To be honest, after the first few paragraphs I concluded it is a tongue-in-cheek satire on all of this expensive, techno-driven chatter about how we should change the planet - or here, the people - rather than take the simple solution of changing our stupid, shortsighted, ethnocentric and profit-driven behaviors.
After all, their proposals that we genetically and pharmaceutically alter human size, appetite, etc., on a massive scale are no more ridiculous ("worthy of ridicule") than the equally massive geoengineering proposals that the authors are ridiculing. Either approach would require so much money, so many kinds of complicated and untested technologies, so much coercive and centralized government, compared to the simple solution of us just stopping any substantial combination of the ridiculous overpopulation, overconsumption of resources, and overproduction of waste that we now engage in, for few reasons other than careless habit and thoughtless greed.
But then, I kept reading their carefully laid-out arguments. They seem to be serious! They advance various examples or experimental data that they suggest backs up the feasibility of their proposals. Of course, the work referenced is heavily cherry-picked. It's highly selective, and ignores many, many other considerations, requirements, and implications, that would come into play if you started giving people a drug that causes them to eat less beef because it makes them nauseous when they smell it. Needless to say, few current hamburger fans would agree to take this drug - and even fewer fast-food chains would agree to add it to their beef! Talk about pie (or beef pie) in the sky.
So I'm torn. Do these authors realize they've written a total farce? Is this article meant as a complete, Jonathan Swift-style satire of the whole techno-optimistic silliness that has so many scientists and politicians constantly proposing trillion-billion-dollar engineering fixes to far simpler problems of everyday human behavior?
At the end, I have taken it as a brilliant satire, whether it was intended as that or not. It's like Mitt Romney saying "and my wife drives a couple of Cadillacs" thinking that this shows he understands the ordinary wage-earner. Whether the speaker is aware of it or not, his words demonstrate how out of touch with reality he is.
I'm absolutely delighted Stuart Newman posted the link - thank you, Stuart!
On Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 11:33 AM, Michael H Goldhaber <[log in to unmask]>
To me the thoughts seem so nutty and unrealistic as not to be worried about.
Sent from my iPhone
On Feb 27, 2012, at 10:18 AM, Stuart Newman <[log in to unmask]
> Anyone who clicks on the link will find an academic paper that proposes to use
> genetic engineering and pharmaceuticals to make humans resistant to climate
> change. It would be interesting to know the views of list members about this
> creative combination of blame-the-victim policy proposals and eugenics.
> On Thu, 23 Feb 2012 23:11:10 -0500, Stuart Newman <[log in to unmask]
The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. -- Paul Cezanne