Science

Reason Writers Around Town: Ronald Bailey in a New York Times Debate on the Geologic Age of Man

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In the future, only Ron Bailey and Matt Ridley will be tall. Also, the world will be purple.

Over at The New York Times, Reason's great science correspondent Ronald Bailey is taking part in a roundtable discussion on the topic of "The Age of Anthropocene: Should We Worry?" Read Ron's opening salvo; here's an excerpt:

Is humanity's ascent to global potency is a bad thing? No, especially if the alternative is returning to relative impotence.

Even in as sophisticated a society as ancient Rome, average life expectancy was about 20 years. Since the Industrial Revolution, average global life expectancy has risen to nearly 70 year. Why? Because humans have become better at mobilizing resources to produce better health and more wealth.

Read Bailey's whole effort here, and keep coming back to the root link for more discussion.

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17 responses to “Reason Writers Around Town: Ronald Bailey in a New York Times Debate on the Geologic Age of Man

  1. If only Ronald had a science degree. Is he working on one?

  2. My plan for dissipating hurricanes is to detonate a nuclear warhead at the eye. I’m full of those kinds of ideas. Weather machines, artificial islands, wholesale desalination of the seas! I mean to dominate the hell out of this planet.

    Gaia’s about to see the back of Man’s hand.

  3. Gaia’s about to see the back of Man’s hand.

    What do you say to a planet with two black eyes?

    1. Stop resisting?

  4. Ronald — run your stuff through a spellcheck program before submitting:

    “Is humanity’s ascent to global potency is a bad thing?”

    “Since the Industrial Revolution, average global life expectancy has risen to nearly 70 years.”

    1. To his credit the spelling is fine, it’s the grammar that sucks.

      1. Max|5.20.11 @ 10:49AM|#

        If only Ronald had a science English degree. Is he working on one?

        FTFY

      2. Max|5.20.11 @ 10:49AM|#

        If only Ronald had a science English degree. Is he working on one?

        FTFY

      3. Max|5.20.11 @ 10:49AM|#

        If only Ronald had a science English degree. Is he working on one?

        FTFY

      4. Max|5.20.11 @ 10:49AM|#

        If only Ronald had a science English degree. Is he working on one?

        FTFY

      5. Max|5.20.11 @ 10:49AM|#

        If only Ronald had a science English degree. Is he working on one?

        FTFY

  5. very good RB. good point about education & fertility.

  6. I’m no scientist, but isn’t average sort of a crap measure for lifespan? Rome’s 20 year average was due to the result of high infant mortality. If you made it out of childhood, you could expect to live to, what, 50 or 60?

    1. If you were a patrician maybe you might reach 50 or 60. The slaves & commoners rarely made it through there 20’s.

      1. No, IToW is right. At birth, a Roman’s life expectancy was 25. At age 1, it was 34. At age 5, it was 48.

      2. http://www.utexas.edu/depts/cl…../Life.html

        If you were a patrician maybe you might reach 50 or 60. The slaves & commoners rarely made it through there 20’s.

        That seems both conjecture, and unlikely. If you made it past 10 years old, you were probably very likely to live well past your 20’s unless you were working as a galley or mining slave.

  7. Ronald Bailey is an equally well-respected science journalist. That he is also a libertarian.

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