "wild lands" etc. But, as populations increase, those concepts get swamped by day-to-day needs of more and more humans. So, not only did we cut down most of the forests and eat most of the big, huntable animals, and turn the grasslands into farms that kill everything we don't plant and everything besides us that eats what we plant, we used those technological tools to keep increasing our population, which means we need to do even more of the ecologically destructive things just to sustain the population we have now, but our population is still growing.

Economists are arguing that we can get population to level off (at about 10 billion humans) "when" everybody gets a certain level of individual monetary income. I think that is not realistic. Looking at human population densities in some crowded parts of the world, I would not be surprised if we head towards 20 billion. But, due to resource limitations, I don't think we will get there. We will kill each other, first. That practice, along with famines and plagues, are the things that have historically limited human population growth.

So, my bottom line is not that humans cannot come up with sustainable technology so that we can keep "expanding". My bottom line is that we cannot even sustain the population we have now, at a level that satisfies people and also restores the ecosystem we have exploited too severely.

To me, the "L" in Drake's Equation is more a function of learning self control as a species, to limit damage to our ecosystem and ourselves, than it is about running out of energy sources that we can tap to support our technologies. We are doing far better at technology development than we are at self control.
 
Last edited:
Mar 31, 2020
152
28
4,610
Visit site
Intelligent life in our universe or our is not extremely rare. Intelligent life in our galaxy is not extremely rare. We (humanity) are here and we are not the center of the universe. Intelligent lifeforms are observing us. They do not wish to contact us. They do not wish to be discovered.

When they observe us this is what they see. An ethnocentric race. The human race that is still struggling to come to terms with being human. We do not yet act as one race, the human race. Human problems stymie us. War, poverty and climate change to name a few.

Life dominates this world. It is the powerful force that exists on earth. We are like an oasis in the desert. The ingredients that give us life are from the galaxy and universe itself. We are not the only seed or a rare one. The status quo is alive and well, but one day we will hear an informative article regarding both sides of an argument. We can all look forward to that.
 
Economics is a social science.

If the collective actions of a species is not rational, measured, intelligent then that species, as a whole, can not be considered 'intelligent'.

Personally I think complex neurological organisms (us) have the potential for long vector insight, but it is a rarer, random accidental incident.
Mental efficiency demands we operate on reflex most of the time.
How often we have the wherewithal and/or luxury of reexamining our reflexes might be indicative of some degree of 'intelligence'.

People individually and especially collectively only react after the stuff has hit the fan.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jan Steinman
Questioner, your definition of "intelligence" seems to require perfectly logical decision making, always. That is not the definition most of us use.

For instance, Wikipedia says ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence )
"Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. It can be described as the ability to perceive or infer information; and to retain it as knowledge to be applied to adaptive behaviors within an environment or context."

But, dictionaries more typically define it as ( https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/intelligence )
"the ability to learn, understand, and make judgments or have opinions that are based on reason"

So, humans can be intelligent without being perfect.

And, we are beginning to realize that many animals have some degree of intelligence. For instance, tool use, self awareness, learning and planning all seem to be occurring in multiple species.

Humans clearly have the highest level of abstract thinking and planning, but it appears to be more a matter of degree than a unique trait.

And, if we are ever visited by an extraterrestrial life form, I am sure they will qualify as intelligent, but I doubt they will qualify as perfectly logical.

For one thing, prediction of the future is never likely to become perfect, and even the most intelligent beings will likely have some differences of opinion about future event probabilities. So, they would not be "perfectly" logical because they don't have "perfect" knowledge.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jan Steinman
The definition of intelligence shows us we can't define it. It's a large compass and has many components and requirements that we are not aware of. We don't know the recipe.

One can't study life, you can only observe it. And record the statistics(history) of it. Then argue about it.

Even modifying life is statistical, but modifying a non living function or structure is 100%.

Only life has an iffy result.

Definition of intelligence--------iffy result. And on Earth, man is the most iffy.
 
