The curse of energy efficiency, better known as the Jevons Paradox—the idea that increased energy (and material-resource) efficiency leads not to conservation but increased use—was first raised by William Stanley Jevons in the nineteenth century. Although forgotten for most of the twentieth century, the Jevons Paradox has been rediscovered in recent decades and stands squarely […]
Tag Archives | Richard D. York
Humanity in the twenty-first century is facing what might be described as its ultimate environmental catastrophe: the destruction of the climate that has nurtured human civilization and with it the basis of life on earth as we know it. All ecosystems on the planet are now in decline. Enormous rifts have been driven through the […]
James Hansen, a leading US climatologist and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, warns that global climate change today constitutes a ‘planetary emergency’. Existing trends threaten to set in mo- tion irreversible climate transformations, proceeding ‘mostly under their own momentum’, thereby fundamentally transforming the conditions of life on earth (Hansen, 2008b: 7–8).
Charles Darwin’s discovery of the theory of evolution by natural selection is unquestionably one of the most profound scientific achievements in history. Darwin was heavily influenced by the great geologist Charles Lyell, who developed uniformitarianism, the methodological and substantive doctrine that sought to explain all geological formations as the result of the accumulation of small […]
In a recent essay, “Economics Needs a Scientific Revolution,” in one of the leading scientific journals, Nature, physicist Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, a researcher for an investment management company, asked rhetorically, “What is the flagship achievement of economics?” Bouchaud’s answer: “Only its recurrent inability to predict and avert crises.” Although his discussion is focused on the current […]
Since the atomic bomb made its first appearance on the world stage in 1945, it has been clear that we possess the power to destroy our own planet. What nuclear weapons made possible, global environmental crisis, marked especially by global warming, has now made inevitable—if business as usual continues.
Critique of Intelligent Design is a direct reply to the criticisms of intelligent design proponents and a compelling account of the long debate between materialism and religion in the West. It provides an overview of the contemporary fight concerning nature, science, history, morality, and knowledge. Separate chapters are devoted to the design debate in antiquity, […]
It is impossible to exaggerate the environmental problem facing humanity in the twenty-first century. Nearly fifteen years ago one of us observed: “We have only four decades left in which to gain control over our major environmental problems if we are to avoid irreversible ecological decline.” Today, with a quarter-century still remaining in this projected […]
A new version of the age-old controversy between religion and science has been launched by today’s intelligent design movement. Although ostensibly concerned simply with combating Darwinism, this new creationism seeks to drive a “wedge” into the materialist view of the world, originating with the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus and manifested in modern times by Darwin, […]
According to Frederick Buell (2003) in his book ‘From Apocalypse to Way of Life’, perceptions of environmental crisis in the 1960s and 1970s were both narrower in scope and more apocalyptic (usually Malthusian) in tone than those of today. Rather than diminishing, the problem of the environment has only expanded in the years since Rachel […]