Yes, I am one of those annoying people who pick movies to pieces. Of course, when the movie is fantasy, I am capable of suspending disbelief to enjoy the movie. In the case of the new movie, Noah, however, that isn’t an option.

The reason being that there are many people who still take the fable as truth – some going as far as to waste their life away on a vain effort to find evidence.

How can I be so sure that the story of Noah arises in the Middle Eastern dreamtime? Because of engineering. Because of biology. Because of earth.

Of engineering.

Engineering is not my field, so I’ll leave it up to others. In short, a wooden boat of such a size defies the known properties of the material and cannot be replicated by engineers.

Of biology

Now into a territory I’m more familiar with, I will need to break this down to many points to show just how idiotic the idea is.

Scale

No boat could be big enough.

It would have appeared otherwise to the all-too-human author at the time, with their limited experience of life that existed at the time of writing in other corners of the world and of all the life that had ever previously existed.

Even assuming all the dinosaurs and mega-fauna forgot to buy their tickets and assuming genus, or even families were the “kinds” described, the line would still have been too long (eg. ranging from the many millions with species down to the many thousands of families – which in turn would require evolution along the lines of Pokemon, that is within a generation or two, to account for all the species today).

Worse than that; the floods would have either been saline or fresh, meaning that the SS Noah would have needed aquariums for all species of the opposing environment.

And this point is a catch-22; if we grant that the waters were saline – in turn leaving the massive per-historic marine reptiles and modern marine mammals off of the ark – well, then this boat needed to carry a year’s worth of water for all those on board.

Fresh flood waters demands tanks big enough for the likes of blue whales and their buddies.

Resources

The problem of thirst isn’t the end of the problem with resources.

We must also consider what we could forgive the writer for not knowing; trophic levels. That is to say, animals eat each other.

To support just the big carnivorous cats and dogs over this period, we couldn’t have just two of every species – but rather whole herds of prey species. These sacrificial herds were never mentioned.

This in turn magnifies the problem of feed for the herbivores, as the prey herds will need vast amounts of food and water to maintain the meat-eaters.

Assuming that the floods were fresh, thereby saving Noah the issue of carrying the water, he would still need to catch hundreds of tons of krill prior to the flood (because the freshening water would have killed them off) to feed however many baleen whales he needed to carry to “evolve” into the species we see today.

As soon as you factor in food, the already absurdly small boat looks even worse.

Breeding

Again, we could forgive an author a few millennia ago for being ignorant, in this case, of limits to viable population size.

Sure, a few breeding pairs of a given rodent might take off in a new environment, but that’s not guaranteed. We only need to look at how many times rabbits needed to be introduced to Australia before they exploded.

When you are talking about a species that may only breed once a year or even longer, the chances that a single breeding pair would suffice to save to species is effectively shot.

And I’ve ignored the problem of inbreeding here, which would have played havoc with subsequent generations.

Having a singly breeding pair of every known species (or genus or family), Noah would have been lucky to have any persist and flourish.

And now the real kicker

To sprinkle salt into the wound, the year on the ark in itself means everything.

Not only would he need to carry all the animals and all the food (and potentially water) to survive the year, but also for much longer. Worse than this, he would have needed to carry tons of seed.

No seedbank (ie. seeds in the top soil) would remain viable for such a period under the flood. Apart from the osmotic pressure – or high salinity – caused by the flood itself and apart from the silt collection from a year of turbulent water movement (remembering that this silt, the creation would tell us, led to all the fossils), the seeds would simply expire.

So, Noah would have needed herds of prey to release after the flood and enough food to support these as well as the herbivore breeding pairs while he reseeded the entire global terrestrial landscape with all the plant life we see today.

None of this is mentioned and must fail the laugh test.

Of earth

This problem is one noted prior to Darwin even learning his alphabet. No-one has found a single example of a fossilised duck mingled with Triceratops.