I am not very enamored with economists. I think more in terms of ecology and engineering.
I'm an engineer with an ecology degree. :)
My main focus has been on human population growth.
Laudable, but that's only 1/3rd of the problem, according to Paul Ehrlich, who came up with "I = P * A * T" or Impact equals Population times Affluence times Technology.

The demographers are basing their projections on fecundity going down as affluence and technology increase.

But this is a false premise.

What is "affluence?" I re-define Ehrlich's "A" term as "Access to energy," which I view as equivalent to "affluence," but more to the point.

Every time some do-gooder celebrity adopts a brown baby from the third world, the impact of that baby goes up by a factor of fifty! Yet, industrialized countries point at their own birth rates and demand that the third world reduce their population, seemingly oblivious that fecundity in the third world is a slave-labour program and a retirement plan, that can only be addressed through, TA DA! More energy!

So, at best, reducing population will require increasing energy, which will then more-than counter the reduced population. Atmospheric carbon will continue to rise as the third world reduces its population.
We do seem to have come to the conclusion that we need "renewable" energy.
Who is "we?" You got a mouse in your pocket? :)

I don't recognize "renewable energy," as created by technology. As it is utterly dependent on the excess energy of human technology, it is by no means renewable. When fossil sunlight goes into decline, so-called "renewable energy" will go into decline.

I like it, though. After reducing my needs as much as possible, I strive to use renewable energy for the little energy I use. But I don't fool myself into thinking that's sustainable, or that it's fossil-fuel-free.

The only truly renewable energy is that which has been powering life on this planet for some 3.5 billion years — photosynthesis.
But, we still don't seem to think about sustainable ecosystems.
Some of us are! The Permaculture movement is a case in point. It utilizes biomimicry to establish human food systems that are as close to the dirt as possible. I founded and operated a co-op Permaculture farm for fifteen years. We were assessed as a net carbon sink. So it is possible.
… we used those technological tools to keep increasing our population, which means we need to do even more of the ecologically destructive things just to sustain the population we have now, but our population is still growing.
Malthus was not wrong. He simply could not anticipate the huge, one-time gift of fossil sunlight we were about to squander in a couple-hundred years.

And it's not going to get any better, any time soon.

We need to be looking to indigenous people for guidance. They managed pretty well for at least some ~15,000 years, while white Europeans were inventing money, capitalism, employment, and exploitation, and collapse.
Economists are arguing that we can get population to level off (at about 10 billion humans) "when" everybody gets a certain level of individual monetary income. I think that is not realistic. Looking at human population densities in some crowded parts of the world, I would not be surprised if we head towards 20 billion. But, due to resource limitations, I don't think we will get there. We will kill each other, first. That practice, along with famines and plagues, are the things that have historically limited human population growth.
I agree that we will not attain ten billion.

And "monetary income" won't help control our numbers, as fossil sunlight goes into permanent, irrevocable decline.

Since Bretton Woods and the end of the gold standard, "money" has only held value as a proxy for energy — as evidenced by the hegemony of the US Dollar, propped up in value only due to its use as the default currency for purchasing oil.

As fossil sunlight goes into decline, the value of money will, as well. The only thing economists hate more than inflation is about to hit us hard: deflation.
My bottom line is that we cannot even sustain the population we have now, at a level that satisfies people and also restores the ecosystem we have exploited too severely.
So true!

But as an ecologist, I also see a glimmer of hope.

In ecology, competition is fostered in high-energy scenarios, whereas low-energy ones tend to foster cooperation.

As various curves turn from positive to negative, humanity may regain a desire to work together, although I'm dubious that can be happen in groups of more than about 150 people — certainly not for eight billion.

A lot of people will have to "go away" before that is possible — as well as reductions in the other two Ehrlich terms: less affluence and less technology.

The rate of decline will make a difference in how many can get through the coming bottleneck event. We lost our best chances for what Howard Odum called "A Prosperous Way Down." Now, it's a matter of how much it will hurt, and who it will hurt.

