MEGA: Make Earth Great Again

I’m sure that you’ll all agree that despite technology and science being far more advanced than we could have anticipated at the turn of the century, the world is in a bit of a shoddy state, and it needs reform. We currently have some of the most egotistical, and socially destructive leaders in Earth’s history. There are many environmental concerns that have arisen from climate change, and many people remain ignorant and refuse to accept the impending crisis that life on Earth will have to attempt to survive through. The fossil fuel crisis is more serious than people give recognition to, and sustainable energy is essential for humanities’ future.

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY

This is a form of energy that’s readily available in mass supply, like solar, wind or hydropower. The Sun will continually heat the Earth for billions of years, and due to differentiating air pressure caused by uneven heating of the Sun, wind will always exist, as will water to generate hydropower. This kind of sustainable energy has little to no impact on the environment, so it needs to be encouraged. The issue with sustainable energy ie: electric cars; is the price tag. It’s not cheap at all, and my wife’s employer has just spent over £60,000 on a Tesla.

Currently, as it stands, over a billion people are without access to electricity, and several billion more have no options but to rely on fossil fuels. This needs to be rectified, understood, and promoted by every government in the world as if sustainable energy isn’t mainstream within the next 50 years then we as a species are going to be in an irreparable stare of crisis.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Sustainable energy is essential if we wish to battle climate change, and at least slow it down, as not only does fossil fuel cause air pollution, it increases greenhouse gases, and is responsible for millions of death every year. Vehicle emissions are also a danger to the environment, and is a significant contributor to human influence over climate change.

Many people suggest that climate change is a hoax, and it’s a political agenda, but this simply isn’t the case. The Earth’s temperate has risen over the last hundred years, and whilst the Earth goes through natural cycles, and science claims that the history of the Earth has predominantly been in a greenhouse state, fossil fuels and emissions have impacted greatly. This is evident in the land heating up resulting in wild fires around the world, notably California, Australia and the Amazon basin in recent years.

Another significant event that will affect us greatly is glacial retreats, where glaciers will melt quicker than snowfall can accumulate to reform ice. This will result in ocean levels rising, as geologist claim that close to 400,000,000,000 tons of ice melt annually. It’s not just the Arctic and Antarctic regions that are being infected, but Alaska, and Chilean glaciers are being dramatically affected, and all glaciers in the U.S could completely vanish by the end of the century. So it’s incredibly essential that humanity attempts to reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions, or we are going to see environmental devastation, as water damage will impact everything from civilisation, wildlife and agriculture.

POPULATION EXPLOSION

The population of the Earth is rising faster than we could ever have predicted, and in the last hundred years the population has increased by almost 400% rising from 1.8,000,000,000 to 7.8,000,000,000. Not only has the population increased, but life expectancy had dramatically risen as people have better health care, and live generally healthier lives and on average people are living closer to 80 years old than ever before. Whilst this is great for the individual, we are going to get to the stage where there are an extremely large number of elderly that social services are going to struggle to protect, and this will involve care and housing.

As it currently stands in the U.K, the elderly are often denied dignity, and they are just shipped off to nursing homes, where they are medicated into a trance like state, this is no exaggeration either, as I’ve witnessed it first hand. At least if an elderly person has company in a nursing home, as often they live alone, struggling to cope, and the only visitors they receive are social workers who often lack empathy, and don’t care about the person they’re paid to assist. I’ve also witnessed this first hand, and often the pensioner lives the remainder of their lives lonely, as their families claim to be too busy to pay them a visit, or the family doesn’t live close by, and to travel is an inconvenience.

Not only are people living longer, but there is a serious crisis regarding housing, and employment. There simply aren’t enough jobs, and affordable housing for the majority to live comfortably, and this has increased poverty in even the most productive, and wealthy of countries. With the population surge, it’s putting pressure onto education, and medical services, and this is especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. The financial difference between the rich and the poor needs to be seriously addressed as the top tier of wealthy people simply aren’t putting their wealth back into society, and the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer, and this is a grave ethical concern.

