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#30391 - 04/18/09 08:15 PM Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet?
coberst Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 369
Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet?

I am inclined to think that each human generation must consider itself as the steward of the earth and therefore must make available to the succeeding generations an inheritance undiminished to that received.

In this context what does "careful and responsible management" mean? I would say that there are two things that must be begun to make the whole process feasible. The first is that the public must be convinced that it is a responsible caretaker and not an owner and secondly the public must be provided with an acceptable standard whereby it can judge how each major issue affects the accomplishment of the overall task. This is an ongoing forever responsibility for every nation but for the purpose of discussion I am going to speak about it as localized to the US.

Selfishness and greed are fundamental components of human nature as we squander ours and all succeeding generations’ inheritance. How does a nation convince its people to temper this nature when the payoff goes not to the generation presently in charge but to generations yet to come in the very distant future? Generations too far removed to be encompassed by the evolved biological impulse to care for ones kin.

How is it possible to convince a man or woman to have the same concern for a generation five times removed as that man or woman has for their own progeny? I suspect it is not possible, but it does seem to me to be necessary to accomplish the task of stewardship.

Would it be possible to convince the American people to reject completely the use of air-conditioning so that generations five times removed could survive? Is it possible to create in a person a rational response strong enough to overcome the evolved nature of greed and selfishness? I cannot imagine any rational motivation of sufficient strength to divert the natural instincts of an unsophisticated people for an extended time. Therefore, the motivation force must be emotionally based or the people must become more sophisticated quickly.

Perhaps a compelling sense of stewardship must come through religion. Rationality appears to be insufficient for creating a compulsion to sacrifice immediate gratification for such remote ends.

Are you a good steward of this planet?


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#30400 - 04/20/09 08:52 AM Re: Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet? [Re: coberst]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Originally Posted By: coberst
Selfishness and greed are fundamental components of human nature

I don't think it's simply a matter of selfishness and greed, more a case of myopia. Morally 'responsible' people, also, are carried along on the crest of civilization's gigantic tidal wave toward self-destruction. As you say:

Originally Posted By: coberst
How is it possible to convince a man or woman to have the same concern for a generation five times removed as that man or woman has for their own progeny? I suspect it is not possible, but it does seem to me to be necessary to accomplish the task of stewardship.

Originally Posted By: coberst
Perhaps a compelling sense of stewardship must come through religion.

Certainly not through a religion that advocates large families and opposes contraception, for example. There's a very dangerous rationality deficit in that. Which religion did you have in mind?

Originally Posted By: coberst
Rationality appears to be insufficient...

Rationality is our only chance of survival. We need to be made conscious of what 'rational' means in this context. Let's hope against hope that that awareness comes soon enough.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#30419 - 04/21/09 06:30 AM Re: Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet? [Re: redewenur]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
I really agree whole-heartedly with Rede-- What religion do you have in mind Coberst? It seems to me that most religions are much more interested in the future increase in the number of their worshippers and personnel for their church than the future of the planet.

Even more people being added to population of the world does not seem to me to be any sort of sensible plan for the future.


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#30422 - 04/21/09 07:21 AM Re: Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet? [Re: Ellis]
coberst Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 369
Originally Posted By: Ellis
I really agree whole-heartedly with Rede-- What religion do you have in mind Coberst? It seems to me that most religions are much more interested in the future increase in the number of their worshippers and personnel for their church than the future of the planet.

Even more people being added to population of the world does not seem to me to be any sort of sensible plan for the future.



Religion seems to be the only way that people will take a long view. Few people know much about or have confidence in reason.

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#30427 - 04/21/09 01:56 PM Re: Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet? [Re: coberst]
Tutor Turtle Offline
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Registered: 06/19/08
Posts: 1249
Loc: Everywhere and nowhere
Originally Posted By: coberst

Religion seems to be the only way that people will take a long view. Few people know much about or have confidence in reason.

How would you reason that religion is separate from reason?
_________________________
I was addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but then I turned myself around!!





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#30435 - 04/21/09 05:35 PM Re: Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet? [Re: Tutor Turtle]
coberst Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 369
Originally Posted By: Tutor Turtle
Originally Posted By: coberst

Religion seems to be the only way that people will take a long view. Few people know much about or have confidence in reason.

How would you reason that religion is separate from reason?


I have never heard of the supernatural being claimed by reason. Reason has no insight into that which transcends nature.

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#30441 - 04/22/09 04:14 AM Re: Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet? [Re: coberst]
Ellis Offline
Megastar

Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Coberst wrote
'I have never heard of the supernatural being claimed by reason. Reason has no insight into that which transcends nature.'

