Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sorry, but that's SO not happening

A recent post on Gizmodo gushed over a utopian scenario that was presented on Neil deGrasse Tyson's "Cosmos" this week. It presented a very rosy (and not-so-subtly left-leaning) prediction for the possible future of humanity. It was pretty silly from start to finish, so I had to comment. First, the video (no sound for the first few seconds):
video

Wait, so the earth, which changed constantly long before humans got here, will magically stop changing, and even go in reverse, once we stop driving SUVs? Whether you accept global warming/climate change/global weirding/whatever it is this week or not, that is a dumb prediction. Even if we were to shift the entire planet to an energy source powered by good wishes and unicorn farts--hell, even if all humanity goes extinct--the planet is still going to change. That's part and parcel of being on a wobbling rock hurtling through space at fantastic speeds. While stopping all forms of combustion would likely have positive effects, saying that it would be like a magical rewind button for the earth is laughable.

​As far as moving beyond poverty and strife and going to the stars singing Kumbaya--you're kidding me, right? Unless evolution removes all differences--and even the perception of the possibility for difference--not happening. Even at that, there has always been competition in nature--for resources, for mates, whatever--what makes anyone think that that is somehow going to change? I believe it was Scott Adams (creator of "Dilbert") who said that people are always going to be greedy, horny, and stupid. Uh, take a look around, folks--does it look like he's wrong? As in "Idiocracy," morons always breed faster.

​The very *best* we can hope for is that time will allow us to shed *some* of our more destructive sectarian and tribal traditions, like religion, and allow us to explore in earnest for a more objective and robust secular moral structure (it exists; read Sam Harris or Stefan Molyneux), opening the door to much greater understanding, agreement, and collaboration than we see today. Even that is probably pie in the sky, and still would be far from the utopia posited on Cosmos.
​I hate to piss on anybody's parade--I am dazzled by the Star Trek future as much as the next geek--but the pragmatist in me just doesn't see it. Sorry.
Best comment of the thread (even though I happen to like Tyson):
Fuck this and Fuck NDT.
"Once my cliched left-wing propaganda fantasies are ameliorated by Republicans dying off, all of the left-wing scare-hype touchstones will no longer be a problem. Then, our scientifically managed politically totalitarian society will act on 'nomadic instincts' and build bromide-powered bullshit machines that look like a bad episode of Star Trek TNG"
Somebody call the 90s and take their pop-culture scientist back!

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