Where democracy in its classical form meant quite literally rule by the demos, by the plebes, by the people themselves, it now often seems to mean little more than elite rule sanctioned (through the device of representation) by the people. Competing elites vie for the support of a public, whose popular sovereignty is reduced to the pathetic right to participate in choosing the tyrant who will rule it. Whenever we ignore the way human social relationships transcend plant-animal relationships, our views tend to bifurcate in two erroneous directions.
Radioactive decay dating
As a unique product of natural evolution, humanity brings its powers of reasoning, its creative fingers, its high degree of conscious consociation-all qualitative developments of natural history-to nature, at times as sources of help and at other times as sources of harm. Perhaps the greatest single role an ecological ethics can play is a discriminating one-to help us distinguish which of our actions serve the thrust of natural evolution and which of them impede it. That human interests of one kind or another may be involved in these actions is not always relevant to the ethical judgments we are likely to make. Preliterate societies never adhered to this contractual ideal of association; indeed, they resisted every attempt to impose it.
If a certain kind of pollen is found in an archaeological site, scientists can check when the plant that produced that pollen lived to determine the relative age of the site. When the mineral or glass is heated, the tracks are erased in much the same way cut marks fade away from hard candy that is heated. This process sets the fission track clock to zero, and the number of tracks that then form are a measure of the amount of time that has passed since the heating event. Scientists are able to count the tracks in the sample with the aid of a powerful microscope .
These findings point to the age of
the earth being much younger than evolutionary scientists
would suggest. Biblical geologists
start with the assumptions
laid out in the Bible and
conclude that the rocks
must be less than 6,000
years old. Evolutionists
reject the authority of the
Bible and conclude that the
rocks must be millions or
billions of years old. Fossils themselves, and the sedimentary rocks they are found in, are very difficult to date directly. Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces. This decay process leads to a more balanced nucleus and when the number of protons and neutrons balance, the atom becomes stable.
How does absolute dating differ from relative dating?
In any case, enough has been written about the differences between nature and society. Today, together with Bloch, it would be valuable to shift our emphasis to the commonalities of nature and society, provided we are wary enough to avoid those mindless leaps from the one to the other as though they were not related by the rich phases of development that authentically unite them. I have turned to this remarkable passage because Hegel does not mean it to be merely metaphoric. His biological example and his social subject matter converge in ways that transcend both, notably, as similar aspects of a larger process. Life itself, as distinguished from the nonliving, emerges from the inorganic latent with all the particularities it has immanently produced from the logic of its most nascent forms of self-organization.
The subversion of organic society drastically undermined this principle of authentic freedom. Compensation was restructured into rewards, just as gifts were replaced by commodities. Cuneiform writing, the basis of our alphabetic script, had its origins in the meticulous records Meetic the temple clerks kept of products received and products dispersed, in short, the precise accounting of goods, possibly even when the land was « communally owned » and worked in Mesopotamia. Only afterwards were these ticks on clay tablets to become narrative forms of script.
An environmentalistic technocracy is hierarchy draped in green garments; hence it is all the more insidious because it is camouflaged in the color of ecology. Whether their ends, ethics, sensibilities, and institutions are libertarian or merely logistical, emancipatory or merely pragmatic, communitarian or merely efficient-in sum, ecological or merely environmental-will directly determine the rationality that underpins the techniques and the intentions guiding their design. Alternative technologies may bring the sun, wind, and the world of vegetation and animals into our lives as participants in a common ecological project of reunion and symbiosis. But the « smallness » or « appropriateness » of these technologies does not necessarily remove the possibility that we will keep trying to reduce nature to an object of exploitation. We must resolve the ambiguities of freedom existentially-by social principles, institutions, and an ethical commonality that renders freedom and harmony a reality. Town and country were much too close to each other to render socially and intellectually acceptable the geometric temples, the urban gigantism, the inorganic social relations, and the deadening images of a mechanical world.
After the passage of one half-life, 50% of the parent atoms have become daughter products. After two half-lives, 75% of the original parent atoms have been transformed into daughter products (thus, only 25% of the original parent atoms remain). Scholars and naturalists, understandably, have long been interested in knowing the absolute age of the Earth, as well as other important geological events.
« Fourier rejected the simple as false and evil, and insisted on complexity, variety, contrast, multiplicity. » His emphasis on complexity applied not only to the structure of society but also to his assessment of the psyche’S own needs. « Fourier’s psychology was founded on the premise that in plurality and complexity there was salvation and happiness, » Manuel adds; « in multiplicity there was freedom. » This is not psychic or social « pluralism » but an intuitive ecological sense of wholeness. What Fourier patently sought was stability through variety and, by virtue of that stability, the freedom to choose and to will-in short, freedom through multiplicity. The treaties that existed between preliterate communities were more procedural than distributive in their intent; they were meant to establish agreement in decision-making processes and ways of coordinating common actions, not to apportion power and things.
The sole passport of the Middle Ages was evidence of baptism and a testament of common faith. Accordingly, adepts of the Free Spirit gave up all penitential and ascetic behavior for a life of pure pleasure, not merely one of happiness. We have no vocabulary within the framework of ordinary life to describe this remarkable epistemology. It sought more than the physically orgiastic but rather the conversion of reality into a surreality of experience and a divination of the nature of things. The halo later discerned by Andre Breton’s Nada in the world around her, even in the most commonplace objects, was here made into a metaphysical principle. Vigils, fasting, and all sensuous denial were brought to an end; the body was to be indulged with the choicest wines and meats and clothed in the most sensuous garments.