We could take this further and state that there has never been fossilised evidence of a giant ground sloth being killed by a t-rex, of a human kill of any dinosaur or of pterosaur competing with a large eagle (noting that they share the same niche).

That’s because these species existed in different geological periods.

The flood silt didn’t conveniently cover different groups in sequence. Of everything, the fossil record is both the most damning and easiest to understand to anyone who has any actual interest in reality.

If these ancient stories are true, show me the fossils.

Back to the movie

Sure, it looks dramatic, but with so many plots holes, the story fails before it even begins. Yet, for the true believer, it would, absurdly, be cementing to their faith. This work of fiction will be watched by the faithful as though it were some documentary!

Of course, Russell won’t be shooing off any dinosaurs or else the critics would rip it to shreds.

Which brings me to the crux; there is a way out for the faithful. It is the only way out and one few who want to soundintellectual is likely to mention; magic.

“Oh, the boat would break? God held it together.”

“Oh, the boat wasn’t big enough? God made the animals shrink for the trip.”

“Oh, there wouldn’t possibly be room enough for all the food and water? God ran a meals-on-wheels service.””

“Oh, there’s a problem with salt or fresh water? God made all aquatic life temporarily salt tolerant.

“Oh, two individuals don’t make for a viable population? God again…”

“God… God… God…”

Geeezus! Give up with the mockery of science and admit to placing faith in ancient stories over genuine certainty derived through critical analysis and get on making Adam and Eve Dino parks. If you’re willing to suspend the laws of the known universe to make your story fit reality, you are no longer talking about science – which is all about those laws. There’s nothing wrong with that, just admit it.

I don’t care. Live and let live.

If only they could admit to their warped, magically inclined reality, we could dutifully write it off and stop pretending to take it seriously.

Then, perhaps, I would allow myself to suspend disbelief and watch the epic, yet terribly scripted, movie.

With the discovery of the early jawed fish, another gap for the creationist god has been culled.

But what irritates me is how the debate usually places evolutionary science on the back foot. As though it has to prove itself against creation myth.

Think about it, the insanity doesn’t lay with being great apes, with whom we share not only most of our genetic make up but also appearance, but that a god supposedly made us and other apes.

What’s with that? In trying to make something from dirt in “thy image”, did “He” get it wrong a shitload of times (yes, look not only at living apes, but other hominids, such as Neanderthals etc).

What about other primates? Was god drunk when he made them, seeing as they are in the same ballpark, but way off? What about oceanic mammals or true seagrass?

What the hell must this supposedly perfect being have been smoking to make such creatures?

It’s shameful that we treat creationists with respect. That we are supposed to think that a god thought it a great idea to make both testicles have a different path to the exit or that chimps and bonobos were a great idea – otherwise obviously very similar to us – is madness.

The recent Nye and Ham “debate” illustrates too much kindness to dreamtime delusions. Stop allowing accommodation to those who want, or need, myth to persist in an age when our developed critical reasoning cannot help but laugh at a talking snake convincing a rib woman to eat fruit…

The problem doesn’t sit with gaps in the fossil record, but instead with people who fail to apply Ockham’s razor when the only alternative is a stoned egotist who failed to mention the benefits of basic hygiene between pages of applauding genocide and servitude (provided you were female or of a different race of religion).

No, in the 21st century, evolutionary science is no longer in a position to defend itself. Creationism is on the back foot. Creationism must provide a convincing argument as to why we should consider it valuable in this day and age. I doubt it has one, hence why it stages this side show with the fossil record.

There is nothing wrong in exploring the potential for a soul. It is, after all, a hypothesis and thus merits investigation.

However, the evidence must first be convincing before any level of confidence is established.

I had it proposed to me that the human brain is basically a circuit board; a rich network of highways, buzzing with energy. As energy cannot be destroyed, the essence of who we are persists beyond death, like a driver stepping out of a car.

