Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge - To What End? Summary & Analysis

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To What End? Summary and Analysis

The concept of consilience is beneficial in all areas of learning. Consilience implies that tangible phenomena evolve from material processes that can be reduced to the laws of physics. It shows that culture can only be explained when linked with natural sciences. In the twenty-first century when the information will be readily available there will be a need for the synthesis of information to make wise decisions.

Liberal arts should address issues of human existence to link science and humanities on all levels. Human progress stimulated technological advancement necessary for survival but damaging to the environment. Now the biological nature of humans can be altered at will. Genetic changes show tendencies towards rounder heads, skin protective proteins in some desert populations, erasing racial features through mixing, although individual variants increase. Humanity can choose a new direction of evolution or continue along with its own heritage. With the knowledge of heredity it can alter anatomy, intelligence, emotions, and creative drive.

Volitional evolution can alter defects through gene therapy. Genes can be eradicated and improved, creating specialized communities or greater longevity, although such changes can make people less human. The project called Biosphere 2, where a miniature Earth was built in Oracle, Arizona, showed that we are unable to sustain artificially created environments when species became eradicated after oxygen levels drop and carbon dioxide rises. As human population is growing such environments are needed. Human population can reach 7.7 billion in 2050 with 2.1 per each parent or 12.5 billion with 2.2 children per parents and the human biomass will be the same as the weight of the world.

Experts think that the Earth can sustain only up to 16 billion people for an indefinite period of time. The ecological footprint of productive land that can support people has to be lowered to assure the sufficient standard of living in all population. Currently more than 1 billion of people live in absolute poverty, and 13 to 18 billion people a year die of starvation. Due to the declining supply of grain carryover stocks, the wider area of land is needed. Only the Indian Ocean has rises in yields while other oceans are used beyond its capacities. The accelerating climate change leads to higher temperatures that are to rise by 3.5 degrees by 2100 causing thermal expansion of marine waters. The Antarctic and Greenland ice shelves will break, raising sea levels by 30 centimeters. There will be more heat-waves and cyclones. Tundra ecosystems will shrink, and many species will be extinguished. Shortage of food along with environmental changes will cause an environmental bottleneck. Civilizations will cease to exist unless every possible technological fix is implemented, resources expanded through sustainable development, and quality of life improved. Nuclear fusion or solar energy can reduce energy consumed.

Conservation experts consider the current situation to be a crisis. Such events may lead to the end of Mesozoic Era that requires 10 million years to reach previous diversity levels. The higher level of species increases the ecosystem productivity and the ability to withstand environmental stress while more than 40 per cent of medicines use plant, animal, or fungi extracts. The current knowledge is insufficient to preserve ecosystems artificially and return them to the environment that needs to be somehow saved to assure the survival of life. Existentialism assuring autonomy needs to be replaced by the ability to have accurate foresight through unified learning that is universally shared. Human existence depends on ethics as evolution shows that contract formation assures survival along with genes that prescribe it. Banishing the rest of life as well human heritage by making selfish decisions may lead to our own extinction.

This section contains 604 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge from BookRags. (c)2016 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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