I'm not so hopeful about that. As long as we're sitting on top of the fossil sunlight peak, those who already have too much will only want more.
We are doing far better at technology development than we are at self control.
The two are inversely proportional, no? :)
 
Jan, I think your model is far too simplistic.

Humans do not all think alike. We are not going to get a consensus about how we should all behave. And, because we are social animals, some of us will be misguiding others of us for their own gratification, rather than agree to compromise for the long term good of humans or the rest of the inhabitants of our planet.

We will need a cultural change to generally accept some limitations. It is not clear how we will ever achieve that. Or if we will achieve it.

Other animals that have had exponential population spikes have then had drastic population declines, either because something changed that they could not adapt to, or because their own populations made changes that could not adapt to. Humans do not seem to be any more immune to that potential than other animals. And, our growing dependence on technology is a vulnerability for our species - if it is too complex to succeed in a retrenchment when the society supporting the technologies is disrupted, most individuals will not be able to cope. There is a potential for the most brutish to survive, and technological knowledge to be lost.

A doubt that humans will become extinct, but the survivors might get set back to stone age technology - and social order of those times.

In Drake's equation, that is the end of the "L" period. But, it might not be the only "L" period. There might be a series of technological societies that develop and then collapse. Maybe humans could still learn something about living within the system without perturbing it to the extent of forcing another collapse. It would seem to depend on how much learned knowledge can be transferred through a collapse and rebuild cycle. Given the destructive natures of a lot of individuals when they are not pleased, stored knowledge may get destroyed. These days, we have scavengers cutting the charging cables off EV chargers, and some angry person running a construction vehicle through a solar farm to destroy it.
 
Humans do not all think alike. We are not going to get a consensus about how we should all behave.
Certainly!

But like sub-atomic particles, humans behave in predictable ways in the aggregate. Does this photon go through the right slit, or the left slit? It doesn't much matter, because 50% of all the photons will ultimately go through each slit.

Likewise with humans. Individual actions, but predictable in the aggregate — all the while, proclaiming their individualism through their brand-name conformity!

You and I may spend a lot of time thinking about the future. But in the aggregate, humans just don't. And the pseudo-democracy called "voting" brings out the worst of humans' short-term interests!
We will need a cultural change to generally accept some limitations. It is not clear how we will ever achieve that. Or if we will achieve it.
Oh, there will be a cultural change, alright!

But it will be imposed by nature, not voluntarily taken up by more than just a few. And it won't take long before humans accept that as the "new normal."

Futurism-Got-Corn-graph-1.jpg

… our growing dependence on technology is a vulnerability for our species - if it is too complex to succeed in a retrenchment when the society supporting the technologies is disrupted, most individuals will not be able to cope.
Indeed, it may well be that very complexity that brings down civilization.

Joseph Tainter (The Collapse of Complex Societies) claims that civilizations keep getting more and more complex until the maintenance of that complexity begins to use more and more of that civilization's resources, until there is little left for satisfying the basic needs of its citizens.

Similar is Peter Turchin's claims that the "overproduction of elites" is what collapses civilizations. Look at today's adoration of popular movie stars and sports figures and business leaders. Not to mention Convicted Felon Battery Shark!

In pre-agrarian society, there was near-zero difference between the well-being of the lowest and the highest in a tribe. Indeed, many indigenous peoples had a custom of requiring those who amass wealth to give it all away.

Today, Elon Musk gets about one million times as much as the person who cleans his toilets!

"Not able to cope?" I think we're there.
There is a potential for the most brutish to survive, and technological knowledge to be lost.
Perhaps my view that "lost knowledge" is a certainty is what makes you think my ideas are simplistic?

In a slow crash, I could keep a tractor running on vegetable oil until the tractor fell apart, perhaps decades. My calculation is that an acre of oilseed crops could run that tractor for mechanized agriculture on 6-8 acres of food crops. A 6:1 energy return on energy invested (ERoEI) is about twice as much as a modern fracked oil well!

