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The Last Generation : The End of Survival?

By Martin, Angus, Anderson, Dr.

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Book Id: WPLBN0002827833
Format Type: PDF eBook:
File Size: 5.17 MB
Reproduction Date: 1975

Title: The Last Generation : The End of Survival?  
Author: Martin, Angus, Anderson, Dr.
Language: English
Subject: Non Fiction, Science, Degradation of Earth
Collections: Science, Science Fiction Collection, Authors Community, Environmental Economics, Technology, Biology, Sociology, Literature
Publication Date:
Publisher: Fontana/Collins
Member Page: Angus Martin


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Anderson Martin, Dr, B. A. (n.d.). The Last Generation : The End of Survival?. Retrieved from

This book was published as a low-cost paperback in 1975; it had a short shelf-life and quickly went out (and stayed out) of print. However I have continued to receive inquiries about it; that, as well as the fact that the workings of evolution are still widely misunderstood, are the factors which led me to produce this Gutenberg edition. In these times when every second popular science book is about the "environmental crisis", why resurrect such an ancient document? Simply because its fundamental argument is a timeless one, an insufficiently appreciated one, and one which is probably as briefly and as clearly expressed here as anywhere. One reviewer at the time thought that the book carried "a chilling message, especially for the parents of young children"; another found it " a shrill book that leaves one resoundingly chirpy about surviving." Now it is available for you to read and make up your own mind.

This book argues that humankind is doomed to destroy itself and at the same time to refuse to believe that it is doing so. The human species (like all species) is a product of evolution, and the evolutionary process has nothing to do with the survival of species; survival of DNA is all that is concerned with. Characteristics such as competitiveness, deceitfulness, self-delusion, optimism in the face of impossible odds, reproductive profligacy, blind faith in technology, and domination of the environment may produce evolutionary advantages, but they are the very things that are destroying our way of life. Evolution has no capacity either to be predictive, or to pay short-term costs in order to achieve long-term benefits.

If you live on a small island and keep goats, how should you make your decision about the number of goats to keep? If goats die only of old age or when you slaughter one to eat you'll need to be pretty careful, or you'll end up with a plague of goats which will strip the island bare. So don't let the goats breed too freely. But what if the island is also inhabited by a pack of wolves which eat goats as fast as you can breed them? In this case you must obviously do your damnedest to produce as many goats as you possibly can, just to be sure of having one or two for yourself. We live on an island, Earth, that once was full of wolves. But we have shot nearly all the wolves now, and nobody has explained to us that their name was Negative Feedback, and their consequence, Stability.


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