m_dupont 16 days ago

I really wish they hadn't framed it this way. They could have just said "Possible new historical mass extinction event discovered".

See, because of the way they have framed it we now have people in the comments arguing about global warming.

While I certainly believe that we are doing a lot of damage to the planet right now, we dont need to incorporate every news article into the permacrisis narrative

  • rob74 16 days ago

    It also sounds pretty strange to me to take the number of 5 previous mass extinctions as unshakable fact. I'm not a paleontologist, but in the several billions of years before living organisms evolved shells/skeletons that could be fossilized, there could have been any number of mass extinction events that we no longer have evidence of?

    • zaarn 16 days ago

      There is evidence of a lot of mass extinctions. The Big Five is just the biggest 5 we know off (all of them feature atleast 75% of all species becoming extinct on a relatively short timeframe, with the quickest being the KT which lasted at most a thousand years, the biggest of them, the PT event, making 95% of all species extinct). For smaller extinction events, Wikipedia lists about 30 of them. But those aren't nearly as interesting because they didn't have that much impact.

    • javajosh 16 days ago

      I agree with this. In fact - it's reasonable to take the same attitude toward these numbers as "age of the universe, in billions of years" type numbers: the error bars are pretty big! But the OOM is basically correct, and that's Good Enough (tm) for most people's purposes, including academics in far away fields like climatology.

  • actually_a_dog 16 days ago

    I love how you use the phrase "permacrisis narrative" as if climate change and its consequences are made up constructs. They are not. They are established science at this point. You are doing noone any service by claiming otherwise, even obliquely.

    • buran77 16 days ago

      I read that as the well known fact that if you are constantly under pressure you will eventually just normalize it and soon it becomes "the way things are". And when things are "the way things are" there is no real push for change.

      If thieves trigger your car alarm once every year you'll jump to chase them away. If they trigger it once every minute you'll sell the car. You can't sell this car. We need some focus on which crisis is the priority but I'm less and less qualified to judge what deserves an air raid siren, and what deserves an alarm clock.

      All the issues mentioned by other comments below always existed in one form or another, almost exclusively worse than today (Extremist leaders? Countries on the brink of collapse? Society upheaval? Threat of invasion?). It wasn't much different some decades ago. The baseline was set differently but the same concerns were expressed since forever. We just had something like a Cold War, fear of nuclear attack, fear of invasion, etc. that topped the charts so hard (for a while) that everything else subsided. And then slowly things were normalized and we could start seeing the "day to day" crisis.

      • ngcc_hk 14 days ago

        You are overwhelmed by crisis, sort of future or crisis shock. But some event which may not even be crisis affect many and with hindsight actually is the crisis.

        How about letting china into wto and beginning by kicking out Taiwan from UN (or they gave up). The whole series of event of key china out and not balance with in will be one of the major disaster of humanity … but is it? That is the big question. I think it is. But without hindsight you do not know. Hence we have to work on. But ignoring key event (and just crisis) will doom humanity. After all, most species died why not human.

      • tejohnso 16 days ago

        > I read that as the well known fact that if you are constantly under pressure you will eventually just normalize it and soon it becomes "the way things are". And when things are "the way things are" there is no real push for change.

        This is partly why people have taken to action like throwing paint at art and gluing themselves to roadways. Some people are not prepared to accept the normalization of human extinction and want to constantly provide new alarm stimuli.

        • fluoridation 16 days ago

          Kind of. Some people, when they perceive a problem, are compelled to do anything, regardless of whether it helps or not.

          • DoingIsLearning 16 days ago

            Destroying something beautiful creates a strong emotional response.

            There is a beautiful analogy with what some protestors are doing and what we are doing to the planet we inhabit.

            The latter should trigger an equally strong response but somehow we lay dormant.

            Irrespective of how useless you feel their protest is, they are indeed making us talk about it. Which I think is a dire need we have at the moment with so many other trivial things stealing the spotlight of media focus.

            • fluoridation 15 days ago

              A strong emotional response can go either in the direction you want, or the opposite direction just to spite you. I feel such protestors are doing a disservice to their cause by expressing themselves in such ways.

    • _heimdall 16 days ago

      You're assuming her that "permacrisis narrative" was written as a slight targeted specifically at climate change research. It may be more easily read as a reference to the endless cycle of news outlets serving up stories about the next big event we should all be deathly afraid of. Remember the murder hornets?

      If you'd like to split hairs here, "established science" is also doing noone any service. Climate change is an established field of study that more generally researches human impact on the planet. There is strong consensus that we have made an impact on climate and that there could be major negative impacts on existing civilizations if we don't act. It's worth remembering, though, that climate research is almost entirely based in modeling data. Models are useful for finding signals, especially in a complex system, but blindly claiming "established science" without any further context makes it sounds as though it is fact.

    • edanm 16 days ago

      I might be wrong, but I think you're reading things into that phrase that aren't there. Calling something a narrative doesn't imply something is made up.

    • osigurdson 16 days ago

      Climate change is established science. Predictions that Earth will become Venus 2.0 is a non-productive nihilist fantasy.

  • mschuster91 16 days ago

    > While I certainly believe that we are doing a lot of damage to the planet right now, we dont need to incorporate every news article into the permacrisis narrative

    The fact is we are in a permacrisis situation:

    - climate change is accelerating, scenarios expected in decades are reality now (e.g. ice shelf melting, the drought that has hit Europe last summer)

    - the invasion of Russia in Ukraine and all of the associated fallout (risk of a nuclear catastrophe at Zaporizhzhia NPP, delivery chains based e.g. on steel of Mariupol or of Ukrainian grain straining and breaking)

    - wealth and income inequality tearing apart both Western societies in itself as well as the "Global South" from Western societies

    - record inflation without corresponding wage rises accelerating the above, helped by many decades of effective wage stagnation

    - multiple Western societies taking a sharp turn towards the right wing, authoritarianism and (e.g. in Italy) towards outright fascism

