On numerous fronts, humanity is staring into the abyss, primarily due to our energy practices. The USA's and may be seen by future historians, if there are any, as the , as humanity fights over Earth's last remaining high-EROI energy resources. One of Einstein’s was, “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Maybe some of us survive that holocaust and the . Maybe we will avoid fighting over hydrocarbons, but the oceans will rise as climate changes more dramatically and billions are displaced. That will trigger global famine and a different kind of World War III, as nations fight over food (and maybe water), not oil. can drive people to drink and worse. Humanity stands on the chasm’s edge today, and hardly any people know or care, as their immediate self-interest marks the limit of their awareness. It has always been this way, when people are just trying to survive and deaden the pain of their existences. The intense denial reactions that Brian encountered when he played the were standard.
Industrialized nations and are greatly responsible for deforesting Earth, although nations such as Japan have been exporting the devastation, as foreign forests are razed and shipped to Japan, while Japan treats its forests as sacred groves. But also, the poor in former colonial nations have been pushed to ecosystem margins. The prime arable land is usually owned by local oligarchs or foreign corporations; they often raise crops for export to the industrialized nations. . The peasants farm marginal lands, often hillsides, which not only devastate the last refuges of species driven into the hills, but it also erodes the hillsides, , which happened in the Old World long ago. Those dynamics, particularly habitat destruction, are largely behind today’s accelerating Sixth Mass Extinction, also called the . This pattern also extends back for , not just since the ice sheets melted in this latest interglacial interval. The reached 70% or more of global species going extinct. According to a recent estimate, for the human-caused extinction. Other estimates have this level being reached as early as my lifetime, while others think it will be reached in a . The current extinction rate is thought to be higher than those of all previous extinction events other than the one that . Humanity may “achieve” . Biologists and climate scientists are stupefied, and the global propaganda machine chugs along, making everything seem normal, while “scientists” in their employ work long and hard to , , and the rest, in a kind of Potemkin Earth strategy, gleaning profits and playing power games until the end.
A water molecule containing (the most common oxygen isotope) will be lighter than a water molecule containing (both are stable isotopes), so it takes less energy to evaporate an oxygen-16 water molecule than an oxygen-18 water molecule. Also, after evaporation, oxygen-18 water will tend to fall back to Earth more quickly than oxygen-16 water will, because it is heavier. As a consequence, air over Earth’s poles will be enriched in oxygen-16 – the colder Earth’s surface temperature, the less oxygen-18 will evaporate and be carried to the poles – and . Also, the oxygen-isotope ratio in fossil shellfish (as their life processes prefer the lighter oxygen isotope) has been used to help determine ancient temperatures. During an ice age, because proportionally more oxygen-16 is retained in ice sheets and does not flow back to the oceans, the ocean’s surface becomes enriched in oxygen-18 and that difference can be discerned in fossil shells. Sediments are usually laid down in annual layers, and in some places, such as the off of Venezuela's coast, undisturbed sediments have been retrieved and analyzed, which has helped determine when ice sheets advanced and retreated during the present ice age.
The Flood is a miracle, either global or local. Why is there a need to invent pseudo-science to "explain" it? We don't need 70-mile high geysers, volcanoes, massive earthquakes, and entire continents appearing and disappearing in a few months. These catastrophes are not reported in the Biblical account of the flood, and we don't need to add them. There are a few allusions such as in 2 Peter 3:6 "so that the world of that time was destroyed by being flooded with water", but not enough to base a history or a theology. Don't we believe in miracles? It's much better to say "I don't know" than to make up an explanation for Biblical events that we don't understand.
The moon rocks retrieved by astronauts are still being tested, as new experiments and hypotheses are devised. In 2012, which resulted from testing moon rocks for the ratios (both are stable isotopes), and it has brought into question the hypothesis that the Moon was formed by a planetary collision more than four billion years ago. The titanium ratio was so much like Earth’s that a collision with Earth forming the Moon has been questioned (as very little of the hypothesized colliding body became part of the Moon). The collision hypothesis will probably survive, but it may be significantly different from today’s hypothesis. , as well as , and their ages confirm that geologists have derived, and meteorite dates provide more evidence that our .
Darwin , but believed that natural selection primarily worked at the individual level. The idea of group selection has , if . Anthropologists and biologists see evidence of group selection, not only in social creatures such as , but also in the ability of human societies to survive competition with their neighbors. Hunter-gatherer societies eliminated disruptive members by , which has been argued to have been reflected genetically in eliminating uncooperative people from society. Those kinds of activities may have helped cull the human herd of “uncooperative” genes. When Europe conquered the world, it had the highest energy usage, by far, of any peoples on Earth, which was why it always prevailed. When high-energy societies met low-energy societies, the results were almost always catastrophic for low-energy societies. Hunter-gatherer societies have no chance in a competition with societies possessing domesticated plants and animals, much less industrialized societies. Whether they are species or human civilizations, the determines their viability.
