When common sense becomes idiocy, and uncommon ideas become accepted, it’s called a paradigm shift. We are in the throes of one now. The pendulum has swung, the Rubicon is crossed, because “the times, they are a changin’.”
Nothing exemplifies this more than an article in the Washington Post titled, We don’t need to save endangered species. Extinction is part of evolution. The author is, R. Alexander Pyron who is the Robert F. Griggs Associate Professor of Biology at George Washington University.
It’s a courageous article that lays out the case to stop obsessing over the effect of human civilization on the planet, and start making the future of humanity a priority over polar bears. Extinction is part of the evolutionary cycle, and if Snail Darters go extinct because we’ve dammed the rivers, so be it. That’s a natural consequence of one organism gaining control over an environment and pushing out another. It happens in nature all the time.
Nature adapts. No one actually suffered when the Do-Do Bird went extinct. The Earth has been through multiple mass extinctions when as much as 95% of species died. Life always came back in a flourish, and with more diversity. That’s how humanity came to evolve.
He’s not advocating we pave over the continents with asphalt and chrome. He advocates for sustainability, but sustainability for humans, and let the chips fall as they may for other species. He doesn’t use these words, but it could be termed a return to conservation, in lieu of rabid environmentalism. It’s remarkable given that common wisdom has been, for decades now, humans are at fault for destroying the planet.
It’s remarkable because it’s an example of the paradigm shift. It’s particularly remarkable, because it’s a new battle front in the culture war. What we are seeing is a change in thinking within academia. The scientific community is beginning to question itself.
After all, it was scientists who raised the furor that got DDT banned to save eagles, and allow millions of people to die from malaria instead. It was scientists who said we made the temperature of the planet go up by a fraction of a degree, and require sacrifices to mitigate perceived damage from man-made CO2, when in reality it helps plants grow. Science gets it wrong, frequently.
The scientific community is in the middle of a culture war, and it’s part of the broader culture war that is sweeping through society. It’s the paradigm shift. Some people think the world is turning topsy-turvy, and others think its finally returning to common sense.
Women who have been abused are no longer intimidated by their abusers and are calling them out. That seems a good thing.
People are tired and annoyed at overpaid, ignorant celebrities shooting off their mouth, and taking a knee. Also a good thing.
The value of the entertainment industry as a whole is faltering, as it pumps out the umpteenth sequel, songs that all sound the same and tired, unfunny, politicized humor. People want original and creative works that the industry can’t provide.
Government (at least mine) is turning it’s attention to improving life for the people it governs, instead of sacrificing our interests for the sake of weaving us into some kind of world corporation. That is a very good thing.
Not only is it attending to the business of governing the people who elected it, it’s even purging the corruption that led to its misapplication. There are people in high places falling everyday, called out as thieves, liars and hypocrites. There will be many going to jail.
The economy is turning to safe, secure crypto-currency that will eliminate the blood sucking banks. The middleman role financial institutions imposed to carve their wealth from ours is going extinct, and when it happens, like the Do-Do Bird, we aren’t going to miss them.
Technology is reaching for computing speeds and algorithms that promise to drive us into a new age of robotics and artificial intelligence. In spite of fears this will become an Orwellian nightmare, an open source world is emerging that takes the power of information away from elites and puts it in the hands of the people.
And scientists are finally questioning their ability to be fair and objective. The practice of fudging data to fit an agenda is falling out of favor as mountains of peer reviewed work is found to be based on biased, or even fraudulent statistics. It has become apparent that the quest for funding has taken priority over the quest for truth, and the scientific community is doing some soul searching.
In the midst of all this change, there is a return to spirituality at it’s core. Responsible people are realizing the vacuous, soulless, hopelessness of a sterile and godless universe is unappealing, except to those who don’t want to be held to a moral framework. People are realizing there is more interconnectedness, more organization and more coherence to the universe than particle soup and gravity can explain. People are realizing science has misled us about a lot of things.
The paradigm is changing. A new world view is emerging that values truth over happy thoughts. Authenticity is gaining admiration in society, at the expense of materialistic greed and phony marketing propaganda. And at least a few scientists are waking to the fact they don’t know shit.
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