    - large parts of Africa collapsing or nearing collapse from a variety of factors (climate change rendering territories uninhabitable, dictators/kings/warlords/corrupt elites looting their countries, China behaving just as bad as the late European colonialists), threatening mass migration events

    - China's internal economy collapsing due to Covid (shoddy vaccine leaving no other containment option than brutal lockdowns), financial mismanagement (e.g. Evergrande) and governmental incompetence

    - China increasingly threatening Taiwan with an invasion, an event that would instantly both trigger a China-USA war and, assuming that TSMC is rigged with explosives for a "leave nothing but scorched earth" scenario, many years of a complete shortage of chips, leading to an unprecedented world-wide economic crash

    - regional powerhouses in the Middle East (Turkey, Iran) are getting into problems or collapsing, threatening further instability in an already explosive region

    Out of all the crises I mentioned, the only one where improvement is in sight is the Russian invasion, given just how hard Ukraine kicks Russia's behind currently - but even with all the progress Ukraine is making, it may very well take a year or more until all of Ukraine is free of Russian invaders again.

    Journalists are well advised to point out that humanity is in a state of long-term multiple crises, and that action needs to be taken instead of letting more Conservatives or the far-right into power.

    • DocTomoe 16 days ago

      It may appear that right now, a lot of things are going the wrong way simultaneously and that that somehow is an unique point in history. But it's not. Several large-scale events with potentially horrific outcomes have happened simultaneously for centuries. There were plague epidemics during the Thirty-Years War. Conflicts in faraway lands did influence trade at home. Political turmoil happened during economic collapse. Animals went extinct in the medieval age, at some point we (Europeans) managed to essentially raze most of our forests, continent-wide, for construction and shipbuilding (just ask Iceland...). This is the human normal. Hell, for decades, we stared death in it's nuclear eye constantly.

      What is different today: You can now watch all of these events unfold in real-time, and have journalists who no longer are out to tell stories, but to foster your fear so that you create more ad clicks.

      But fear and dread are bad advisors. Let's not buy into them, and see the problems as what they are: challenges to solve. Because, just like any of the crisis' of the past, if we don't solve them, they will blow up in our faces.

      • hnews_account_1 16 days ago

        The idea of “putting information in people's hands” was seen as a net good due to the pattern starting from the printing press in the west. However the source of information was still controlled by the elites. This mostly creates problems but in the case of the sciences, it was beneficial. Then we created a medium where even the source was a free-for-all and the pattern just collapsed. The lowest energy state of the system hinges on inherent biases and not on the Truth with a capital T.

      • mschuster91 16 days ago

        > Let's not buy into them, and see the problems as what they are: challenges to solve. Because, just like any of the crisis' of the past, if we don't solve them, they will blow up in our faces.

        Unfortunately, without fear and the resulting public pressure, nothing will change. That used to be what drove change in the past: scientists raised the alarm, activists followed up, politicians acted. When acid rain was an issue, politicians regulated sulfur content of fuel. When the ozone layer got a giant hole, they regulated CFC gas production and usage (by almost completely banning both). When species got threatened, they got under special protection statutes, some of which more-or-less globally banned trade of them (e.g. ivory, whale and dolphin products).

        Today? Scientists have raised alarm about a lot of the issues I listed. Even the rise of Trumpian authoritarianism, the threat of Putin invading Ukraine or Putin using gas dependency as a weapon against Europe was foretold. But politicians openly sharted on these predictions, they did nothing at all to prepare, and as a result societies were caught pants down. Even on this very forum we're discussing on, people are regularly acting like COVID isn't a crisis or that following libertarian "free speech" interpretations is harmless and won't lead to problems despite evidence to the contrary being available just one Google search away.

        Science denialism has become commonplace, and I think this is what depresses me the most about our future. We have so many tools, almost every person on this planet has access to the entire knowledge of humanity in their pants pocket, and yet so many people refuse to do so for ideology, religion or out of simple foolishness and arrogance.

        • DocTomoe 15 days ago

          You are describing a time period that spans about 50-70 years, in which alarmism led to some outcomes (or actions which coincided with positive outcomes). This reactive type of fear -> public pressure -> change politics is not the historical norm. And still, mankind did not die off before "science advisors" became a thing.

          Wielding fear as a political tool can only end in ruin of the free political system - ultimately, there is no qualitative difference between invoking fear of climate change or fear of immigrants, it creates a split in the populus: those who will subscribe to the panic, and those who think the panikers are irrational. Such splits, we have seen in the past, will lead to political divides, and ultimately, if civil society cannot mend them, to civil-war-style uprising and the end of free societies. We are seeing this all around the world right now, but most prominently in the US and the UK.

          At the same time: once fear has been normalised, people will buy into snake oil, like arming themselves, or a massive upbuilt of CCTVs until privacy is gone, or accepting the TSA as a necessary evil, or submitting themselves to curfews, or abandoning social contacts because travelling cross-country to their loved ones is ecologically unsound. A fearful society is a society that falls prey to anyone who promises them safety - and those rarely stay democratic leaders.

          We would do good not to consider "scientists" as the high-priests of a new religion with a infallible dogma: "The science says X" is a religious statement of belief, when science should be "we have this theory, this is the data that supports it, but we may be wrong". Whenever I do see scientists in the media today, they do no longer seem to see themselves as explorers of knowledge or professional doubters, they see themselves as the ultimate beacon of truth. That is dangerous, it leads to arrogance both in them as well in the part of the populus that agrees with them. As a reaction to that, it is no wonder anti-science sentiments rises.

          > and yet so many people refuse to do so for ideology, religion or out of simple foolishness and arrogance.


        • netfl0 16 days ago

          His point is that history was pretty brutal and in most cases worse than today.

          • mschuster91 16 days ago

            Agreed, but still: those in charge did something to fight the crises in the past whereas today those in charge in the best case sit on their hands and do nothing, or in the worst case actively make things worse (e.g. Bolsonaro permitting farmers to blaze away the Amazon rainforest) - and those in power to stop the latter also don't do anything.