I have completely lost your thread here! Because you also wrote this!---

'Religion seems to be the only way that people will take a long view. Few people know much about or have confidence in reason.'

So your point is----????? Surely the whole point of religion is precisely that it transcends reason, nature or anything. It is of the spirit and requires faith to kick-start and nuture it. There is nothing reasonable or natural about religion, it is miraculous! Once again some defining of terms by you would be good.


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#30443 - 04/22/09 05:09 AM Re: Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet? [Re: coberst]
Tutor Turtle Offline
Megastar

Registered: 06/19/08
Posts: 1249
Loc: Everywhere and nowhere
Originally Posted By: coberst
[quote=Tutor Turtle][quote=coberst]
I have never heard of the supernatural being claimed by reason. Reason has no insight into that which transcends nature.

Not your reason you mean. The only reason people are drawn to the idea of a supernatural being is that those who look around at what the human race and this planet have become can't believe this is all there is.
But then there are those who have the experience of something greater and by reason of contrast and experience it is easy to choose for one over the other. Tho it is kind of a no-brainer, if you ask someone of the experience why, I'm sure they would give you an explanation which is as good as a reason.
_________________________
I was addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but then I turned myself around!!





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#30448 - 04/22/09 09:13 AM Re: Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet? [Re: Tutor Turtle]
Zephir Offline
Superstar

Registered: 07/01/08
Posts: 498
We can put a simple question: if human intelligence could develop during one-two millions of years, why it didn't develop a many years before? The answer is, the evolutionary pressure for development of intelligent behavior is quite low in systems of sustainable development. We should realize, human intelligence doesn't allow us to exploit the environmental sources more efficiently - only more intensively.

Even after million years of intelligence evolution, the food & energy consumption of every human creature ISN'T lower, then the consumption of some ape inside of forest. We should realize this ASAP - or all our "intelligence" will become just a temporal malign mutation.

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#30459 - 04/22/09 12:44 PM Re: Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet? [Re: Ellis]
coberst Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 369
Originally Posted By: Ellis
Coberst wrote
'I have never heard of the supernatural being claimed by reason. Reason has no insight into that which transcends nature.'

I have completely lost your thread here! Because you also wrote this!---

'Religion seems to be the only way that people will take a long view. Few people know much about or have confidence in reason.'

So your point is----????? Surely the whole point of religion is precisely that it transcends reason, nature or anything. It is of the spirit and requires faith to kick-start and nuture it. There is nothing reasonable or natural about religion, it is miraculous! Once again some defining of terms by you would be good.



I say that religion is our only answer because few citizens know anything about reason. They follow the dictates of their religion and if that is the only way to gain long range solutions then so be it. Until we develop a better educational system, reason has little sway with the average citizen.

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#30460 - 04/22/09 12:46 PM Re: Are We Responsible Caretakers of this Planet? [Re: coberst]
coberst Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 369
We live in two very different worlds; a world of technical and technological order and clarity, and a world of personal and social disorder and confusion. We are increasingly able to solve problems in one domain and increasingly endangered by our inability to solve problems in the other.

Normal science, as defined by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, is successful primarily because it is a domain of knowledge controlled by paradigms. The paradigm defines the standards, principles and methods of the discipline. It is not apparent to the laity but science moves forward in small incremental steps. Science seldom seeks and almost never produces major novelties.

Science solves puzzles. The logic of the paradigm insulates the professional group from problems that are unsolvable by that paradigm. One reason that science progresses so rapidly and with such assurance is because the logic of that paradigm allows the practitioners to work on problems that only their lack of ingenuity will keep them from solving.

Science uses instrumental rationality to solve puzzles. Instrumental rationality is a systematic process for reflecting upon the best action to take to reach an established end. The obvious question becomes ‘what mode of rationality is available for determining ends?’ Instrumental rationality appears to be of little use in determining such matters as “good” and “right”.

There is a striking difference between the logic of technical problems and that of dialectical problems. The principles, methods and standards for dealing with technical problems and problems of “real life” are as different as night and day. Real life problems cannot be solved only using deductive and inductive reasoning.

Dialectical reasoning methods require the ability to slip quickly between contradictory lines of reasoning. One needs skill to develop a synthesis of one point of view with another. Where technical matters are generally confined to only one well understood frame of reference real life problems become multi-dimensional totalities.

When we think dialectically we are guided by principles not by procedures. Real life problems span multiple categories and academic disciplines. We need point-counter-point argumentation; we need emancipatory reasoning to resolve dialectical problems. We need Critical Thinking skills and attitudes to resolve real life problems.

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