Thursday, December 8, 2022

#343 / A "No Hope" Guy


That "No Hope" guy I am talking about in my headline, and pictured above, is Guy R. McPherson. Wikipedia says that McPherson is promulgating "doomer fringe theories," such as NTHE, "Near-Term Human Extinction." That is exactly what he is doing. In a 2015 article, McPherson is quoted as saying, "The lights are about to go out on our species." He hasn't changed his mind. 
In a letter he posted to Academia Letters, in 2021, "Near Term Human Extinction" is McPherson's subject. His letter is entitled, "Rapid Loss of Habitat for Homo Sapiens." If you click that link you can download McPherson's letter, and read all about it. Here is a short extract:
Our membership in the animal kingdom comes with the ability to predict that loss of habitat will cause the functional extinction of our species, as with other animals. Such a loss of habitat will make us functionally extinct. Shortly thereafter, our species will disappear from Earth. Those who choose to live in artificial “habitats” such as belowground bunkers will experience an environment rich in ionizing radiation as nuclear power plants melt down uncontrollably, unstable local temperatures, increasing inability to secure clean water and healthy food, and other significant challenges to the continuation of human life.

This current paper describes a few means by which Earth could lose all habitat for Homo sapiens, a process that is already under way. Human extinction likely was triggered when Earth exceeded 2 C above the 1750 baseline. After all, an “increase of 1.5 degrees is the maximum the planet can tolerate; … at worst, [such a rise in temperature above the 1750 baseline will cause] the extinction of humankind altogether” (Gaub, 2019). In other words, human extinction likely is guaranteed with no further degradation of planetary habitat in the future.
That is only the start! The McPherson "Letter" is not really that long, and I encourage anyone reading this blog posting to download and review the full document. Near the end, you will find out how McPherson accommodates himself to the "bad news" he is delivering to the human species: 
Although the future of humanity might be short and unpleasant, this is no reason for despair. All adults know we will die. Similarly, we have long known that all species go extinct. Our character is defined by how we live in light of the terminal diagnosis we were given at birth.
Somehow, this is not a message I find to be consoling. I think that we do need to challenge the idea that the "lights are going out" on our human world. I have been known, of course, to claim that, "Hope is the most promising antidote," quoting a good friend to that effect. 

Let me say though, that I think the McPherson letter is helpful, because it does outline real "facts" that show us that we must make huge and transformative changes in what we are currently doing. McPherson implies that there is really no chance of making such changes. "Possibility," however, not "inevitability," is the name of the place in which we always find ourselves. Even in the bleak confines of the world as outlined by McPherson, doing something "new," and "different" is possible. 

"Hope" is the antidote to a hopelessness that immobilizes, but let's remember this: 


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