            Where are, for example, sanctions against Brazilian products like beef that are made on razed rainforest lands? Where are actually impactful sanctions against China? Where are deliveries of MBTs to Ukraine to help drive out Russia? Where are sanctions against Qatar for bribing FIFA and letting thousands of people die in building the WC stadiums? Where is material support for the protesters in Iran fighting against a murderous regime?

            • DocTomoe 15 days ago

              Your major misconception is that what you consider good and right aligns with what is politically convenient.

              As a nation state, you only have that much political influence, both in the world as well as within your borders, and you will soon find yourself in trouble when people can't afford to eat anymore, or there are no more goods imported from China, or when Qatar gets cranky, or Iran for that matter.

              As for Ukraine: The west has no interest in a quick end of the russoukrainian war. It's a perfect testing ground, why stop the fun when you can sell everyone in the neighbourhood so many weapons with the Russian bogeyman getting beaten up with western technology in full view? This conflict will be perpetuated as much as possible, at least another year, after all, Ukrainians do not vote in US elections, but Lockheed Martin engineers do. War is good for business. We all know that, but we like to conveniently forget about that, because our own wallets are closer to our hearts than some kid dying in a trench on the other side of the globe - and that has been true since forever.

  • NetOpWibby 16 days ago

    But how else will the site get clicks?

julianeon 16 days ago

Maybe the 8th. This article doesn't even mention one which is suspected to have happened, the extinction of megafauna when humans came on the scene. If we're talking about extinctions Earth might have experienced, that deserves to be mentioned.

  • nisegami 16 days ago

    Considering the time scales at which the other mass extinctions happened, I don't think it's reasonable to count that as separate from what's happening now. It might instead be better to rethink the whole thing as one somewhat prolonged extinction event due to the appearance and subsequent activities of humans.

  • actually_a_dog 16 days ago

    Sure. However, I don't see how the exact number of previous mass extinctions is particularly relevant to the idea that we're probably experiencing one right now, and we (humans) are the primary cause.

  • DFHippie 16 days ago

    They are working from a particular definition of mass extinction which rules this event out. The megafauna that went extinct were a small percentage of the species in existence at the time.

  • adgjlsfhk1 16 days ago

    there weren't enough megafauna for their extinction to be comparable to the others.

jsemrau 16 days ago

One thing that lately really fascinates me is the Younger Dryas impact theory. The discovery journey was Joe Rogan (Podcast) -> Netflix Docu -> Joe Rogan (Youtube) -> Other Youtuber. Which in itself is a content consumption cycle that I had before.

What I find fascinating about this is that there are new discoveries of underground structures that really changed the game.

It solves the mystery why ancient megasites are looking at summer and winter solstice, because that's where the danger would come from.

It ties in with flooding myths that are found in many cultures.


  • gnz11 16 days ago

    > Netflix Docu

    I’m assuming you are referring to Graham Hancock? In which case, I wouldn’t put too much stock into it. He’s been hawking conspiracy theories for a long time. https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2022/nov/23/ancient...

    • imiric 16 days ago

      I'm in the middle of watching Ancient Apocalypse, and, as a lifelong skeptic, I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

      Hancock isn't a scientist, and has never claimed to be. He presents himself as an investigative journalist. What he explores in his work are a series of "what if" questions that science either can't disprove, or hasn't been actively researching, for whatever reason.

      The show is beautifully shot and produced, and provokes some interesting thought experiments. Besides "free thinkers" making an appearance, there are also "mainstream" scientists from renowned institutions around the world, who seem to side with Hancock in many ways.

      If the show does nothing but raise more public awareness about these topics, it might lead to funding actual scientific research in some of these sites, which would be a good thing.

      So far from being a "dangerous show", it's actually an interesting and well-shot documentary. People who see it as proof of anything factual are likely already conspiracy theorists, and are a lost cause for logical thinking anyway.

      • Lorkki 16 days ago

        > that science either can't disprove, or hasn't been actively researching, for whatever reason

        Most often the reason is lack of evidence in proportion to the claims.

        • imiric 15 days ago

          Most of Hancock's claims aren't really provable by evidence, or there hasn't been much research done to produce it. He's essentially saying "Isn't this curious? Scientists should look into it.", and "What if this alternative explanation is true?".

          This is unlike other "proper" conspiracy theories that claim to know the facts, and present made-up evidence to back up their claims, while ignoring any actual scientific proof that works against them.

          Critics can ridicule his claim that an advanced ice-age civilization existed all they want (and there are good counter arguments that do just that[1]), but it's certainly curious that advanced structures were built by what modern history tells us should've been hunter-gatherer groups, millennia before the birth of the oldest civilizations we know about. This is worth thinking about, but more importantly, scientifically researching, so that we can have a better understanding of our past and ancestors.

          The more Hancock is ignored, ridiculed and labeled as a crackpot, the more it feels like the scientific community doesn't want to research this for whatever reason, thus proving some of his points.

          [1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwTkDkSbO-4

          • Lorkki 15 days ago

            > Most of Hancock's claims aren't really provable by evidence, or there hasn't been much research done to produce it. He's essentially saying "Isn't this curious? Scientists should look into it."

            Why should they, though? He seems to be staking much of his credibility on vague accusations that someone is not doing the work. Mostly the case seems to be that his propositions are not being ignored, they simply lack substance.

            The thing is, the less evidence you have, the easier it is to come up with any number of stories that "fit" the data points. Historians therefore need to be extremely conscious about only drawing conclusions that have an undisputed record supporting them. That is the whole basis of the scientific methodology; if you can't get the evidence, you have no argument.

            The period Hancock has chosen to focus on is commonly called "prehistory" for a good reason, as without any written records, there's not much of a basis to build any kind of narrative that stands up to scrutiny. Especially if you only cherry-pick data points that fit your assumptions, and wilfully ignore a gigantic void in the rest of the known record.

            Surely that is a problem with the credibility of the claims themselves, and not the rest of the world.