But that doesn't include the embedded energy of replacing the tractor when it became "used up." That knowledge will be lost when the energy that supports it is no longer available. That is entropy.

Similarly, there may not be enough oil available to drill more oil wells. Fritjov Capra (The Systems View of Life, et. al.) thinks 3:1 ERoEI is the minimum necessary for civilization.

We're there.
SharkFin.jpg

… doubt that humans will become extinct, but the survivors might get set back to stone age technology - and social order of those times.
I think human extinction is a toss-up in the next few decades.

Dr. Guy McPhereson (professor emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona) thinks near-term extinction is a certainty.

Going extinct is what species do when they can no longer adapt to their environment. They do it all the time. Of 1,000 species that ever lived, at least 999 are extinct.

If humans are reduced to subsistence hunting and gathering, well, we've extirpated 70% of the wildlife, and it is unlikely that what we've replaced wildlife with — livestock that are fed grain from far away — are going to survive for very long.

We've become detritivores, subsisting on 200,000,000-year-old dead things.

And those are soon to be in short supply, as we enter a vicious feedback loop. The current energy cost of producing a barrel of oil is about 1/3rd of a barrel of oil, so as oil production goes down, so does the ability to produce more oil. And no, windmills, solar panels, hydropower dams, and nuclear plants cannot be used to drill more oil wells. It's going to take diesel.

This is due to one of Tainter's complexities: we've become fixated on efficiency. But efficiency has an embedded energy cost — achieving 100% efficiency theoretically would require infinite energy, according to Claude Shannon!

There is a reason why, after some 2.5 billion years of evolution, most plants turn only about 1% of the sunlight that strikes their leaves into chemical energy. What is irrational is that we make solar panels that do twenty times better! How can that possibly continue? A reversion to the mean is inevitable.
In Drake's equation, that is the end of the "L" period. But, it might not be the only "L" period. There might be a series of technological societies that develop and then collapse.
There's a huge problem with that: a quarter-billion years of stored sunlight will not be available to a post-collapse culture that arises. We'll need that "Earth battery" to bootstrap a new technological society.

More likely is that sentient bonobos, cetaceans, or canids will evolve after we're gone. I hope their archaeologists discover our artifacts, and take them as a warning sign, rather than inspiration!
Maybe humans could still learn something about living within the system without perturbing it to the extent of forcing another collapse. It would seem to depend on how much learned knowledge can be transferred through a collapse and rebuild cycle.
C. S. ("Buzz") Holling studied this in detail, calling it "Panarchy," or "the ruler of everything."

It seems that all things, from sub-atomic particles to galaxy clusters, go in cycles, ruled by connectivity, resilience, and capital.

Humans are a "K-selected" species, and it won't take much to push us into the omega phase of release. Such a cycle can repeat.

But if one cycle damages the capital or potential dimension, the next cycle cannot be as large as the previous cycle. Thanks to the one-time gift of fossil sunlight, we are using six planet's worth of resources, and are heavily into overshoot. (See William Catton.)
Overshoot.png

By using up all the easily-retrieved fossil sunlight, and by reducing future generation's ability to grow food due to domestication and climate change, it appears unlikely that a human technological society can reappear anytime soon — if at all.

See that "K" on the Panarchy diagram? You are here!
 
Last edited:
While I am not disputing your general view of the trajectory of human population on Earth, I don't think you or I or anybody else is very good at modeling the future or predicting the end result. There is much more complexity than the smooth curves on your diagrams.

Humans have been able to continue to increase total population because we have developed technologies that support more people than the previous technologies. And the societies that evolved grew more complex as the technologies needed to support them became more complex. Some crashed, such as the Mayans, while others arose, such as the Aztecs. some got overrun, such as the Incas. There are probably other examples that we don't understand, such as what happened to the "Mound Builders". These societies had their elites, often in the form of priests/shamans. They had their rituals. They had "cities". It is not really clear if they did or did not exceed the carrying capacity of their corners of our planet's ecosystem.

