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Oxford evolutionary psychologist on unselfishness, Earth Day

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Vintage , and not your usual dollop of niceness:

In honour of Earth Day, here’s evolutionary psychologist and friend of Richard Dawkins, Susan Blackmore (The Guardian, 2006) on the hard choices climate change forces on us:

If we take the unselfish route and try to save everyone the outcome is likely to be horrific conflict in the fight over resources, and continuing devastation of the planet until most, or all, of humanity is dead.

File:Susan Blackmore 1.jpg

If we decide to put the planet first, then we ourselves are the pathogen. So we should let as many people die as possible, so that other species may live, and accept the destruction of civilisation and of everything we have achieved.

Finally, we might decide that civilisation itself is worth preserving. In that case we have to work out what to save and which people would be needed in a drastically reduced population – weighing the value of scientists and musicians against that of politicians, for example – a prospect that does not look at all easy from here.

Let’s chuck evo psych to start. We may not end up having to chuck anybody or anything else. Has anything happened between then and now that makes us sorry we didn’t take her approach?

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4 Replies to “Oxford evolutionary psychologist on unselfishness, Earth Day

  1. 1
    OldArmy94 says:

    WHY DOES SHE CARE?

    Really? The earth won’t die before she does; hence, when her atoms are scattered all over the universe, what does it matter? WHY should we save anything? Ourselves, the planet, anything at all. Tell us, Susan.

  2. 2
    Barb says:

    From the OP: “…So we should let as many people die as possible, so that other species may live…”

    You first, Susan.

  3. 3
    Blue_Savannah says:

    It’s interesting that all these doomsday people want reductions in population, yet never start with themselves and their own families – it’s always ‘others’ who should make that sacrifice. And of course, I’m sure atheist Susan would count herself as one of the people qualified to determine who is valuable to society and who isn’t. This is why the new-atheists have come out in such force: they can’t play GOD as long as people still believe in HIM.

  4. 4
    jstanley01 says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’d say that the fact that certain tastes in fashion and grooming deserve to go extinct — and richly — means that they should be things that “we” (that would be, “the mouse in my pocket and I”) should factor into the hard decisions that we face.

    Seriously.

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