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Entropy production delusion

It is common in knowledgeable circles to talk about the development of civilization in terms of entropy discussion. The term 'entropy...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Technofix delusion

It is amusing to read of the belief in the ability of technology to solve emerging problems of civilization. Machines are being invented to ease the mining of natural resources as they become scarcer. Cars, trucks, trains, airliners and ships are considered to be indispensable forms of transport for trade, tourism and everyday life even though they all have limited lives and they are using up irreplaceable fuel and materials. Cities provide a wide range of what the populace regard as indispensable  services by using irreplaceable natural resources and producing pollution of land, sea, air and all organisms, including us. Most city dwellers can take shelter, food, water, electricity and sanitation for granted - for now. Avast range of electronic devices have increased the ability for social discourse, online purchase of goods and conduct of financial matters. iPods and the like are deemed by the young to be a necessary accessory. These electronic devices are also made of irreplaceable natural resources, use up energy and have limited lives. They are, like cars, airliners, container vessels, doomed species. Society will find it hard to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.

Society is addicted to all these facets of the technofix. They cannot imagine how they will make do without them! They hold the inventors in high esteem. They believe these inventions form the basis for the sustainable progress of our civilization. The masses are encouraged to believe this delusion by big business chasing the dollar and politicians promoting economic growth - regardless of the ecological cost or the deleterious consequences. Very few, even amongst scientists, understand that all science and technology has ever done is make use of some of the potential of the natural forces that have existed for eons. Technology has never created natural forces or natural states.

The media reinforces this common view as they highlight all signs of advances in knowledge by scientists and all innovative devices. They never mention the role of technology in using fossil fuels, so producing the emissions that have initiated irreversible climate change. The damage done to biodiversity by many technological systems does not make headlines. And toxic wastes produced by technology is harming land, sea, air and organisms, including humans.

The scientists who capture the headlines are those who appear to be advancing the frontiers of knowledge. The populace at large do not realize that the recent findings of scientists in many fields are really accentuating how little understanding we have of how nature has operated for eons. Technology has produced many innovative products by using natural forces in innovative ways, with unintended consequences.

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