            • imiric 13 days ago

              > Why should they, though?

              Because of what I mentioned in my previous comment. Because we don't have a scientific answer to how a group of nomadic hunter-gatherers would be able to construct some of these complex monolithic structures, millennia before the dawn of modern civilizations. The timelines we're talking about here certainly make it difficult to gather any conclusive evidence, but the fact that these structures are understudied points to deficiencies in modern archaeology.

              Hancock never claims to have the definitive answer to these questions, and from my exposure to his work, he always phrases his claims as a "what if ...?" scenario. He weaves some loosely related myths into a somewhat coherent narrative, but it's clear that as a journalist, he has no scientific qualifications, nor has he done scientific research to present any definitive conclusions.

              My point is that any reasonably well educated person who is not already prone to conspiracy theories shouldn't find his work to be conspiratorial or untrue, but mostly interesting and entertaining. Rather than dismiss his wild ideas as being "pseudoscientific" (which is ridiculous, considering he never claims to be a scientist), we should invest more in funding actual scientific research so that we can get some valid answers. Until then, I'll find shows like Ancient Apocalypse very entertaining.

      • 8note 16 days ago

        I don't know if sites getting studies funded is unequivocally good.

        It could mean some other promising research doesn't get funded

      • cloutchaser 16 days ago

        It’s really sad that you need to explain yourself like this. Some people have the perspective that anyone who’s ever been on the Joe rogan podcast is a conspiracy theorist, yet anyone who they’ve ever read about on the NYT is a fully responsible authentic scientist.

        This is clearly not the case, as you’ve just laid out about Hancock, not to mention there’s plenty of misinformation on the NYT as well.

    • theteapot 16 days ago

      Younger Dryas hypothesis is not Graham Hancock's. Not even close. He is just a proponent journalist. You can't wave aside an entire scientific evidence base just because an eccentric journalist or two endorsed a theory. Lazy, random links to Guardian opinion pieces aren't helping convince anyone either.

      • teh_klev 16 days ago

        I think you've misinterpreted the parent commenter (gnz11). They were referring specifically to the Hancock Netflix documentary mention hence the "> Netflix Docu" quoting from GP's comment, and not at all suggesting that the Younger Dryas is Hancock's theory.

        The "random link" to the Guardian article is about the Hancock documentary and reasonably valid to mention, even if it is an opinion piece. The article does not conflate the Younger Dryas theory with Hancocks pseudoscience, in fact there's no mention of the theory. Also if you read the Guardian article to the end it has an interesting observation:

        "If you don’t like Hancock’s story about the super-intelligent advanced civilisation being wiped off the face of the planet, here’s another that might explain how Netflix gave the greenlight to Ancient Apocalypse: the platform’s senior manager of unscripted originals happens to be Hancock’s son. Honestly, what are the chances?"

    • peoplefromibiza 16 days ago

      The problem is not Hancock, he is who he is and honestly he produces entertainment not different from the alien series on HC or the endless stream of pseudohistory or pseudo science, that can be fun taken with a grain of salt. The real problem with Hancock are the kinda white supremacists books.

      The problem is that we have a real problem: we teach kids things we don't know for sure.

      I swear I am not 300 hundreds years old and they thaught me in school - science unequivocally says that - the Neanderthal men were the ancestors of the Sapiens, we have proof, we simply miss the link between Lucy and the Homo erectus and we're done, we explained everything!

      Turns out there were 12, no wait 14, no wait 15, no wait 21 different species of hominids and many of them were contemporary to the sapiens and 90% of the humans bear Neanderthal DNA.

      Just like there were no baby dinosaurs because we thought the smaller ones were different species.

      Archeologist and historians need to go out and say loud: we don't know anything about human history, but we have many good theories! please help!

      According to mainstream, Göbekli Tepe should not exist.

      I was thaught in school that there were no settlements at the time, absolutely impossible, scientific truth (tm)

      • meheleventyone 16 days ago

        Any investigatory process must necessarily go through periods of updating understanding in light of new evidence. As such it’s not unexpected that older things thought to be correct turn out to be wrong. That’s part of learning and refining knowledge.

        Sorry you had shit school teachers that didn’t help you understand that. I can understand the feeling of being betrayed when something you thought was an irrefutable fact turned out to be wrong by advances in the same field.

        • peoplefromibiza 16 days ago

          > As such it’s not unexpected that older things thought to be correct turn out to be wrong. That’s part of learning and refining knowledge.

          Of course.

          Now imagine me at 8 learning one thing "said to be taken for granted because <<science>>!" and me at 20 wondering how was it possible that everything was completely wrong and ancient history as we knew it wasn't much different from reading Nostradamus.

          It all literally radically changed in 15 years, we got it completely backwards, it wasn't simply "a period of understanding", everything was simply wrong.

          Everything, not just something.

          One example among too many: we thought and we were taught and students at university were taught that the size of the brain mattered and was unequivocally linked to intelligence (we know now it's simply a correlation), so Sapiens obviously had the biggest brain among humans and hominids.

          That was false too!

          Neanderthal had bigger brains.

          Does it mean they were more intelligent?

          *we don't know!*

          Another example: many dinosaurs had feathers, when we discovered it, I was already a young adult.

          And not just some of them, but hypothesis (is) that many, if not all non-avian dinosaur species also possessed feathers in some shape or form.

          Stonehenge and all the other cromlechs were believed to be built by the druids until the 60s of 20th century!

          There are 3 thousands years difference between the construction of Stonehenge and the first records of the druids, still the knowledge of them being "magical places" is still the most common among people.

          > Sorry you had shit school teachers that didn’t help you understand that

          Don't be so dismissive, if you read papers from the 80s, when I was a kid (I-m actually from the 70s), you'll see it wasn't my teachers, it was scientifically accepted, you could read about that in every book you could lend your hands on.

          No one contested that knowledge in public, it was "the truth".

          The only ones contesting those theories were the religious people, my city hosts the Vatican, you can imagine they were quite vocal about it.

