Two billion more people will be added to the planet in the next 38 years. Food prices will edge up sharply as larders empty. The next wars will be fought over clean drinking water -- even as we now foul clean supplies and threaten aquifers with fracking and pipelines.
We're suffocating ourselves with CO2 from our ravenous use of energy too dirty to burn anymore. As tundras warm and thaw, methane is released, too -- many factors more dangerous than killing CO2.
Yes, and sea ice will calve, collapse, and melt. Oceans will rise. The lost reflectivity of snow and ice spirals up our heat, too. Rising CO2 poisons the seas, whose creatures provide half the air we breathe. Droughts march and wildly imperil anything green -- food stocks, plants and forests trying to trade us poison for fresh air.
Species collapses and mass extinctions. Genetic mutations and Frankenfoods. Widespread oil and chemical pollution...
Scientist say our survival, and all life, hangs in a delicate balance: Everything depends on reversing the long, complex chains of negative effects imprisoning us from human-spawned changes in global climate. Other researchers say it's already too late, that recovery is no longer possible -- that we lemmings have already slipped, leapt, and jumped off that cliff, and long ago, too.
It would appear we humans are so remarkably unwise, demented, and dense as to scrap with ourselves in mid-air, squabbling and swinging at and with each other, all the way down in our plunging drop -- a last spasm of lemming free-for-all while in free fall.
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Fictitious, Disney-induced, leaping-lemming suicides aside for a moment, it's hardly reassuring to realize that, while human civilization skates on a razor's edge, humans can be counted on to lose all concept of triage or priority, and instead squander any spare or helpful energies on religious claptrap and allied manias.
Dogmatic, not pragmatic: It's what we humans incessantly do best -- dwelling on fairy-tale dragons while we're instantly incinerated in a white-phosphorous and napalm haze.
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The latest blaze of news? A new scrap of ancient papyrus is said to show a reference to Jesus and his wife. This piece of parchment has caused humans the world over to drop all they are doing and race back into an energetic, fevered argument that's been burning for more than 1,800 years.
Was Jesus married or not? All that's missing from the parchment snippet is Enquiring minds want to know.
There are many things we will never know -- who killed Kennedy, the truth of 9-11, why there are Republicans -- but my suspicion is that this particular topic was THE hot tabloid item, teevee show, blockbuster movie, music and dance craze, bestselling author's new book release, and viral video of its day, all rolled into one.
And so: We chew up time, air, and energy, and for 18 centuries and more, only to spew superheated opinions about deity and deities, back and forth at one another, and we are not done yet.
The bone has been chewed, all the marrow sucked out. Please, might we move on -- you know, evolve? Get cracking on our problems? Grow beyond our primal stories and creation myths? No, not quite yet, we answer. Be with you in a minute, just hang on. And so, here we all hang.
* * *
Flip the channel, and you can watch Pat Robertson beaming his Christian love around the globe, advising a frustrated Christian man, complaining of getting no respect from his wife, "Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her."
Legally, that is. In order to -- follow Pat's dazzling logic, now -- earn the proper amount of respect a husband should get from his wife, after beating her.
Snap your fingers, you're back in the desert, 200 BCE/BC, not 2012 CE/AD -- time travel, it seems. You know, you could probably get 12 camels and 20 sheep for that fine daughter of yours...
But, then, it helps to know Robertson spends a lot of time with both feet stuffed into his mouth, still spouting his nonsensical babble on his teevee show -- almost as much time, in fact, as do Romney and Ryan spend orally examining their own feet, even though they have no regular teevee outlet of their own, except via the unquestioning, docile, housebroken-but-back-broken, all fully comatose, mainstream press.
(Sidebar: Pat, good thing those extra 34 viewers showed up after all, or you'd be hosting "The 666 Club" show. Not that it doesn't already seem that way now, I mean, seeing as how you, your ideas and speech, and the Prince of Peace -- married or not -- seem to have as much in common as, say, the planet Jupiter, and a ham sandwich.)
And, if religious fans just can't get enough blood-curdling, head-bashing insanity, there is the continuing unwinding of horrors begun last week in Muslim countries, over a terrible film -- a mere Grade Z outrage to modern viewers, but one of great obscenity, offense, and outrage to Muslims.
Last Wednesday, I wrote here that rioting and death follow Terry Jones, backer of the film, a Koran-burning grandstander, and so-called pastor. That statement grows more true daily, as do his messages of hate -- every bit as venomous as that other gaggle of hateful idiots at Westboro Baptist Church.
(Sidebar: Why do preachers named Jones seem to be jonesing for mega-horror shows? Is it too much religious Kool-Aid going around and being sloshed down blindly by followers -- even though that lethal juice is cut with bleach, stoked with paranoid hallucinogens, laced with meth, and pumped up by delusions of grandeur? It can't be spontaneous, en masse brain aneurisms, mental black holes, or group hypnosis -- or can it? Or do those descriptions all more-or-less double as synonyms for religion?)
Now, stepping forward is Egypt's general prosecutor, who has issued arrest warrants for Terry Jones, and others linked to the film that has sparked riots throughout the Muslim world.
Even though there is not a chance in anyone's hell that those warrants will be served, filled, and returned with one Terry Jones in tow, a round of applause is due nonetheless. Hate is still hate, no matter the flavor. Hatred deserves only to be halted, and nothing more.
Regardless of your pressures and motivation, then, Mr. Prosecutor, kudos for stepping out and placing a small, sideways portion of logic into the emotional fray, no matter how akimbo the fit. Thanks for trying to symbolically collar that joker, Jones, and put an end to his hate.
Maybe your example will spread, and prosecutors in the United States will finally see fit to rein in and rid ourselves of our own hateful terrorists -- those right wingnut, hate-spewing, fear-stampeding, country-rending, hypocritical monsters, broadcasting bile on the public airwaves -- the ones formerly owned by the People.
Everyone knows you can't shout FIRE! in a crowded theater, yet, that's all these terrorist hate-broadcasters and alleged humans do, day in and day out.
Meanwhile: In the rousing, inspirational words of Christian pontificator, philosopher, and orator, Pat Robertson -- doubling in his role as sincere Bible-thumper, righteous desk-pounder, and folksy knee-slapper -- who said: "I have a zero tolerance for sanctimonious morons who try to scare people."
This once, Pat, I agree with you -- starting with you, and all like you. No matter what country they're in.
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Next Week's Exciting Episode:
Is that the sound of the apocalypse, or just you, playing follow-the-leader with those lemmings again?
Robertson quotes -- just two sites of many: