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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Global Warming Hysteria: Shrink the People!



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I used to joke that if global warming hysterics were really serious about their belief that WE’RE KILLING THE PLANET!, they would urge shrinking us to the size of Pigmies so we would use fewer resources.

Remembering my old maxim: If I can make a proposal sarcastically, some radical will propose it seriously; a bioethics professor (of course!) from NYU named Matthew Liao has done just that. First, Liao thinks the crisis is dire. From, “Hand-Made Humans May Hold the Key to Saving the World:”

Human-induced climate change is one of the biggest problems that we face today. Millions could suffer hunger, water shortages, diseases and coastal flooding because of climate change. The latest science suggests that we may be near or even beyond the point of no return.

Dubious, at best. GWHs have been making that warning for almost a decade. And yet, the UK’s Met Office, and even James Hansen, have admitted recently that there has been no statistically significant warming for nearly 20 years and stories are now appearing even among true believers that the warming has been less than first thought.

Liao proposes engineering the human race to save the planet:

Before I explain the proposal, let me make clear that human engineering is intended to be a voluntary activity – possibly supported by incentives such as tax breaks or sponsored healthcare – rather than a coerced, mandatory activity. My colleagues and I are positively against any form of coercion of the sort that the Nazis perpetrated in the past (segregation, sterilisation and genocide).

 If Liao really believes his hysteria, how explain making his proposal purely voluntary? Mass extinction of the human race and other life on the planet would surely justify coerced solutions.

And what, pray tell, are these “human engineering” solutions?

1. Making us intolerant to eating meat:

Some experts estimate that each of the world’s 1.5 billion cows alone emit 100 litres to 500 litres of methane a day…Human engineering could help here. Just as some people have a natural intolerance to milk or crayfish, it is possible artificially to induce mild intolerance to red meat by stimulating the immune system against common bovine proteins. The immune system would then become primed to react to them, and henceforth eating ‘’eco-unfriendly’’ food would induce unpleasant experiences…A potentially safe and practical way of inducing such intolerance may be to produce ‘’meat’’ patches – akin to nicotine patches.

Practical?  Good grief.

2. Make humans smaller:

How could height reduction be achieved? Height is determined partly by genetic factors and partly through diet and stressors. One possibility is to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis, which is now employed in fertility clinics as a means of screening out embryos with inherited genetic diseases. One might be able to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis to select shorter children. This would not involve modifying or altering the genetic material of embryos in any way. It would simply involve rethinking the criteria for selecting which embryos to implant.

Also, one might consider hormone treatment either to affect growth hormone levels or to trigger the closing of the growth plate earlier than normal. Hormone treatments are already used for growth reduction in excessively tall children.

Not good for the NBA.

3. Cognitive enhancing women so they will have fewer children:

In the US, for example, women with low cognitive ability are more likely to have children before age 18. Hence, another possible human engineering solution is to use cognition enhancements, such as Ritalin and Modafinil, to achieve lower birth rates. As with education, there are many other, more compelling reasons to improve cognition, but the fertility effect may be desirable as a means of tackling climate change. Even if the direct cognitive effect on fertility is minor, cognition enhancements may help increase the ability of people to educate themselves, which would then affect fertility and, indirectly, climate change.

That sound you hear is my eyes rolling.

4. Use drugs to make us altruistic: 

Many environmental problems are collective action problems, in which individuals do not co-operate for the common good…Pharmacological induction of altruism and empathy may help here. There is evidence that altruism and empathy have biological underpinnings. For example, test subjects given the prosocial hormone oxytocin were more willing to share money with strangers and to behave in a more trustworthy way…This suggests that interventions affecting the sensitivity in these neural systems could increase the willingness to co-operate with social rules or goals.

Again, I am not proposing that we coerce someone to take up these pharmacological measures. Instead, there might be someone who wants to do the right thing, but owing to a weakness of will, cannot get himself to do the right thing. 

But people who need drugs to be altruistic and empathetic probably wouldn’t have the altruism or empathy to take the drugs. And what’s with the meme that others don’t have the “will power” to do what the hysterics want done?  Too smug by half.

So, we are told simultaneously that the crisis is dire and we are out of time, but rest assured, we will only utilize voluntary technological solutions, which should be noted, will not be doable for decades–if ever–and in any event, would take generations to have any real impact. That’s incoherent.

This is all so silly. And it makes me think that many of the GWHs don’t really believe much of their own hysteria. That may be because climate change is as much a political gambit to empower an international technocracy as it is an urgent scientific scare.

HT: Therese Mackay



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