This was proposed to the individual I was talking with from someone with tertiary training in physics – an appeal to authority, of course.

I know enough about physics to know that energy cannot be created or destroyed and I also know that matter is parcels of energy as well. In truth, all that we are and all that surrounds as were pressed together in the tiniest of spaces just after the birth of the universe.

In a way, we were all there, at the beginning, and closer than we will ever be again.

But that is more poetic than relevant. There is no reason to suggest that energy holds a consciousness. If so, did I recharge my phone yesterday with my long dead great-grandfather? There’s something wrong with that picture.

The human mind is alive with energy impulses, but it is just as immersed in chemical reactions. We are a hotbed of hormones, thriving for chemical equilibrium where it counts.

If the car had poor while alignment, when the driver steps out, does she have a limp?

I was informed that a personality carries through, to “the other side”, which would lead to the necessity for the question to be, absurdly, answered with a “yes”.

An angry person; a mentally disabled person; surely their traits are the result of hormones and a malfunctioning body; surely the soul cannot be injured by such. What of a person with an overtly high sex drive? That would clearly be the result of hormones and would serve no function to a bodiless entity.

Just because someone with additional training on one subject proposes a hypothesis that sounds logical, this doesn’t inherently provide evidence, only a question asked. That species seemed unique suggested to divine creation – something the evidence has since proven wrong.

Genuine physicists are in the business of understanding how matter and energy work and if energy can be conscious, then this effort would be in vain as energy could never be predictable, just as I would be unable to tell when you might next sneeze, yawn or what your next thought may be…

It is reassuring to think that life may exist in some fashion beyond ones being and I have no problem with scientific investigations on the subject. However, I get slightly irate when sloppy musings are dressed up as informed arguments. If anything, such behaviour hurts the cause and credibility of the proponents.

I used to be called a “know it all” but, by now I hope my readers know me better than that. I seek reality. I share my views because it’s the only way to test them. I invite constructive criticism, but not insult. I have equal tolerance of insulated ideologies as I do for insult, because such are insults to the human mind.

If an opinion is shared in public space, it is done so with the expectation that others will test the ideas proposed for their factual merit. If the author does not live up to this expectation, becoming unreasonably offended and/or resorting to insult, then the author is demanding nothing less than dark-age authority. That is to say, “my views ought to be held beyond reproach because I favour them”.

Excuse my language, but that is bullshit.

We get nowhere as an intelligent species by lusting over fantasy any more than we would wishfully thinking that some spell may cure our ailment. We need data, we need quality evidence, on which to base our statements and planning if we are to do better than simply gamble our way through life. I, for one, will not gamble the lives of my children on favourable ideas – my own or others. I seek reality because of this.

We are told never to debate religion and politics over the dinner table, but that is gutless. Surely the results of both mean as much to everyone present at the table and hopefully each wants the best for themselves, their family’s and for their friends. Why then cower away from such topics, when the results of such ideologies can negatively taint how an individual sees another, based purely on gender, race and sexual preference or when it could mean the difference between general prosperity and growing inequality?

I’m not weak nor am I under the impression that I am right. I’m entirely about testing ideas so that I can find an acceptable path forward so as I can watch my children grow into happy, confident and empowered adults. Without any fantasy of an awaiting “bonus level” beyond my mortality, my sole desire is to help to propagate a society that fulfils these objectives beyond my lifespan, to illustrate my love for my family. When I can no longer provide guidance, knowing that I helped build an easier environment for my family is, at least for me, the most rewarding and comforting outlook I can fathom.

And so I hold insulated ideologies the most insidious and inhumane affronts to our species. I will be damned if I stand by as such invasive mindlessness corrodes our societies. I thank anyone who critiques my thoughts, as you provide me the greatest gift in removing uncertainty from my life. Others that share this view are the few brave ones whom carry our species into a brighter future.

