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Download Human Nature: A Blueprint for Managing the Earth--by People, for People ePub

by James Trefil

Download Human Nature: A Blueprint for Managing the Earth--by People, for People ePub
  • ISBN 0805078487
  • ISBN13 978-0805078480
  • Language English
  • Author James Trefil
  • Publisher Holt Paperbacks (May 1, 2005)
  • Pages 272
  • Formats lrf mobi txt mbr
  • Category Engineering
  • Subcategory Engineering
  • Size ePub 1991 kb
  • Size Fb2 1717 kb
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Votes: 775

"Uncommon and refreshing. Moreover, Trefil is right." -Michael Ruse, The New York Times Book ReviewAs a prizewinning theoretical physicist and bestselling author, James Trefil has long been the public's guide to a better understanding of the world. Now, in this provocative and engaging book, Trefil looks squarely at our environmental future and finds-contrary to popular wisdom-reason to celebrate. For too long, Trefil argues, humans have treated nature as something separate from themselves-pristine wilderness to be saved or material resources to be exploited. What we need instead is a scientific approach to the environment. In Human Nature, Trefil exposes the benefits of genetically modified species, uncovers vital facts about droughts and global warming, and shows why putting humans first is the best path ahead. By taking advantage of explosive advances in the sciences, we can fruitfully manage the planet, if we rise to the challenge.Human Nature promises to awaken a new state of environmentalism and our relationship to the planet-and is filled with optimism, rather than alarm.

Электронная книга "Human Nature: A Blueprint for Managing the Earth-by People, for People", James Trefil.

Электронная книга "Human Nature: A Blueprint for Managing the Earth-by People, for People", James Trefil. Эту книгу можно прочитать в Google Play Книгах на компьютере, а также на устройствах Android и iOS. Выделяйте текст, добавляйте закладки и делайте заметки, скачав книгу "Human Nature: A Blueprint for Managing the Earth-by People, for People" для чтения в офлайн-режиме.

Uncommon and refreshing. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read

Uncommon and refreshing. Moreover, Trefil is right. Michael Ruse, The New. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking Human Nature: A Blueprint for Managing the Earth-by People, for People as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Trefil, James . 1938-. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books. Uploaded by omero on July 2, 2014. SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata). Terms of Service (last updated 12/31/2014).

In Human Nature, Trefil exposes the benefits of genetically modified species, uncovers vital facts about droughts and global warming, and points to examples of environmental management where catering to humans reaps greater rewards than sheltering other species. By taking advantage of explosive advances in the sciences, we can fruitfully manage the planet, if we rise to the challenge. Like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Paul Ehrlich's Population Bomb, Human Nature promises to fundamentally alter the way we perceive our relationship to the Earth-but with optimism rather than alarm.

Nature : A Blueprint for Managing the Earth-by People, for People .

Human Nature : A Blueprint for Managing the Earth-by People, for People. Here, in this provocative book, Trefil looks squarely at our environmental future and finds - contrary to belief - reason to celebrate.

A radical approach to the environment which argues that by harnessing the power of science for human benefit, we can have a healthier planet As a prizewinning theoretical physicist and an outspoken advocate for scientific literacy, James Trefil has long been the public's guide to a better understanding of the world. In this provocative book, Trefil looks squarely at our environmental future and finds-contrary to popular wisdom-reason to celebrate. For too long, Trefil argues, humans have treated nature as something separate from themselves-pristine wilderness to be saved.

Human Nature: A Blueprint for Managing the Earth-by People, for People. As a prizewinning theoretical physicist and an outspoken advocate for scientific literacy, James Trefil has long been the public's guide to a better understanding of the world. For too long, Trefil argues, humans have treated nature as something separate from themselves-pristine wilderness to be saved or material resources to be exploited.

Human Nature: A Blueprint for Managing the Earth – By People, for People (2004). A Scientist at the Seashore (2005) . consensus of scientific opinion on when humanness begins.

249 pages, no illustrations. Publisher: Times Books. Argues that any credible environmental management plan must have humans at its centre, and is therefore at odds with the prevailing environmentalist approach to safeguarding the Earth's future. ISBN: 9780805072488 Hardback Dec 2004 Usually dispatched within 1 week. 249 pages, no illustrations.

A Blueprint for Managing the Earth-by People, for People. James Trefil is the Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University. What we need instead is a scientific approach to the environment that embraces the human transformation of nature for our benefit.

Talk about Human Nature: A Blueprint for Managing the Earth--by People, for People


JoJoshura
The main title of this book, "Human Nature" is a bit misleading. What physics professor and scientific generalist James Trefil is really talking about is humans and nature, as he says in the Preface, and how to manage the planet (as in the subtitle). Trefil has a "benefits-to-humans" principle to guide us:

"The global ecosystem should be managed for the benefit, broadly conceived, of human beings." (p. 13 and p. 218)

Note well the qualification "broadly conceived." Trefil allows that benefits to humans might include "some sort of innate human attraction to complex natural ecosystems" and that we might "prefer scenery that contains both water and a variety of plants and animals." (pp. 214-215) However he goes on to say that his first reaction to "the heat, humidity, and discomfort" of a rainforest is to ask, "Why would anyone want to preserve THIS?"