TERRORISM AND ORGANISED CRIME

As everyone is aware, since the internet advanced so much in recent years, terrorists, and organised crime gangs are able to operate world wide, and companies data bases are regularly hacked and held as ransom until a fee is paid. Terrorism is a world wide concern, with ISIS, ISIL, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and many, many more. A comprehensive list can be found here, and organised crime groups ranging from mobsters, cartels, Maria families, and many, many more, can be found here. Often these groups are fuelled by media, propaganda, civil unrest, and the rise of extremism has risen dramatically since the turn of the century. People trafficking, be it sex trafficking, or refugees, organised crime groups are getting wealthy from the expense of the vulnerable, and people are that desperate to seek amnesty that they’ll take the risk, and face the dangers of illegal transportation out of their countries.

‪The problems that terrorism brings, other than innocent casualties who just happened to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time, is when governments go on the offensive, and start military campaigns against countries that are accused of being terrorist breeding grounds. The Afghan and Iraqi infrastructure was ripped apart when the west decided to begin their war on terror, and loss of military, and civilian lives was great. They destroyed their economies, and decimated large parts of cities, and civilian properties, and at the end, what was gained? Has terrorism ended?

RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC TENSION

As far back as you can go through the history of civilisations there’s been religious tensions between ethnicities, and often tension arises when one religious belief potentially threatens another, or religious laws go against another ethnicity’s beliefs. Genocide of ethnic minorities since the turn of the last century, and none more so in countries of the former Soviet Union and conflicts throughout Africa, like the Rwandan genocide of 1994 when the Tutsi were brutally massacred by the Hutu vigilantes. The Bosnian ethnic cleansing a year later saw Serb forces butchering Bosnian Muslim men and boys, which was part of the collapse of Yugoslavia, and in Sudan, mass genocide has been tearing the country apart since 2011.

‪There are areas of the world that have adopted a theocracy, who are unprepared to tolerate secularist views, or even sects of the same religion, and Muslims have been killing Muslims in Arab states like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. ISIS systematically targeted Yazidis, Shiites, and Christians, and destroyed villages and townships. Sudan was recognised as having the first genocide of the 21st century, with Arab militias executing anyone who was a non-Arab. How can we possibly progress as a united species, if there are constant conflicts resulting in many casualties due to religious difference, or ethnicity?‬

RACIAL INEQUALITY

Racism and gender inequality has always been an issue, especially in predominantly religious countries where their religious intolerance is often guided by holy scripture. With the world observing extreme police brutality with the death of George Floyd, public, and celebrity demonstrations and condemnation have been numerous, the racial inequality has been highlighted in America, and people have grown tired of the inequality and prejudice that non-whites are facing. It needs to end, and end fast.

LBGTQ INEQUALITY

In the U.K one in every five LBGTQ individual has been subjected to some form of hate crime, and this happens on a daily basis because individuals aren’t being allowed the freedom that should be given, by default to any person as all people deserve human rights, and dignity. This is just people that have reported the crime, and so many don’t as they are fearful of repercussions from the perpetrators of the crimes. According to a survey carried out by YouGov, it’s not just physical or verbal, it’s prejudice at every level of their lives.

Employers, places of worship, social situations and sporting events have all presented serious cases against homosexual and transgender people, and if the person is of mixed race, or minority ethnicity 24% of people reported various cases of hate crime ranging from insults to violence. This is simply unacceptable considering it’s 2020, and we are supposed to be living in a society that’s more accepting, allegedly. As a straight male, I honestly can’t imagine how it must feel to be in society with a loved one and fear for my safety, just because of my sexuality. There’s just no excuse for such vile and repulsive prejudice.