I’ve been musing about my online efforts, the root to my frustrations and motivations and it all seems to come back to a fairly mundane point;

I have no faith in a paradise awaiting me in the future, so I’m driven to making one here and now.

My father always told me that violence is the default position of the moron, too feeble to reason. That’s part of the reason why I spent much of my adolescence with a split lip, cursing myself for not holding my tongue when some thug grunted in my direction.

I needed to learn too when silence was required – that is, when the noise made was aimed to stir emotion rather than reason. I have the online trolls to thank for that lesson.

All of this came to mind when hearing the latest news from Pakistan in relation to their upcoming election.

In truth, these terrorists only demonstrate that they are wrong.

From a strictly secular point of view, if the social package they had on offer truly provided the chance for improved human flourishing, then they could sufficiently reason as much and many people would adopt it. They wouldn’t need brutality to make their point.

From a spiritual perspective, how impotent does your deity need to be to require young men – this deities apparently loved creation – to strap explosives to themselves to make this super being’s point?

At least the Westbro Baptist church claims natural events are the wrath of their impression of a god, as naive and grotesque as it may be. This position is more “defensible” as far as spirituality is concerned.

If they require to undertake horribly inhumane acts on the behalf of their deity, these individuals demonstrate that they have no faith in the abilities of their deity. They ought to be able to simply enjoy a nice peaceful life and let god get on with teaching its creation about itself.

Of course, I strongly suspect nothing but silence in the way of “wrath” from some superbeing, and so must such people if they act in such a fashion. The actions undertaken do nothing but undermine the faith involved.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that the following may be somewhat pessimistic. It may even sound not unlike the rantings of a youth. However how can one be certain of an idea without first testing it?

From my dealings with the devoted (religious, alternative medicine and secular rejecters of science alike) I understand that the implied answer to my question above is not universal. That said…

We often hear of our power; that is our consumer power, our political power, our people power – all of which we sway with our wallets, our ballot forms and our numbers in turn. But what truth is there in it?

I suspect, not a lot.

Politically

Take firstly the political power. Democracy is clearly a failing process under the weight of interest dollars. In the US and to a lesser extent Australia and elsewhere, a successful candidate requires funding and such funding does not come from the general voter, but the wealthy. Funding a successful campaign thus leaves a candidate on some level owing to the funders.

This would seem to be the reason for the main parties of such countries tending to the right, without significant difference between them apart from extreme or central right objectives. The voter is frustrated that the political will simply does not speak for them.

Within Australia, it has been widely discussed, with contempt, how Gina Rinehart and fellows successfully undermined the mining tax, to ensure they did not return more to the commonwealth from their exploits of common resources.

How does the individual have political power where the candidates do not speak truly for them?

Consumer Sway

With consumer power, the situation is even more convoluted, due to the “middleman”. We are told that, if we do not like a product or agree with the company’s ethics, we would simply not buy the product.

Yet, in reality, we simply do not know where our money goes. With multi-national conglomerates, we may be deciding between two products ultimately owned by the same body, say Unilever.

Moreover, of the wealth generated from the product; production lines continually upgrade to automate the process as much as possible; where possible, the primary resources are sourced from third world producers whom accept lower returns. This all reduces overheads and in turn maximises company profits and shareholder returns. Yet the consumer is unaware of this erosion of local jobs and wealth creation, largely at their long-term expense.

How does the individual have consumer power where they are kept ignorant of movement of their money?

Numbers

What did the Occupy Movement achieve? Sleepless nights, I imagine, for the activists. Some air time to a serious problem (growing inequality), for a short time, for certain.

How many of these people involved have now returned to their lives in which, as consumers and voters, they continue to support, unwittingly, the very cause of their unrest? Effectively most, if not all of them.

Wherever middle class suburbia has not grabbed hold, people tend to spend less time at home. This is largely in the poorer communities around the world today and most places prior to the industrial revolution.