It is clear that modern technology has tended to make much of the world into a single, intra-dependent society. So, if it fails, it might take down most of the human species, instead of just one small society surrounded by others that will pick up the pieces.

So, how we crash our current overpopulation is the critical question. There are those of us who are working on "sustainable" technologies, while others are predicting an unavoidable apocalyptic extinction. I personally think both are too simplistic.

I don't think we can reach and maintain a sustainable and stable population level so long as there are "poor" people reproducing at a much more than replacement rate and their children see others with better living conditions and "want those things too," to quote some of the migrants and refugees currently heading to Europe and North America.

And, the populations of the "relatively rich" that are supporting the cultures in Europe and North America are not having fewer children than needed to replace themselves because they feel that they have "enough", but rather they are recognizing that their own well being requires them to reduce their family sizes in order to support the social system that takes care of "everybody", not just themselves, but the "poor" and the "elites" too. So, the social dynamic really is not that people are feeling like they "have enough" and quit having so many children for that reason, it is that they recognize that they will have more if they limit their families. But, that has not been the social dynamic in less technological societies, where having many children who will take care of you in your old age and help you fight off "the others" in wars is the engrained dynamic.

What sort of population "crash" will eventually change this is not so clear. Can some countries crash while other endure, at least sufficiently to preserve technological knowledge? I think that is the most probable trajectory of an economically driven population crash.

For instance, China, which has about a sixth of the human population and a territory that still has abundant resources for technological infrastructure, also has a government that has already demonstrated that it can control human reproduction of its citizens. That led to some economic problems in the current global economic system. But if that global system is obviously crashing, China probably has the capability to retrench within its borders and maintain a technological society, and maybe even a stable population.

Of course, nuclear warfare leading to a global crash is an entirely different scenario. Technological knowledge may be totally lost among whoever survives that.

And, a small society that tends to shun technological things, such as the Amish, would be able to provide for themselves, but probably be unable to defend themselves against hoards of people who are left without any way to survive except to take from the few who are the primary producers. In the most desperate locations, even cannibalism doesn't seem unlikely, leaving only the most brutish to survive, if even they can.

I am sorry to say that I do not see a very good probability that humans will engineer a "soft landing" on population control, despite what the "mainstream" economists are predicting. As I have posted here before, I would not bet on humans, but I still root for us.
 
Last edited:
Are you "dissenting" that humans used technology to increase our population beyond what could have been supported by hunter-gatherer societies? That is what your post seems to indicate with the quote that you seem to have take offense to. I understand that you don't think that those population increases are sustainable indefinitely. And I agree with that, and did not say otherwise. I agree with you that the complexity of the technologies needed to support such large populations leave us very vulnerable to disruptions, and we are both expecting some sort of crash.

So, what exactly are you finding offensive, other than I don't agree that you can predict the future as certainly as you seem to think that you can?
 
Last edited:
This might be a little off topic but we have all the sustainable relative non polluting energy source that can give cheap juice to all, with the demand for many centuries right below our feet. Power for infrastructure and power for agriculture. Diesel from grains.

We can sprout any desert. Power any pollution or waste project. We can desalinate dry lake beds and put fresh water lakes in them.

The cost will be delivering it, not producing it. We can electrify all without emission with a steady reliable supply. Easily expandable. Can be installed at existing plants.

All we need is a disassociation drill bit. Batteries included.

But it worth installing shallow units now. We need an experienced tech and eng fields now.

With recent reports this might finally be catching on. What will be it's disadvantage?

What can not be done with cheap clean reliable electricity? We count on it now, let's make sure of the future. The demand can only be answered with coal for now. (worldwide demand)

Hasn't man always found refuge in a hole in the ground? Let's go deeper.

Whatever "use" problems and products there are, there is plenty of power to mitigate it.