A retrospective: Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant‘ was born in Königsberg, Prussia, a region of Germany, in 1724. He grew up to become one of the most influential philosophers surrounding epistemology during the Age of Enlightenment. As philosophers go, Kant was the real deal, and followed in the footsteps of ‘Sir Francis Bacon‘, who 200 years previous had focused on rationalism, the pursuit of reason, and empiricism which involves knowledge that’s gained through experiences of the senses. He was born and raised as a Lutheran, and started at the local Pietist, Latin school aged 8 where he remained a student until he was 16, and he then enrolled at the University of Königsberg, where he studied theology. It was here that he discovered his love of physics, and he began reading the works of the most notorious scientists and philosophers of the past.

“It is beyond a doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience.” – Immanuel Kant

One of Kant’s areas which he began to study was metaphysics, which is theoretical philosophy that focuses on cause and effect; the cause of the universe and the nature of being. In other words it studies how and why, and a perfect example is the question; Divine Creation, or the Big Bang? The second of Kant’s areas was the study of ethics which began with his Pietist faith. He believed that morality comes about by using extensive reasoning, and this led him towards political ethics where he claimed democracy and liberty would lead to world peace. Despite being raised as a Pietist, and adhering to the ethics of his faith, he became sceptical towards arguments defending theism, and some historians claim he was an agnostic, and others say he developed atheistic views. I think it’s fair to say that his spirituality was an ever developing idea, and when applying reason, he struggled with the concept of god.

“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.” – Immanuel Kant

As a scientist and philosopher he turned the world upside down with his theories and ideas regarding cosmology, ethics, politics, geology and physics. He was a thought machine, and many of his theories despite being disregarded in certain circles during his life, have stood the test of time and his influence on modern science has been monumental.

He proposed the nebular hypothesis which is the theory that the solar system was formed 4.5 billion years ago by a nebula cloud containing dust and gas. As it became denser, gravity formed objects of mass which include the planets and the sun, and they began to rotate. Kant claimed that the evidence for this was the fact that all the natural satellites in the solar system (planets and moons) all orbit around the Sun in the same direction, and because over 99% of the mass in the solar system is the Sun, it attracts all the other objects of mass. The gravity of the Sun condensed until it reached a critical point and the hydrogen atoms fused to create helium, and nuclear fusion began with the Sun coming to life. He proposed that galaxies formed in a similar way, and each galaxy had an infinite amount of solar systems that formed by gravity interaction.

As a moral philosopher he never encouraged any theism in his approach, and he deals with something he described as ‘fact of reason’. What this implied was every human has been endowed with a conscience, and with this comes empathy and reason, and without freedom we have no moral worth, but he also dismissed the idea of free will and believed in the theory of causality proposed by ‘Isaac Newton‘. In other words, morality is derived from consequence, and we must always endeavour to respect humanity in ourselves, and once that’s achieved we will understand our intrinsic moral duty. He separated the idea of morality into two distinctions.

Theoretical reason is studying the natural world through understanding why

Practical reason studies the questions of how the world ought to be and tells us our duty

As well as personal ethics, he had a deep interest in political ethics which involved an honest government and civil rights. In a way he was an idealist and believed that human were inevitably going to reach a state of perpetual happiness, but there must be reform. This he believed would come from a Rechtsstaat, which essentially means ‘rule of law, or state of justice‘, which is a form of constitutionalism. As well as wishing for universal peace, he claimed that wars lead to economic turmoil, and the more expensive wars become, the more reluctant that nations will wish to get involved, which will eventually lead to conditions of peace, which encourages morality.

