Nature Is Not a Machine—We Treat It So at Our Peril

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Recently, @Aussie Mike shared privately with me a document basically duplicating the online article Nature Is Not a Machine—We Treat It So at Our Peril by Jeremy Lent, first published on July 30, 2021. Mike has given me the go-ahead to in turn share this link provided that I note that he received the original document from his Social Ecology professor Stuart B. Hill (whose website is a goldmine of wisdom, about which I might end up starting a thread in its own right).

A few extracts from the article:

Quote:Climate change, avers Rex Tillerson, ex-CEO of ExxonMobil and erstwhile US Secretary of State,  “is an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions.” This brief statement encapsulates how the metaphor of the machine underlies the way our mainstream culture views the natural world. It also hints at the grievous dangers involved in perceiving nature in this way.

Quote:But nature is not in fact a machine nor a computer—and it can’t be engineered or programmed like one.

Quote:[R]ather than being an aggregation of unconscious machines, life is intrinsically purposive. In recent decades, carefully designed scientific studies have revealed the deep intelligence throughout the natural world employed by organisms as they fulfil their purpose of self-generation. The inner life of a plant, biologists have discovered, is a rich plethora of complex experience. Plants have their own versions of our five senses, as well as up to fifteen other ways of sensing their environment for which we don’t have analogues. Plants act intentionally and purposefully: they have memories and learn, they communicate with each other, and can even allocate resources as a community

Quote:Given the innumerable nonlinear feedback loops that generate our planet’s complex living systems, the law of unintended consequences looms menacingly large. The eerily named field of “solar radiation management”, for example, which has received significant financing from Bill Gates, envisages spraying particles into the stratosphere to cool the Earth by reflecting the Sun’s rays back into space. The risks are enormous, such as causing extreme shifts in precipitation around the world and exacerbating damage we’ve already done to the ozone layer. Additionally, once begun, it could never be stopped without immediate catastrophic rebound heating; it would further increase ocean acidification; and would likely turn the blue sky into a perpetual white haze.
(This post was last modified: 2021-08-05, 02:14 PM by Laird.)
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  • Larry, Ninshub, entangled_cat, Silence, stephenw, Typoz
What the article suggests, we are dealing with chaotic systems, with unpredictable outputs based on small changes in outputs

Change them to fix something, break other things.

I think, it's a viable claim.

Shpuld we give up or gain more knowledge? Can we test our guesses?
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  • Larry

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