Selection for Uncaring Humanoids -- Eric R. Pianka

Selection for Uncaring Humanoids

© Eric R. Pianka

"The generous attitude of all too many people results in asserting inalienable rights while ignoring or denying matching responsibilities." -- Garrett Hardin (1974) Living on a Lifeboat

"In a community in which there is complete freedom in reproduction, conscientious people will be eliminated." -- Garrett Hardin

Many people care intensely about the state of our planet, and a substantial number have curtailed their own reproduction in an effort to lessen the population pressure of humans on the Earth. Some try their utmost to be "green," growing their own vegetables, riding bicycles, minimizing water use, becoming vegetarians or even vegans, and/or using so-called "green" diapers in order to decrease their ecological footprint. One such mother just doesn't get it, however, she brags about using green diapers but has 5 kids! Another one makes an excellent spoof of saving Earth's dwindling resources for her four children. Such efforts are admirable, but . . .

Buying carbon credits or driving a Prius may make you feel better about yourself, and it may buy a little time for the planet, but what if your neighbor chooses to drive an SUV or a Hummer? Indeed, reducing your own footprint only allows selfish other people to continue their excesses. Cleaning up trash along highways merely makes things seem better than they are and may actually encourage litterbugs.

Unfortunately, too many other people ignore or remain oblivious to impending problems, continuing to consume, waste, and propagate (some, such as the infamous Duggar family "19 kids and counting" of TV fame, are literally breeding like bunny rabbits, and are actually proud of it!). Rather than be celebrated on TV, such greedy criminals should be treated as social pariahs, ostracized from society, because they are stealing other's rights to live, let alone reproduce.

If, as Garrett Hardin (1974) has suggested, those who have a conscience and who do care about the future state of the planet choose to leave fewer genes than those who do not care, in time humans will evolve into uncaring humanoids devoid of conscience. Indeed, this insidious process has already begun. Recall Lovelock's prediction that as we approach the finish line of our limited time here, only about 100,000 people will be crowded together squabbling over resources inside the Arctic circle -- if so, many would carry surnames like Dugger, Romney, and/or Scalia! However, during the intervening decade, the Arctic circle has warmed considerably with its ice packs melting. Ice and snow were white and reflected incident solar radiation whereas land and open water absorb much more heat, resulting in a positive feedback loop. The Arctic circle has warmed faster than anywhere else on Earth and temperatures there continue to rise.

Last updated 10 September 2014 by Eric R. Pianka