Welcome To The Narcisscene

This is from last summer, but I finally got around to reading it. I’m wondering what the implications are for space colonies, potential botanical gardens and zoos in the solar system, and the O’Neillian/Bezos vision of earth as a nature park.

[Update a while later]

In reading this:

Because one cannot conceive of the length of geologic time, one cannot comprehend the brevity of the past 75 years in relation to it. The Anthropocene, if officially recognized, would be inconceivably ephemeral, momentary — indeed, instantaneous — existing only in real time. But it will endure until the Götterdämmerung, that is, until humans go extinct; it will run to the end of recorded history — turning the hourglass of geologic time upside down.

…I’m reminded of people who believe that every hurricane or fire is some unprecedented event, caused by our SUVs, when most are unaware of what happened a century ago, let alone millennia.

9 thoughts on “Welcome To The Narcisscene”

  1. Geologic epochs typically last around three million years. In establishing them, the ICS has historically proceeded by first identifying a stratum or “chronostratigraphic unit,” which is usually categorized in terms of the fossils it contains. By figuring out how long fossil layers took to accumulate, geologists date them and derive the geologic time scale, which is used to estimate the age of the Earth.

    By contrast, in convening the AWG to determine the onset of the Anthropocene, the ICS apparently abandoned this practice, instead presuming that the new epoch had already begun and then casting about for a fossil record or other stratigraphic evidence of the existence of the Anthropocene and of when exactly it began.

    Epochs are described that way because that’s what people see in the record. The Anthropocene was already know to have a variety of markers such as the many mechanical, refuse, and architectural artifacts, enormous surge in the human population, and contamination by radioactive isotopes and heavy metals. In addition, there is a sudden change in global species due to agriculture, invasive species from global trade, and subsequent extinction of species for a variety of reasons. Agriculture and industry also have noticeable effects on sediment deposition in rivers.

    The epoch was not rationalized after the fact, and the uncomfortable facts that obsoleted ideas like creationalism and heliocentrism still exist.

    1. the uncomfortable facts that obsoleted ideas like creationalism

      No one knows what existed before the big bang. There are so many unknowns that it is impossible to say that a belief in creation is obsolete.

      Speculation on genesis will always be with us. Atheists have their own religious beliefs on the matter and even Musk thinks we live in a computer simulation

    2. Creationism is certainly not an obsolete idea.

      Statistics is firmly on the side of intelligent design, as pure mindless evolution would require longer than the predicted life of the universe to get us where we are today.

      Scientists are mere humans and given the level of attacks on religion by atheists over the last hundred years it’s not surprising they don’t look deeper.

      Food for thought.

      1. Statistics is firmly on the side of intelligent design, as pure mindless evolution would require longer than the predicted life of the universe to get us where we are today.

        Unless, of course, it doesn’t take very long to get to life compared to the age of the universe. Then statistics would be on the side of unintelligent abiogenesis as well.

        Also, let’s suppose that unintelligent abiogenesis takes some ridiculously small, but positive chance of occurring and the universe is infinite in extent (it doesn’t have to look infinite to us, we’ll only see a finite part of it). It doesn’t matter if the chance is 1 in 10, 1 in 10^100, or far worse, it just has to be positive. Then there will be an infinite number of cases where life occurred. At that point, life would look very unlikely to any being which came about by that way. The anthropic principle is a very powerful bias.

  2. the O’Neillian/Bezos vision of earth as a nature park.

    Earth will be a place that everyone wants to return to but not everyone will be able to. Homesick for a place they never knew.

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