Something Wonderful for "Earth Day": George Carlin, the Arrogance of Mankind, and the Big Electron

“The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone...." But the cockroaches will still be thriving.

Posted by BillH at July 1, 2013 9:20 AM

Not your standard Christian fire and brimstone sermon, but a similar message. Let us not believe we can bend the Big Electron's will to our desires. The Big Electron works in mysterious and unfathomable ways. Let us accept that and be thankful we are here.

Posted by Jimmy J. at July 1, 2013 10:20 AM

This is history to younger Americans. As Reagan said, "We will tell our children what it once was like to be free."
Carlin would be stigmatized like Paula Deen now.

Posted by Grace at July 1, 2013 1:28 PM

He's quite right, except for one thing; a lot of the endangered species are endangered specifically by human activity as in cutting down forests, that sort of thing.

I suspect that the giant panda was on its way out eventually for several reasons nothing to do with humans, but to take an example tigers weren't. Or passenger pigeons.

Posted by Fletcher Christian at July 1, 2013 3:06 PM

Take a larger view. High-extinction episodes occur for lots of reasons. They are neither good nor bad, it's just the way the world works. The occurrence of self-aware intelligence and tool-building species may be a proximate cause of one of those episodes.

In the long-term, evolution selects for species that can cross the high-extinction episodes. This time, we get to decide which ones we will take with us, if we ourselves can get across.

Self-aware intelligence and tool-building is a singular evolutionary experiment that has arisen in the oourse of time (on this planet at least), its fitness (in the version currently expressed by Homo) not yet proven.

What I object to is Carlin's pessimism. I do not accept that Homo is an evolutionary dead end. As we both live on this world, and colonize others, sub-speciation and radiation of Homo will occur. Homo will not die out, but it will diversify, and not perhaps to our current liking.

Posted by John A. Fleming at July 1, 2013 4:05 PM

Fletcher Christian said, "He's quite right, except for one thing; a lot of the endangered species are endangered specifically by human activity as in cutting down forests, that sort of thing."

When one worries about man's effects on other parts of the environment, you have placed man outside the environment. We are an integral part of the environment. What we do to build a better life for ourselves cannot help but affect other species in both good and bad ways. Only someone who considers man a sort of God who is outside the environment looking in would condemn humans for trying to improve their lives.

Posted by Jimmy J. at July 1, 2013 4:51 PM

@Jimmy J. An astute observation, sir. Way beyond the norm. The narcissist who is blind to his own flaw is insufferable.

Posted by Anon at July 2, 2013 5:09 AM

Let's all have a moment of well-lighted silence for Ira Einhorn...

Posted by Rob De Witt at April 22, 2017 5:02 PM

Know what Ira had for breakfast this morning?
The same thing he had for supper tonight.
The main course was a radiator hose.

Posted by ghostsniper at April 22, 2017 7:42 PM

The neo-religion of rightist lifestyle has polluted the ostensibly conservative movement, such as it is, more than in its past. I note Jimmy J's incoherent fallacy as this thread's example of it.

Of course Fletcher Christian is right and probably, like me, remembers when conservationism was standard practice, long before the right let the left co-opt it, rename it 'environmentalism', and induce that same feckless right into shunning the whole notion out of spite. Today lifestyle signalling around righteous vegan-hatred and the witchcraft of electric cars and solar power is the right's political religion, or part of it.

This is to rightism what all the left's psycho beliefs are to it. It's dumb, naturally, but sometimes these odd tributaries have to form in order to be surveyed and staunched.

Of course man is a terrible master. ALways has been. That realization permeates conservatism - and traditional western belief - elsewhere so one wonders why it suddenly cannot where stewardship or conservation go.

But the new right, being merely ostensible and evidently unequipped to define and then hold the ideology it purports to advertise, has a number of these overt, illogical contradictions to its credit.

Rightists straddle the globe with the great military confidence that comes of evaporating monetarism but express some odd pride that they, in their humility, can't prevent elephants or tigers disappearing forever.

Posted by Ten at April 23, 2017 2:58 PM