Only when economic surpluses (primarily food) were redistributed, first by chiefs and then by early states, did men rise to dominance in those agricultural civilizations. Because the rise of civilization in the Fertile Crescent is the best studied and had the greatest influence on humanity, this chapter will tend to focus on it, although it will also survey similarities and differences with other regions where agriculture and civilization first appeared. Whenever agriculture appeared, cities nearly always eventually appeared, usually a few thousand years later. Agriculture’s chief virtue was that it extracted vast amounts of human-digestible energy from the land, and population densities hundreds of times greater than that of hunter-gatherers became feasible. The , but today it is widely thought that population pressures led to agriculture's appearance. The attractions of agricultural life over the hunter-gatherer lifestyle were not immediately evident, at least after the first easy phase, when intact forests and soils were there for the plundering. On the advancing front of agricultural expansion, life was easy, but as forests and soils were depleted, population pressures led to disease, "pests" learned to consume that human-raised food, and agricultural life became a life of drudgery compared to the hunter-gatherer or horticultural lifestyle. Sanitation issues, disease, and environmental decline plagued early settlements, and not long after they transitioned from hunter-gatherers to farmers, but the land could also support many times the people. Another aspect of biology that applies to human civilization is the idea of . Over history, the society with the higher carrying capacity prevailed, and the loser either adopted the winner’s practices or became enslaved, taxed, marginalized, or extinct. On the eve of the Domestication Revolution, Earth’s carrying capacity with the hunter-gatherer lifestyle was around 10 million people, and the actual population was somewhat less, maybe . On the eve of the Industrial Revolution in 1800, Earth’s population was , and again was considered to be about half of Earth's carrying capacity under that energy regime. No matter how talented a hunter-gatherer warrior was, he was no match for two hundred peasants armed with hoes.
The (c. 15 kya to 11.8 kya) succeeded the Kebaran culture. The Natufian village at in today’s Syria was established about 13.5 kya and was situated on a gazelle migration route. The residents of that village of a few hundred people also . Those villagers became Earth’s first known farmers, and they had dogs. The during the Younger Dryas and resettled after it ended. The effect of a harsher climate may have , which began there about 11 kya. By seven kya, the settlement had grown to several thousand people, and was then abandoned due to aridity. No evidence of warfare is associated with the settlement. A compelling recent hypothesis is that agriculture could not have developed in warfare’s presence, as farmers would have been too vulnerable to raids by hungry hunters. In the four places on Earth where civilization seems to have independently developed: the Fertile Crescent, China, Mesoamerica, and the Andes, no evidence of violent conflict exists before those civilizations, fed by the first crops, began growing into states. Those states are called “pristine” states, as no other states influenced their development. Also, it is considered likely that a primary impetus for beginning agriculture in those regions was the decimation of animals to hunt. Not only was the easy meat rendered largely extinct, but those animals would have also been competitors for crops. The peaceful agricultural villages that , in which women's status was closer to men's than at any time before the Industrial Revolution, actually existed, if only for a relatively brief time, in only a few places.
Just as the reason why our may have and why may have , that founder group may well as an act of desperation, driven to the margins by their neighbors. If they left about 60-50 kya, as seems the most likely timeframe in light of today’s evidence, by 10 kya the entire planet had been conquered. Behaviorally modern humans were atop all terrestrial food chains outside of Africa, and in Africa megafauna avoided them, so there was nothing on Earth that threatened human existence except for other humans. Like the way in which the australopithecine Tesla who made the first stone tool the that emerged from his/her act a half-million years later, by 10 kya (about a tenth as long as the previous epochal innovative interval). Several million descendants of that founder group were spread across the planet, from tundra to desert to rainforest, and they filled all inhabitable continents. The people existing 10 kya would have been anatomically recognizable and all had , as they do today. However, with , versus what the founders left Africa with (several million people versus ), the immensely diverse climates and the tools used to survive in them, as well as their mutually unintelligible languages, the founder group’s members would not have comprehended a tour of their descendants’ world. The founder’s descendants even began to look different as evolution marched onward, and many racial differences would have been noticeable, although the bizarre had yet to appear in . Some people of 10 kya even had companions called (first domesticated as long as 33 kya, wolves were domesticated more than once, and the modern dog was domesticated about 15 kya), which would have seemed a miracle, terror, or strange beyond imagining. The world’s large animals paid the ultimate price for fueling that expansion, and the thus began.