Why indeed?

Well, because it's there. Because it's beautiful...etc. Trefil appreciates this answer but assigns a higher value to human utility than to human aesthetics. To be fair, however, his vision of a managed earth includes "both cities and wilderness areas." (p. 226)

Nonetheless this book will offend environmentalists because of its industry-friendly tone (e.g., Part II is entitled "The Myths of Pop Ecology") and because Trefil occupies a middle ground between the extremes of a paved earth and a wilderness earth, and also because he assigns such a high value to human life as opposed to the lives of other creatures.

Okay, to some specifics. His idea of the symbolic meaning of the Garden of Eden as a falling from grace is the standard model from Christianity; however a broader view sees it as the symbolic expression of the birth of human consciousness. We were "innocent" and then suddenly we saw that we were "naked." We became "conscious"--especially of our animal nature.

More important than this difference of interpretation is his idea that we have taken ourselves out...of the process of natural selection--and [have] became something unique in the history of our planet." (p. 39)

Clearly we are unique on this planet. However to imagine that we have somehow stepped out of the process of natural selection is presumptuous. Our culture--as amazing as it is--is nonetheless itself a product of natural selection. It cannot negate natural selection except in a purely local way. To appreciate this imagine that we have established colonies on the moon and Mars. Suppose then that the earth suffers some horrific "sterilizing" catastrophe, such as being hit by a gigantic meteor. The colonies on the moon and Mars will survive but earth-bound humans will probably go the way of the dinosaurs.

This is natural selection at work. Beings with the ability to occupy niches away from planet earth will be selected in such natural events (including the microbes in and on their bodies) as opposed to those beings who lack such an ability. To make this even clearer, imagine the inhabitants of a similar solar system light years away who cannot for whatever reason leave their home planet. If all life on that planet is destroyed those beings are extinct. Again, this is natural selection at work. We survived. They didn't. Extraterrestrial events are part of the environment that does the "selecting."

It is not surprising that Trefil wants to make a distinction between "natural" and human. But this distinction is artificial. The title of his third chapter, "Leaving Nature Behind" reflects this distinction. But it is a false distinction--useful yes, but ultimately untrue. We cannot leave nature behind. We are part of nature. Cultural evolution is a subset of biological evolution in a way similar to the way number theory is a subset of mathematics, or that English is a subset of human languages.

There are also some fuzzy conclusions. On page 62 in his zest to go after some "myths" from "pop ecology" he points to what he calls "The poisoned planet myth" and then backs off a little by saying "it's partly true and partly false." And then he decides that "it's a clear example of the sin-and-retribution theme associated with Noah's flood."

Well, it's not a "myth" if it's partly true; and his attempt at guilt by association is an example of the sort of logic condemned in undergraduate philosophy classes.

Another example is from page 143 where Trefil is discussing global warming. He writes, "If the warming is due to global trends beyond our control, then all we can do is think about adapting to higher temperatures." If something is "beyond our control" then we can, by definition, do nothing about it, and his statement is a gratuitous tautology. But what Trefil really means here is that if the warming is caused by nature, as opposed to being caused by humans (as he notes in the next sentence), we can only think cool thoughts. Actually even warming caused by events beyond human control can in fact be mitigated, as Trefil points out elsewhere in the book.

Regardless of its faults this is among the very best science books I have read over the last three or four years. It is just so interesting that the pages practically turn themselves. I think Trefil is able to engage the reader partly because his take on a number of controversial scientific questions is original and surprising, candid and calm, and because he argues his case so very well without giving in to politically-correct notions. In particular his discussion of "The Question of Extinction" (Chapter 8) is informed and convincingly presented. I also found his concluding chapters on "...Choices" and "The Managed Planet" fascinating.

Trefil's engaging style allows the reader to enter into a dialogue as he reads and to feel that both sides of an issue are being presented fairly. This is a rare and radiant talent for any writer, but especially for a writer of books on difficult and controversial subjects.
Survivors
I'm not quite sure who this book is written for. I guess it is targeted at the intelligent and somewhat skeptical reader who does not have any technical background in environmental science. The book presents a lot of useful background information, and provides a science framework for discussing several subjects that are often presented in more emotional/political terms.

The book works best as a tool to introduce the idea that some of these questions (global climate change, endangered species, genetic engineering) can be reasonably discussed. It is not necessary to make faith-based decisions about them based on who you want to believe - there is data available and you do not have to be a specialist to get a basic understanding of the issues.

However, Trefil draws several conclusions in this book which are simply unsupported by any data he presents. In his quest to simplify and condense the subjects, he has to throw out almost all of the shaded nuances. But the devil is in the details. Many of the details he skips over are big enough to completely change the answers involved.

This book should only be a beginning, not an end. Ideally it would serve to make people think "that's an interesting subject - I want to learn more about it". Pope said "a little learning is a dangerous thing", and that definitely applies to this book.