These people work harder than most of us can even imagine and when they are not working, they sleep. On the chance opportunity they do neither, they se friends and family. The reason being that their homes are basic and uninteresting, lucky to have many dividing walls. While we visualise it completely different, the reality is that the vast majority of humanity have always been born into and died within the slums.

The wealthy individual today has become something else.

The home in which we live is designed almost exclusively for mental masturbation. The “disposable” technology and furniture all provide us with an oasis of mindless entertainment in which we sit for countless hours, even at the expense of interacting with those whom we claim to love most dearly. Each individual plugged into a different device, paying for additional channels, internet access or the newest game at not only a financial expense, but a social one as well.

In short, we have been made into money trees, fertilised in a bed of mind-numbing stupidity, completely separated from our direct environment, peers and community.

How does the individual form part of a meaningful movement of minds where we are forever working, if we are unlucky or embedded within an environment perpetually distracted if not?

Individual Power

I opened this by highlighting the possibility that my recent thoughts have left me pessimistic and that may be the cause for such reflection. However, I’m unconvinced of this because I simply cannot see where, in a modern affluent democratic country, the genuine rights and capacity for change exist for the individual. We choose to live, just like everyone else or not and the latter option isn’t a real option in itself.

In this, I conclude I have found reason for the eventual submission of all individuals. It becomes easier to enjoy the stimuli of ones little plot and bloom and fruit into yet another money tree for harvest.

However, I personally find it increasingly distasteful, if not shameful to the individual and am forced to lament. I do so not from restlessness, but a lingering hope that there is something uniquely noble and valuable within our species that we have yet to acquire and all I find in its absence is mediocre sentiment and foolish, ego-centric amusement.

In a recent post, I made the point that the power of an idea is not with the transmitter, but entirely with the receiver. The only the difference (and I mean only) between Chris Monckton and, say, the walking sign, screaming hysterically that the end is near is the audience. The message is manic, obsessive and irrational in both cases, but the audience provide validity to the former over the latter.

In truth, my efforts have been focused upon such crackpots and in doing so, I’ve given them audience. Correcting an error airs the error and, from what I have seen, does little to improve the accuracy of information. The ardent climate “sceptic” remains committed, if not entrenched, regardless of the counterfactuals provided. The truther on fluoride, vaccination or creation remain as much so as well on their pet subject.

I’ve often convinced myself that my efforts are aimed, largely, to provide not a counterweight, but an example of the approach a true sceptic should take. This is critical thinking; do not simply believe a compelling argument, but investigate the evidence to see if it supports the conclusion. Yet, I’m no longer convinced that this is useful.

In fact, it costs me a lot of my personal time, it has brought me a lot of otherwise avoidable stress and recently it has gotten worse. I don’t receive huge traffic and yet what I have created has been provocative enough to merit genuine concern in my real life.

What frustrates me the most is that none of this even attempts to critique my work. I’m happy to be wrong, just prove it. Instead the target is the writer, leaving me convinced that I must in fact be correct and the opposing individuals simple do not wish to face reality.

 The Idea of Ideas

Dawkins “meme” seems revolutionary for the same reason the notion that free will is an illusion, as debated by Harris, sits so uneasy to most. In essence, it comes back to my point about the power of ideas.

We hold no ownership of ideas. Sure, an individual may provide new insight or invent something that changes how a society functions, but in truth, they only did so because of the background conditions that lead to that resolution. This is why our ancestors scratched out rudimentary agriculture around ten thousand years ago and not the tablet computer.

Ideas develop, sometimes fuse and eventually evolve, using us as hosts all along. Ideas belong to no-one. For this reason, the transmitter is of little importance.

Personally, I am certain that I am not ideological by nature.

Even as a child, my Lutheran upbringing never sat well with me. In my adolescence, I wanted to “believe” and researched what I could of numerous faiths to no avail.

