Why do we pay attention to the most dire of forecasts? I pulled this from a 2011 piece I wrote:

“You humans are a hardy breed. No matter how dire the circumstance, your species has managed to prosper.

You survived the Ice Age, the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Age of Aquarius (as well as Disco and Polyester). Mother Nature has thrown floods, earthquakes, droughts, plagues, pandemics, tornadoes, asteroids, tsunamis, hurricanes, melting glaciers and global warming at you. Not to mention world wars and nuclear proliferation.

Economically, you’ve withstood the Panics of 1819, 1825, 1837, 1847, 1857, 1866, 1873, 1884, 1890, 1893, 1896, 1907, 1929, 1933, 1938, 1973, 1987, 1998, 2000, and 2007-09 — and that is just over the past two centuries. You also saw through the Tulip Bubble, the South Sea Bubble, the Great Depression and the Great Recession, the Nifty-Fifty, the Asian Contagion, the Dot-com Bubble, the subprime fiasco and Bernie Madoff.

What is it going to take to kill this species off — or at least to bankrupt it?”

-Washington Post

Category: Humor, Investing, Psychology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

8 Responses to “What is it going to take to kill this species off?”

  1. fred2 says:

    Sure, I agree, probably nothing will kill this species off. But that’s not really the question any more, we’re not in a fight for survival now. But we are trying to work out how we can be better than we are as a species, that’s our challenge now.

    Climate change is a good example of this:
    Will climate change hurt the planet? No, not at all, it will just change the planet. Earth will be fine, just different.
    Will it make humans extinct? No, not at all, the richest will find a way and survive.
    Will it cause a huge peak in human misery? Yes it will, without a doubt, and add huge stress even to those who have the means to survive.

    So, I’m not sure of the point of this post. Yes we will survive, of course we will, it would take a dinosaur/meteor type event to kill us off. So survival is not the question, what matters is where we go from here with wealth, resource managment and the growth of humanity.
    Don’t take “survival” as your benchmark.

    • BennyProfane says:

      Yup. a large meteor/comet collision would be the only thing to do it. Not even nuclear war – there would be plenty to reproduce after that one.

    • rd says:

      Methane hydrates warming up and releasing their methane in large quantities along with hydrogen sulfide would do it. That would be a Permian extinction event. However, those make the news because they are so incredibly rare (once every few hundred million years). This would be unlikely to occur over the next few hundred years although extended very warm climate could potentially kick it into gear, but it didn’t even occur during the dinosaur period when the world was very warm with no ice cap..

      Even the sea level rise due to the remaining continental glaciation that has everybody in fear is noise level compared to the big 400 foot rise that occurred from 20,000 to 8,000 years ago when most of hte big continental glaciers melted and released huge quantities of fresh, cold water into the seas. Some of those releases occured when massive ice dams broke that could raise the sea level by a few feet in a few months in single surges.

      We have the choice to develop with future adaptation in mind or lock everything in place with no provisions for change. Typically, hard inflexible thinking doesn’t last a long time before it is overwhelmed by events.

      Most of the negative impacts attributed by climated change are really past decisions to live on the edge in a fragile structure or system and climate change simply moves the bar a little it and the past damage and lack of adaptability becomes exposed. For example, most coral reef destruction is due entirely to man-made causes, such as pollution, sedimentation due to silty runoff from deforested lands, destructive trawling fishing techniques etc. These same “delicate” coral reefs survived sea level level plunges and rises of hundreds of feet over the past 100,000 years as well as massive swings in global temperature but a couple of centuries of poorly thought out development and resoruce exploitation is doing them in.

  2. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    More of of our own species will certainly kill us deader than a door nail. In that sense, we’re no different than ANY species.

    Everybody keep on making babies.

    The next species to flourish and then die off? Whatever consumes our biomass and waste products.

    • econ1 says:

      I agree. While I am sure we can support two or three times as many people on earth. A stable population would mean less global warming, less food and water shortage, less overcrowding, less pollution and waste disposal issues. It would make solving the earth’s issues easier, or maybe doable at all. Having more than two off spring is far worse than driving a Hummer, using incandescent lights, and taking your groceries home in plastic bags.

  3. LiberTea says:

    The remarkable success of the human species seems to be due to its “specialization in adapability” and transmission of culture (technology).
    What other large life form exists simulatenously in arctic and tropical, alpine and lowland, desert and maritime, forest and plain ecosystems?

    Food changes generally taper at the top.
    I wonder how many top predators typically have lived at a time in an ecosystem, e.g. how many T-rexes at a time, how many Bengal tigers at a time, how many killer whales?
    I doubt if the breeding population of the top predators was ever more than 1-2 million per species at a time, if that many.
    The stress to the current biosphere results from having at the present time 7 billion of the most voracious predator ever produced invading every major niche, displacing or replacing the pre-existing predators.

    If there were a husbandman shepherdessing this situation, the herd would be thinned.
    But there seems not to be one.
    On the contrary, the inalienable right (except in China) of the population to reproduce freely apparently shall not be infringed.

    Greenhouses gases are a symptom. The underlying problem is overpopulation.

  4. ERISANation says:

    Don’t many demographic trends suggest that maybe in the next 100 years or so world population will decline? Nations will continue to compete, maybe for the younger and fertile.