          It wasn't so easy to shed some light on the topic even putting some effort into it.

          We were simply sitting on bogus knowledge, everything prior to 6-7 thousand years ago is obscure and cloudy, everything could either be and not be, except maybe aliens.

          We don't know, Hancock is obviously not a scientist and his theories are laughable, but could a civilization have existed before the ice age and have survived it?

          We don't know!

          We even miss a billion years of Earth geological history, it's almost a quarter of its entire existence.


          It's easy to understand why people can believe to crook theories about Atlantis and the saviour from the sea, it's actually interesting and if mainstream theories can be proven utterly wrong every 2 decades, who can say they are not true?

          It's the reason why religion still goes so strong, we need to be upfront and say that we don't know anything and the things we know are probably mostly wrong or we risk that history in the future will be taught by the Hancocks.

          • meheleventyone 16 days ago

            But the actual scientists, historians and so on are super careful in my experience to say “we don’t know” or explain the limits of their understanding so I don’t really understand what you have a problem with beyond poor teaching and poor lay interpretation. Even in popular media appearances, for example I enjoy the long running radio show ‘In Our Time’ which covers a lot of this ground with a lot of academic guests who are almost infuriating in their care to spell out the limits of what we do and don’t know.

            The point also should also be made that the burden of proof should be on the claimant. It’s perfect reasonable to take crackpot theories and say “there is no evidence to support that this is true” rather than “we don’t know”. And again in my experience it’s crackpots like Hancock that try to dissemble about how much we actually know.

            • peoplefromibiza 13 days ago

              > historians and so on are super careful in my experience to say “we don’t know”

              True, but they are now.

              When Evans discovered (and named) the Minoans in Crete, he did not know that they probably made human sacrifices, so in his eyes they were all modern and elegant like "la parisien" *

              * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Parisienne_(fresco)

          • lstodd 16 days ago

            Seriously insightful.

            Thank you for writing this.

    • HPsquared 16 days ago

      Not a great critique, limited to matters of personal taste rather than the actual content, while calling it "dangerous". Isn't there a better critique which covers the actual claims made in the series?

      • imiric 16 days ago

        I agree that the article is not a good critique.

        I liked this one[1] better. He makes some good points, particularly that there is no genetic trace of Hancock's advanced civilization in our DNA. And that if a global seafaring civilization existed around the last ice age, then we would've seen a mixing of agriculture well before Columbus. Worth a watch.

        [1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwTkDkSbO-4

      • RosanaAnaDana 16 days ago

        I think certain classes of claims one should be cautious about engaging with. The fact that so many have with so little scrutiny has had a seriously negative effect on our society. Having an opinion does not make it worth scrutinizing. My cat has an opinion on whether she should go to the vet or not. I don't take it into consideration.

        • susodapop 16 days ago

          Failing to engage with ideas you find distasteful just creates a vacuum of good information; which is the environment where conspiracy theories thrive. I've followed Graham Hancock for twenty years and have yet to see anyone properly dismantle his positions. I don't believe everything he says: but dogmatically dismissing him only fuels his narrative that mainstream archaeologists are trying to suppress him in order to save their jobs (and grants).

          Given the highly falsifiable nature of his claims it should easy enough to disprove them. That nobody chooses to do so is quite curious. I can watch a hundred spirited debates and proofs on both sides of flat-earth, fake moon landing, essential oils curing cancer, and evolution vs young-earth creationism. What is so special about archaeology that it needn't mount a similar, vigorous defense?

          • daveguy 16 days ago

            > Given the highly falsifiable nature of his claims it should easy enough to disprove them.

            I'm not sure how a fever dream about something that happened 12,000 years ago is falsifiable.

            What evidence would you propose falsifies his theories?

            If you believe you can watch a hundred proofs on both sides of flat-earth, you may want to reconsider your understanding of the word "proof".

            Proof is the burden of the claimant.

            If he had presented a plausible proof, there would probably be a spirited debate.

            It is curious that ignoring someone is considered "suppression" by those ignored.

          • teh_klev 16 days ago

            > Given the highly falsifiable nature of his claims it should easy enough to disprove them. That nobody chooses to do so is quite curious.

            Because it isn't worth anyone's precious time and effort in academia to respond to such obvious bunkum?

        • xattt 16 days ago

          To add to this, the grandparent post wants to hear the critiques about the content rather than the messenger.

          I think about the story of he discovery of H. pylori as contributing to peptic ulcer disease. The theory was widely rejected but ultimately proven. The mitigating factor in accepting the theory was that the researcher did not have a reputation of peddling quack theories.

          Past behaviour predicts future behaviour.

          • meheleventyone 16 days ago

            The mitigating factor was surely the extremely detailed evidence provided which is what is always lacking in conspiracy theories. The latter hide in the gaps in evidence and insinuation. The Hancock ‘documentary’ is basically an Atlantian of the gaps.

    • jsemrau 16 days ago

      Yes this one. I think it resonates because he is challenging a status quo and at the same time provides an explanation that works (at least for me). Is it fully proven? Surely not. This is science. New ideas and theories come up all the time.

    • snidane 16 days ago

      They said the same about Galileo.

      99% of the time you'll be correct labeling people as conspiracy theorists with the blanket rule - any time they are not mainstream approved. You'll end up being horribly wrong on that 1% that actually matters.

mif 16 days ago

Because people here talk a lot about extinction, I just wanted to point out that 99% of all species ever to have lived died out. What remained are the one we currently are in company with.

Also, after each mass extinction, there was a massive radiation of new species, for example the Cambrian explosion. No new species without extinction. Evolution, baby!!!

  • wruza 16 days ago

    Cambrian explosion is probably not a good example because one of the reasons (correlations) was oxygen levels and other planetary chemistry shifts. I mean yes, rocking the boat should probably restructure life in a more sophisticated way (like shaking a cup of screws makes it fill more gaps and settle better), but if the previous bacteria went extinct without these changes, that explosion could be unremarkable.