Even an ideological basis to “environmentalism” cannot be labelled on me. I became passionate largely because I detested invasive weeds. I was passionate and naïve. My environmental message has changed due to my training and increasing education on the subject rather than  becoming solidified to a single position due to mounting counterfactuals.

Faithfully Online

This is what puts me at odds online. So much of my effort has been in addressing ideological positions or critiquing claims. This effort has largely been ineffective.

For the most part, I suspect the internet is not, as YouTube’s Thunderf00t puts it; “where religion goes to die,” but in fact the very opposite. The internet is one’s personal faith booster when reality stubbornly refuses to bend to a favoured position.

This is across the board; from the free-market ideologs, to the religious or pet-theorists, to even the environmental advocate or greeny-pretender, advocating a single solution to enormous problems (eg. like those whom push feverishly for nuclear power).

The internet is where propaganda thrives. It is not unlike the early days of the printing press and the audience then too had to learn new skills to avoid being taken for a ride. Of course, it was too often after their messiah had been proven false by the relentless erosion of time.

Futher, one online tool used is ‘troll bombardment’. If you call upon enough of your audience to comment wherever, you can provide a false impression of the general position. Again, the ability to critically analyse the material provided and then to critique such comments exposes such a hoax.

Yet, all of this typically falls on deaf ears or finds hostile and irrational knee-jerking from the faithful to a given position.

Unfaithful and Weary Writing From Here On

At this point, I’m not certain of the future of my writing online. Within the last couple days this has ebbed from outright shut down to where I currently sit.

This position comes back to ideas. Until the committed climate sceptic, anti-fluorider, anti-vax or creationist provides compelling scientific arguments, I will not report on it. The ideas I have tended to report on have been lousy and a waste of effort. Does one still need to argue that the earth is round or would such be a waste of effort? Likewise must similarly be said for all bad ideas.

I will focus on critical thinking, but I’ll find more productive avenues than relying upon examples from the various ideologs.

I will also return to discussing new science as it comes my way. The best way forth is forward and writing so much on backwards thinkers is simply not worth it.

Political posts will most likely completely disappear. I have no confidence in the Australian government and am reaching the conclusion that it has given up on the people in favour of undemocratic business interests and we are all worse off for it. Yet, the negative reaction to my writing here seems to be the greatest and is simply not worth pursuit.

I mustn’t be the first to discuss this – indeed it isn’t even my own idea – but an alternative explanation for the age of Biblical characters makes far more sense and places a hint of reality to what is quite obviously laden with myth.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I cannot for the life of me remember whom it was that suggested the following to me. It was some time ago and I didn’t think much of it then and wouldn’t have thought much of it even recently had I not taken some time to watch some of the rants of young Earth creationists on YouTube.

However, someone once suggested to me that it is likely that that genealogy described in Genesis is more likely based upon Lunar cycles than solar years and doing the mathematics proves interesting.

There are 12.37 full moons in a year. Taking the Biblical ages of the longest living characters we get the following.

Name Biblical Lifespan (“years”) Divided by Lunar cycle
Methuselah 956 77.3
Adam 930 75.2
Seth 912 73.7
Cainan 910 73.6
Enos 905 73.2
Mahalalel 895 72.4

Which all seem far more likely than the literalists would have one believe in taking the word of the bible as an absolute. I have no doubt that many of the characters actually did live and I wouldn’t be surprised if they lived for as long as the Lunar cycles suggested. What I doubt (for very good reason) the divine inclination and story of Genesis itself – that is to say, the root of the Abrahamic faiths which simply cannot be matched with observation.

Admittedly, I did have some preconceptions when I read the blurb for Rana Dajani’s recent article in Nature, How women scientists fare in the Arab world. Many secular individuals tend to expect, arguably with good reason, that gender equality is a pipe dream wherever religious fever is high – especially where the Abrahamic faiths are the dominant ideologies.

However, Rana’s article was far from what I had initially taken it for and, more importantly, makes a number of valuable points that relate to Western countries just as much as well as a continual argument I refer to on New Anthro regarding neo-liberal market economies.

