Brian Sullivan

We are constantly bombarded by facts. This new truth and then another. Their truths seem undeniable. Then we, or perhaps some expert working, we hope, in our behalf, extrapolates this information into our lives. It seems that for every step we take forward there is also unintended backward steps. We think we have the answers and yet for every positive thought we ...

Consider this example reported in the New York Times of February 17, 2009 (cliclk the link if you want to read the whole interestuing article).

"The Unintended Consequences of Changing Nature’s Balance” In 1985, Australian scientists kicked off an ambitious plan: to kill off non-native cats that had been prowling the island’s slopes since the early 19th century. The program began out of apparent necessity — the cats were preying on native burrowing birds. Twenty-four years later, a team of scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division and the University of Tasmania reports that the cat removal unexpectedly wreaked havoc on the island ecosystem.

With the cats gone, the island’s rabbits (also non-native) began to breed out of control, ravaging native plants and sending ripple effects throughout the ecosystem. “Our findings show that it’s important for scientists to study the whole ecosystem before doing eradication programs,” said Arko Lucieer, a University of Tasmania remote-sensing expert and a co-author of the paper."

Now let it be known that I love and respect science. The scientific method has done much great service to mankind. Let it be known I also recognise that humans seem to not ne very good at holistically predicting the outcome of their choices. Science must be restrictive for something to be testable. People and nature are not so desirous of being easily catalogued. For every form of progress, with experts telling us their will be l;ittle impact, their is a compounding intereaction of little changes that collectively snowball upon us.
We, need to learn all about the system in which we exist - the forces influencing us as well as the forces through which we affect everything - before trying to change anything in the system. Because the system is integral, we now have a domino effect on the global scale, where any small, particular error causes a systemic, global collapse.
The problem is that human psychology is also part of the system that controls us and for all its progress we know still so little of our minds.

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