  • nathias 16 days ago

    I just want to add that 100% of all species will eventually die out. Cosmic death, baby.

ImJasonH 16 days ago

Good news everyone!

  • oxfordmale 16 days ago

    Climate change deniers were right after all, earth will be perfectly fine, it may just have to do with one less ape species /sarcasm

    • CameronNemo 16 days ago

      You kid, but two ape species are indeed on the brink of extinction. They get all of the costs of our civilization, such as rampant pollution and out of control infectious disease, with none of the privileges.

      Five great apes exist on earth today, two of them are on the brink of extinction, two are decreasing rapidly in population, and one is the most abundant primate species on earth.

      Orangutans and gorillas are critically endangered. Chimpanzees and bonobos are endangered. Humans are expanding.


optimalsolver 16 days ago

So the sixth wasn't too bad?

  • ASalazarMX 16 days ago

    > occurred 550 million years ago, during the Ediacaran period. [..]

    > Although unclear whether this represents a true “mass extinction,” the percentage of organisms lost is similar to these other events, including the current, ongoing one.

    > The researchers believe environmental changes are to blame for the loss of approximately 80% of all Ediacaran creatures, which were the first complex, multicellular life forms on the planet.

    Pretty bad, but a very old extinction, and order of magnitude older than the dinosaurs' extinction.

tamaharbor 16 days ago

Hopefully, we will be able to adapt to the climate changes here on earth, much like we would if we were to colonize an alternative planet.

Borrible 16 days ago

It won't be the last.

Who or what will pick the baton?

Bricklace 16 days ago

This may still not be the last. We have a lot ahead

zapataband1 16 days ago

any ideas on how to stop?

  • epgui 16 days ago

    We need to better price in the cost of destroying ecosystems-- think like we're doing with the carbon pricing, but much broader in scope. Basically what the "E" in "ESG" should stand for, if the system made sense. And we need international, cross-party alignment on this.

    I'm not extremely optimistic on our ability to do what it takes.

  • throwaway4aday 16 days ago

    You could kill all life on Earth, then there'd be no mass extinctions after that. You could put all animals in zoos and maintain their populations at a constant level but that's not a 100% guarantee. Best way would be to continue advancing human society so that we reach a state of such abundance that no one on Earth needs to put undue pressure on wild populations of animals while at the same time achieving a mastery of the natural world that would allow us to avert any major disasters that might befall the Earth such as asteroid impacts, coronal mass ejections, super volcanoes, gamma ray bursts, rogue black holes, and the death of the sun. Look sharp, we've got a lot of work ahead of us!

    • butMebbe 16 days ago

      How do we know material abundance (I’m assuming that’s what you mean) “is the way”? Perhaps that’s not what you mean but it’s not an unreasonable way of describing contemporary zeitgeist.

      A material minimum to sustain biology and abundance of time for altered states of such resolution and variety produced through nascent regenerative medicinal therapies like bio electrics is way more interesting; hack realities fields directly versus build synthetic machines to upgrade forever? Sign me up.

      IMO more building of synthetic stuff to appear different and novel is the wrong path. It’s classical physics.

      It may reduce industrial consumption as the outputs are the uniform means of producing a variety of experiences not a literal variety of things necessitating bespoke assembly lines.

      But humans are so literal. Carry on with rockets because Star Trek. Few think “take pill, believe I’m Captain Kirk with Orion cadet for an hour.” Drugs are bad, mmmk.

      • tshaddox 16 days ago

        If you think there are very long term existential threats we can’t protect against without massive technological advances, or if there might be existential threats we don’t know about yet, you probably don’t want a relatively static society regardless of how internally stable and comfortable it seems to be. We probably need to up our game a lot to even be safe from existential threats we know about, like asteroid/comet impacts. And what about supernovae? And what about stuff that might be even less frequent that we don’t even know about?

        I guess what I’m saying is that optimizing for stability and comfort almost certainly is at odds with optimizing for longevity. Unless we eventually have some good reason to think that we’ve discovered all the long-term existential threats and are protected against them.

        • pmitow 16 days ago

          Human civilization is only 6,000 years old. Worrying about supernovae and comets is really jumping the gun. Our biggest danger -- by many orders of magnitude -- is ourselves.

          • tshaddox 15 days ago

            Everything I said applies just as well to existential threats caused by humans!

      • throwaway4aday 15 days ago

        I won't stand in your way if you want to live in a commune in the woods foraging for roots and berries. It's your life so do what you want with it. I prefer living in a heated house with modern amenities like smokeless lighting and clean drinking water.

    • aew4ytasghe5 16 days ago

      The road to hell was paved with good intentions.

    • qwytw 16 days ago

      You're assuming that almost all of those wild animal species won't be extinct by that point?

      • throwaway4aday 15 days ago

        I'm talking about future mass extinctions. The hard fact of life on Earth is that species die, we've had several mass extinctions (defined as >75% of species going extinct) but there is always a background extinction rate. That background rate is conservatively estimated to be 130 vertebrate species every 100 years. The reason people are saying we are at the beginning of another mass extinction event caused by human activity is because we have apparently accelerated that rate. I say we are at the beginning because as it stands about 1% to 2% of vertebrate animals that were present throughout human history have now gone extinct. We have a fair ways to go before we hit mass extinction levels but there are a significant number of species that are threatened or endangered. The confounding issue is that we are studying this problem and also have been mitigating it for at least 50 years if not longer if you count less organized attempts at conservation.

        Personally, I don't think we are going to continue to increase the rate of extinction as long as we continue to modernize the rest of the world. As people are lifted out of poverty they have more time to spend worrying about their environment and the animals that inhabit it. The best thing we can do is to make sure that no one on Earth lives in poverty that requires them to cut down and burn wood for fuel and heat, make sure they have fertilizer so they can get the best crop yields out of limited land without having to slash and burn wildlands, have access to refrigeration so they don't waste l3% or more of the food they grow, and have proper infrastructure so they can manage their waste water and garbage disposal without polluting natural water ways and the land surrounding urban centers.