Have the courage to use your own reason- That is the motto of enlightenment.” -Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals

Regarding Kant’s cause and effect ideas; every action has a reaction, he also studied autonomy and its influences, like universality and particularity, objectivity and subjectivity, conformity and individuality, and what impact they have on decision making, and especially in regards to morality. He defined autonomy into three categories that are:

The right to make decisions without outside influence

The right to make decision independently using personal reflection and reason

The right to be accepted by others that morality is universal and what is required by you, is required by all

“Autonomy, in Western ethics and political philosophy, the state or condition of self-governance, or leading one’s life according to reasons, values, or desires that are authentically one’s own.” – Source

Kant’s ethical ideology is known as Kantian ethics, or deontological ethics, means ethical duty. This involves something that Kant coined as ‘Good Will‘, which suggests that doing something that you consider good, doesn’t automatically make it good, it’s the attitude behind the action which is important. Take theism as a perfect example of why it cannot be categorised as good will. Once there’s a reward for doing a good deed, then the act of morality is cancelled, and according to Kantian ethics, you do a good deed because it’s your duty, not for merit. So good will and duty is what defines morality, not pleasing the will of a god, and once opposing inclinations outweighs rational incentive, the moral framework breaks down.

Georges Lemaître and the hypothesis of the primeval atom

Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître‘ was a Belgian priest born in the 19th century, and is evidence that despite being devoutly religious, you can believe in god and separate that belief from science and reality. As well as being a priest, he was a professor of physics at the Catholic University of Leuven, and a keen cosmologist. During World War I he served as an artillery officer in the Belgian army, and when the war ended he studied to become a priest and was ordained in 1923. Between 1925 and 1927 he studied solar physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in America and obtained his Ph.D, and where he studied the works of ‘Edwin Hubble‘, and his ‪theories surrounding an expanding universe, which he’d observed through an extremely powerful telescope at Mt. Wilson in California‬

Georges Lemaître 07/17/1894 – 06/20/1966

Upon his return to Belgium he proposed that due to the neighbouring galaxies moving away from us in different directions, then an obvious conclusion would be a massive cosmic force and he proposed the Big Bang theory using ‘Albert Einstein’s’ theory of general relativity that he published 11 years prior. Georges never actually referred to the cosmic event as the Big Bang as he named it ‘hypothesis of the primeval atom’. Albert Einstein disregarded George’s theory as nonsense, but in later life he considered it as one of the most important theories in science. of the primeval atom’. His theory was in simple terms that to explain why the universe was expanding, it must have had a point of origin where everything within the universe was packed within an object of infinite density. This object of infinite density is what he described as the primeval atom.

“The radius of space began at zero; the first stages of the expansion consisted of a rapid expansion determined by the mass of the initial atom, almost equal to the present mass of the universe. If this mass is sufficient, and the estimates which we can make indicate that this is indeed so, the initial expansion was able to permit the radius to exceed the value of the equilibrium radius. The expansion thus took place in three phases: a first period of rapid expansion in which the atom-universe was broken into atomic stars, a period of slowing-down, followed by a third period of accelerated expansion. It is doubtless in this third period that we find ourselves today, and the acceleration of space which followed the period of slow expansion could well be responsible for the separation of stars into extra-galactic nebulae.” – Georges Lemaître

‪Whilst Georges Lemaître was a devout believer, he was a scientist as heart, and he said that through religion and science he had two avenues to search for the truth, but they must always be kept separate. You can’t help but admire a religious person who rejects the idea of creationism and accepts that science is the answer to the birth of the universe. I read that he once said that if the theory of relativity was a creation of god, it would have been declared in the Bible. When he first published his theory, it received little attention, and it wasn’t until the prominent English astronomer ‘Arthur Eddington‘ had it translated and published in the ‘Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society‘ in 1931. It wasn’t until 18 years later that astronomer ‘Fred Hoyle’ mockingly called it the ‘Big Bang’ and that name stuck.‬

In 1929, ‘Edwin Hubble‘ proposed the Hubble constant, which is a theory that the further away galaxies are from Earth, the faster they are moving away, and this was originally known as Hubble’s law, but in 2018, scientists voted to rename it to ‘Hubble–Lemaître law‘, due to Georges Lemaître proposing it, and Hubble refining it.