jeudi 12 août 2010

Answering TFP citing Allègre


Allègre concludes with a meaningful phrase from Marcel Gauchet “Love of nature is a poor disguise for hatred of mankind.” And he asks: “By stifling industry and agriculture, nuclear energy, oil, ethanol, coal, hydroelectric dams, GM crops, growth, etc., how will the world live? Will it go back to tribal life?” (pp. 60 ss.)

From TFP article The Green Cult.

One ecologist is not another. I can answer for myself.

What would I want to stifle, why, and would one need "tribal life" to replace it? By the way, is tribal life the primitive condition of mankind?

As a creationist, I am perfectly convinced Adam was a farmer. Saying "Eve span" is maybe an anachronism, unless she learned it from Ada and Silla before she died, but "Adam ploughed" is literally true.

Would I want to stifle industry?

In a sense, yes: I believe mass production is sometimes mass destruction of smaller producers. I think the Luddites were perfectly reasonable in wanting spinning and weaving to remain small yield per spinner/spinster and weaver, because that leaves more room for people to spin and weave and earn their living from that than if a few companies produce cheaply for the masses. I believe those masses could in part be better employed, richer, if more of them were involved in production, each and every branch.

Would I want to stifle agriculture?

Growth per acre - no, or not much. An ecologist in India has found that a given piece of land ran biodynamically produces 50 - 80% of a modern conventional piece of land.

Acres involved - on the contrary, I am sad when good farming land or vineyards become parking places and industrial zones. If part is lost in growth per acre, that should be compensated by a similar gain on part of acres involved.

Growth per farming personnel - yes, I think a man who can run his farm alone with a tractor could also run it along with two or three family members, or four or five, with an ox instead of a tractor. Same farm, same crop, just more people involved in production.

If I want jeans to be sewn by more people, I also want sowing and gathering done by more people on a farm. Not a tribe, like in Red Indians, necessarily, but a family.

If more people are there on the farms to produce food, more is of course eaten on farm and less is involved in commerce, but if more people are on farms producing food, less people are outside farms needing food to be transported from farms.

Would I want to stifle GM crops?

Yes. If genetic modification takes traditional ways, such as grafting, such as crossbreeding, such as selective breeding, I have no issue with that. Obviously I am a fan of Mendel's crossbreeding of peas.

I do have concern about modern ways of Genetical Modification. Crops is not the worst use of it, and I do not think such a crop needs to be taken out of all production. BUT if part of modification is sterility after yield, i e an obligation to buy next years sowing from Monsanto, yes, then I would very much like to stop that genetic modification. Otherwise Monsanto will be in a position to stifle crops simply by rooting out non-modified crops "for commercial reasons" and then limiting its own yield or getting out of business.

Would I like to stifle modern energies?

Uranium - Yes. I would like to stifle uranium mining, because it is a dangerous use energy, if not for post-Harrisburg reactors correctly used, at least for post-Harrisburg reactors incorrectly used. Having a Moslem population in US and aircraft and the Twin Towers so high their fall made 5000 dead was to put it mildly, less than prudent. Not necessarily because they are Moslems as such, but because Moslems are not at all the majority nor very like the majority of US population and also even more because US policies in Mid-East upset quite a few of them. Mining is also dangerous.

Hydroelectric dams - Yes. They drown good farmland, and agriculture is far more important to man than electricity.

Coal, oil - yes and no. I would like them to be less used, in such uses as can be replaced by not transporting but producing close to consumers. I also would like them to be less used when replaceable by more men and animals on a farm, more men in an urban kind of production. But burning these three is not very different from burning other things, like cut down (branches of) trees (or cut down old ones, that might have killed someone if left to fall by themselves) or ethanol. Obviously I think ethanol has very good uses other than for burning, like drinking.

BUT I find the Carbon Dioxide Scare along with Near Future Scarcity Scare mutually exclusive scares for Combustible Fossile Material. If they are about to run out soon, they are nowhere near ever getting our atmosphere to carbon dioxide levels like Venus atmosphere. And some global warming I think can be taken. Not making it occasions for draught is a matter for dams of sea water, strategically placed for making rains in challanged places.

Solar energy - No.

If there are legitimate uses of electricity that cannot be replaced by involving more people (such as military and medical uses, and internet), I think solar energy may be a good replacement for them.*

Does this, does what I want, amount to a "return to tribal life"?

No. Claude Allègre, of French Academy of Sciences uses that figure of speech with some success, because he is an Evolutionist. What goes on between men like Rahan and the Queen of Opar or Pal-Ul-Don and men like Darwin, Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Neil Armstrong, is just "history", and history, to a lot of science people and technocrats, as indeed to Henry Ford, "is bunk".

I do not agree history is bunk. If Claude Allègre had studied it, he would know that the men who built cathedrals, the men who invented polyphony and exact watches, the men who wrote Æneid and Beowulf or Summa Theologica or Pensées, the latter of whom invented also the Wheelbarrow, never had access to Uranium produced electricity, nor were they transported in cars driven by Otto Daimler's motor for combusting petrol:

Jonathan Swift
Never went up in a lift.
Nor did the author of Robinson Crusoe
Do so.**

Their work was no worse for that. Their civilisation might even have been superior.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Médiathèque Musicale
Les Halles, Paris I
St Claire of Assisi

*So, in a future with less electricity some uses of it would be illegitimate, which ones? The top on my list is electro-choc "therapy" in psychiatry and electronic amplifying and distorsion in music. Also internet might make radio and TV as less interactive and non-textual media superfluous. But using internet or other recordings - even CD's - to learn the tune of a song, seems to me a perfectly valid use. Even after closing down Nuclear plants and so on.

**I cannot remember if this clerihew is by Edmund Clerihew Bentley (inventor of genre) himself or by some Distributist admirer of his, like Gilbert Keith Chesterton or Hilaire Belloc.