Firstly, I have a slight criticism in that Rana makes the point that, for mothers as scientists, they cannot spend the additional time networking and taking part in mentoring programs outside business hours as they place family first – even if the father is with the children, this is no compensation to being there herself.

This might be the case for many women, the world over, for all I know. I think it says more about the men they marry. I know with great certainty that my own wife would disagree. I am as doting and involved as herself – with the only deficit being that I cannot feed our baby girl at this phase of life. We are committed to caring for our baby for the first few years of life (rather than childcare) and, when my wife is ready to return to work, we will juggle our shared commitments.

That said, Rana makes some valuable points regarding sexism that has permeated gender equality,

“The feminist movement was a good thing, but it was too focused on equality with men and failed to enable us to respect ourselves as women and to be proud of who we are.

“Our productivity, for instance, is measured on a male scale.”

Gender equality does not mean that both genders compete against one another in the Olympics for very good reasons. This is not to say that there are some jobs either sex is better enabled for or that a woman cannot follow a career path equal to a man (or, as it stands, have the right to do so), but only that she also has the right to adjust her career to have a family also (which, by sheer luck of nature does create a few “obstacles” to ones career, more so for her, at the very least around the pregnancy and birth, than it does for a male).

It is not sexist to point this fact out, but it is sexist to treat gender dependent biological factors as an excuse to discriminate unfairly through uneven weighting. In the modern information age, there is no reason why an individual should be unable to pursue their career and family obligations however they choose as long as they are able to meet their stated tasks. We should empower individuals, male or female, to be the best professional and parent they can be.

One should not exclude the other and yet, motherhood is a prevalent form of sexism that exists today.

Another point Rana made was brilliant;

“The years we spend taking care of children are not calculated as part of the gross domestic product of a country. What is more important — to build physical things or to nurture a human being?”

It is a point I have returned to again and again. I even quoted Andrew Mason, from the University of Southern Queensland, in The Human Island (revised version of which will be released within the week);

“The normal measure of an economy, which looks at Gross Domestic Product [GPD]… doesn’t really measure our lives, it just measure economic things. So if you go and buy some veggies from the supermarket, that contributes to GPD, so it looks good on the economy. But if you grow veggies in your own backyard, it doesn’t contribute to GPD. So things like car crashes contribute to GPD because, you know, people are employed fixing cars and looking after things and you know the people that go to hospital to be treated; all that contributes to GPD. Whereas going for a walk in the park doesn’t. So they’re trying to work out how to model economics that will more accurately reflect a happy society.”

Gross domestic product is a poor indicator of human flourishing and yet remains the grand messiah of the free world markets. The post-Global Financial Crisis stimulus packages aimed to get the economy rolling again, by urging consumers to buy material goods rather than reduce personal debt or increase personal savings. They were to help out a sick (and entirely dysfunctional) economy with the only benefit to the community expected to be, perhaps watching the next season of Big Brother in higher definition.

As Rana asks, what is more important, material goods or human well-being, or to use Andrew’s examples, the fitness and family time in going to the park or a busy hospital or mortuary with the results of a car crash?

In my personal opinion, the problems of disparity addressed by Wilkinson and Pickett in The Spirit Level or on The Equality Trust, protested against within the Occupy Movement and the continual rejection of all environmental degradation by certain groups of the community all come back to confidence that spawns from a modern day “prosperity” which has effectively removed human indicators from its internal regulation processes.

More consumers are needed. The quality of those consumers are not important. Hence the urge to work, to keep up with the Jones’s, the anxiety, the disconnection… Why we all too often wonder why we spend so much time doing what we are doing when we would rather be enjoying time with friends and family or undertaking hobbies or self-improvement opportunities.

The humanity is removed from our species primary productivity, which seems so absurd the more one thinks about it. I doubt many of us really appreciate such principles.

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