  • simlevesque 16 days ago

    Incredibly massive decrease in GDP. It'll happen regardless.

  • Ancalagon 16 days ago
    • insanitybit 16 days ago

      What a great way to remove everyone who gives a shit from the next generation.

      • ouid 16 days ago
        • rayiner 16 days ago

          But Republicans are the ones having kids. The GOP leads democrats 2:1 among people with kids at home. https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/documents/monmout... (PDF page 10)

          • 8note 16 days ago

            That doesn't necessarily mean that those kids will also be republican. Young people continuously move more to the left.

            After all, the jokes about no politics at Thanksgiving has a lot to do with much more conservative old people having different ideas than the youth

            • vixen99 16 days ago

              > Young people continuously move more to the left.

              And then to the right as they get older. A surprising number of British politicians on the right were Marxists in their youth.

              • rayiner 15 days ago

                Same for Gen-X in the US: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/05/20/cherie-wes...

                > Now, though, there is no confusion: Generation X is safely Republican. One model from 2014 measuring only white voters through the 2012 election shows those born in the mid-to-late 1960s being the most Republican-leaning of all, more so than the older Boomers and Silent generation.

          • tptacek 16 days ago

            Page 10 of this document doesn't say what you say it does.

            • rayiner 16 days ago

              PDF page 10 (page 2 of the cross tabs) asks “would you rather see republicans or democrats control the house.” 64% say republicans or lean Republican, versus 29% that say democrats or lean democrats. 6% say no lean or not sure.

              • tptacek 15 days ago

                Among other issues, that number will change sharply depending on who's in the White House.

          • svnt 16 days ago

            Sampling by telephone is a terrible methodology.

            • rayiner 16 days ago

              538 gives Monmouth University an “A” in its ratings of pollsters: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/pollster-ratings. I think they know what they’re doing.

              (This October poll also nailed the actual 4 point spread in the congressional popular vote.)

              • svnt 16 days ago

                That’s great, but you can get that without getting blue parents. I have a small sample of red parents but a large sample of blue parents in my circle and they don’t answer unknown numbers. I realize this is anecdotal.

                • rayiner 16 days ago

                  Most people don’t answer unknown phone calls, but the ones who do answer the phone don’t skew more red or blue compared to the folks who don’t: https://www.pewresearch.org/methods/2017/05/15/what-low-resp... (“Telephone poll estimates for party affiliation, political ideology and religious affiliation continue to track well with estimates from high response rate surveys conducted in-person, like the General Social Survey.”)

                  Pew is of course the gold standard in polling organizations.

                  • svnt 15 days ago

                    Your linked article discusses how telephone methodology has numerous significant flaws.

                    > The finding that a low response rate leads to substantial bias on some topics (e.g., volunteering) but not others (e.g., partisanship or religious affiliation) underscores the importance of having high response rate in-person surveys, which make such knowledge possible.

                    The above quote is saying “we can’t get accurate detailed demographics via phone” but using positively-oriented PR speak to do it. This is another way of admitting “in detail our demographics do not match the underlying population.” This could mean that their blue skews young, their red skews old, or their blue skews uneducated or vice versa, etc.

                    The article is from 5.5 years ago when they were just transitioning from landline polling to cell phone polling. Call spam has increased significantly since then.

                    Pew was founded in 1990 to do telephone research so of course they were going to defend it, but 2017 is when questions were just starting to be asked about it (in the context of a shift to mobile).

          • idlewords 15 days ago

            Woke kids are radicalizing their parents!

    • Georgelemental 16 days ago

      I want a clean planet so future generations can enjoy it.

    • mc32 16 days ago

      The P-word. No on wants to say the P-word and demand ZPG worldwide.

      Obviously this would be a planned and humane policy, unlike the forced and inhumane policies of the one child policy of the CCP. Education, opportunity, access to contraceptives as well as ideological propaganda.

      • Ancalagon 16 days ago

        I say "don't have kids" half-heartedly because I actually want them. But I also understand that having them is perpetuating the system which got us here in the first place. You're kidding yourself if you believe otherwise, the way developing nations are coming up should be more than enough evidence of that. If it comes between living rich but destroying the environment, and living in poverty (or really even just less-rich) but keeping nature preserved, people will choose the former every single time.

        • BLKNSLVR 16 days ago

          If you want kids and don't eventually have them purely for this reason then you'll regret it doubly.

          The more conscientious people who have kids should at least maintain the number of conscientious people in the world (so I believe anyway, potentially romantically incorrectly).

          Religions maintain themselves purely through indoctrination prior to coherent thought, why not use that same hack for actual useful ends. (Hah! I'm such an optimist).

          • NateEag 16 days ago

            > Religions maintain themselves purely through indoctrination prior to coherent thought, why not use that same hack for actual useful ends. (Hah! I'm such an optimist).

            [Citation needed]

            I've encountered several examples of people who were raised pure humanist/materialist and became one stripe or another of religious later in life, including

            - Simone Weil (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simone_Weil)

            - my father, raised by an atheist and agnostic, was an aggressive atheist until his college years when he became a deist (he further converted to evangelical Christianity while in medical school).

            - Bruce Greyson, raised a pure materialist but became vaguely spiritual and inclined towards dualism after decades of studying NDEs (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Greyson)

            It may not be common to start off atheist and become theistic, but it does happen.

            • BLKNSLVR 16 days ago

              My sister is a born again Christian, so it's not true for her either, but it's definitely true for her kids.

              Imma keep working on em though ;)

          • sammalloy 16 days ago

            Idiocracy hypothesis says otherwise. The least educated and intelligent have the most numbers of offspring.

            • PlasmaOInterest 16 days ago

              And, thankfully, geniuses randomly and repeatedly arise amongst them.

            • BLKNSLVR 16 days ago

              In which case 'the conscientious minority' must continue to breed to at least slow the rate of the declining percentage.

            • nisegami 16 days ago

              We can disincentivize it substantially by replacing tax benefits for having kids with tax burdens for having kids, promoting family planning and making contraceptives free and easily accessible as possible, making childbirth and childrearing as expensive as possible, etc.

      • insanitybit 16 days ago

        How can population be the issue when a tiny subset of individuals and organizations account for virtually all of the environmental changes?

        • blooalien 16 days ago

          Overpopulation isn't truly the actual problem. It's merely a symptom of that "tiny subset of individuals" having been allowed to monopolize and mismanage most of the resources and manpower of planet Earth unto themselves as their playthings. Sadly it's a symptom that seriously complicates the matter.

          • mc32 16 days ago

            Who manages their limited resources better, a prosperous Japan or a developing Vietnam?

      • midasuni 16 days ago

        Global birth rate per persn has been dropping for decades. Absolute global birthdate has been pretty stable for 30 years.

  • zeroonetwothree 16 days ago
    • shmageggy 16 days ago

      If by “worked out ok” you mean where life on earth is reduced to little more than weeds and it takes millions of years for the complex ecosystems that support humanity to reemerge, then yeah, it worked out just fine. We would definitely go extinct after a long period of decline and suffering, but let’s not worry about that.


      • refurb 16 days ago

        On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

        On a long enough timeline the survival rate for the earth approach 1.

    • sensitivefrost 16 days ago

      "Do we need to stop something called a 'mass extinction'" is certainly a take.

      • ativzzz 16 days ago

        Just like a fire is part of a forest's ecosystem it's possible that a mass extinction is part of the Earth's natural lifecycle and is beneficial in the very very long term

        • BLKNSLVR 16 days ago

          Are we happy, however, with anything that's beneficial to Earth's long term natural cycle if it happens to come with our own potential / likely extinction? (or at least a very heavy hit to the lifestyle to which we've become accustomed).

          I care about the environment insomuch as it's upon what our very lives depend as opposed to the environment in and of itself. It's my enjoyment of the environment and the wonder of its variation that is something valuable to lose, but it's loss is also an existential threat to, basically, me and all those I care about in the universe.

          • highwaylights 16 days ago

            > I care about the environment insomuch as it's upon what our very lives depend as opposed to the environment in and of itself.

            I mean, sure, but that’s largely what got us into this mess.

        • lostcolony 16 days ago

          So recognizing that periodic fire is part of the natural cycle is one thing, and purposely igniting every tree you come across is quite another.

        • wruza 16 days ago

          Life on Earth probably has one (~maybe two) very very long terms left before Sun vapes it all. Also, since all under-your-feet fossils and minerals are basically depleted, the chance for another technological civilization after ours is vanishingly small.

        • antod 16 days ago

          I don't really care about the other later phases of Earth's natural lifecycle - I kinda like this one. So much so, that I'm going to be investing in the other ones at all.

          Now if only that was the kind of short term thinking humans were afflicted with.

    • alistairSH 16 days ago

      Sure, if “humanity disappears from the universe” is an acceptable outcome.

      Not to mention the potential for long, painful decline for humans alive at the end.

      • 8note 16 days ago

        I don't think the long painful decline for humans at the end is an avoidable thing.

        Eventually there will only be iron stars around in the universe, and it will be exceedingly difficult to increase the entropy of the universe with them

        • alistairSH 15 days ago

          By that point, any remaining people likely won’t be recognizably human, so I’m not overly concerned about that. Plus, that’s billions of years off.

          Climate damage that begins to kill off my great-grand kids (probably through water wars or similar), who I could conceivably see born, is a very real possibility.

    • cortesoft 16 days ago

      Depends on how you define ok. If you define "ok" as "life will continue on the planet", then yes, it will work out ok... if you define it as "humans will survive" then we can't be so sure.

    • epgui 16 days ago

      I guess it depends on if your definition of "intelligence" includes a basic self-preservation clause.

    • BLKNSLVR 16 days ago

      The dinosaur equivalent of zeroonetwothree would disagree if he hadn't suffocated on sulphur-laden air a few years back.

    • balfebs 16 days ago

      Without other planets to examine, we have no way of knowing whether this is survivorship bias.

      Is life truly that tenacious or are we incredibly lucky? Perhaps best not to tempt fate if the latter.

    • pieresqi 16 days ago

      No, let's get rid of humanity.

      • sammalloy 16 days ago

        Let’s transition to renewables and sustainability instead.

    • actually_a_dog 16 days ago

      Well, there is the slight matter of how we weren't around for the previous N mass extinctions. I would say the possibility of us, or at least our civilization, going extinct warrants action.

  • wahnfrieden 16 days ago

    end capitalism and establish especifist anarchism

    • wahnfrieden 16 days ago

      there's no technology solution that comes fast enough in an economic growth at any cost technocracy. graeber/wengrow already did the legwork on finding alternatives to be possible without needing to undo discovery of agriculture or unwind to smaller societies.

eucryphia 16 days ago
  • bamboozled 16 days ago

    Sorry, but I have to ask, what are you talking about ?

    • ChrisClark 16 days ago

      He seems to think that if we stop polluting the earth, the trees will not have enough CO2... Never heard THAT one before. He also mentioned the sun going 'quiet', so he's probably one of those that thinks global warming is only because the sun is hotter right now, not because of CO2.

      • sammalloy 16 days ago

        Koch network propaganda. They also believe we should move underground and evolve into subterranean cave dwelling Morlocks to escape the heat—instead of using less oil. And yes, they actually proposed that idea in lieu of transitioning to renewables. It was one of the highlights of their science museum exhibitions about climate change. Nothing is too crazy for these people. My favorite, however, is when they sold specialized Koch lesson plans to schools. The Koch curriculum was designed to teach students to sacrifice their health and well-being on behalf of the free market, since as major oil producers, environmental regulation hurt their bottom line. From what I understand, some US states are still using those lesson plans or similar ones like them.

zython 16 days ago

Buy 6, get one free.