Tags

Go to the Index of 120 Philosophers Squared

Charles Galton Darwin  (18 December 1887 – 31 December 1962), was the grandson of Charles Darwin. He was the director of the National Physical Laboratory which was the WWII British atomic bomb project before the Americans began the Manhattan Project. He wrote The Next Million Years, a perspective on basic human problems of survival. It is the consumption of food that in the end determines the population of the world.

Charles Galton Darwin was an analyst of humanity’s long-term survival strategies.

We cannot see the detail, we can foresee the general course its history is almost certain to take over a long period … It is to describe roughly the kind of things that will be going on most of the time in most places.

The general principle stands, that in statistical theories quite complicated results can be deduced from simple principles.

We know that the earth had roughly the same climate for hundreds of millions of years, so that it is nearly certain that the climate will stay the same for one more million years.

A tendency for historians, apart from their primary function of recording the past, to be interested not so much in resemblances as in differences. … determining whether laws can be laid down from which the march of humanity can be foreseen.

It may be well to warn the reader that the consequences I am forced to deduce will be found exceedingly depressing by all the political and social standards that are now current.

Would it not perhaps be better to forget the fact and simply go on hoping? I don think so; if we are living in a fool’s paradise, it is surely better to know the fact.

Certainly we can do something to control the world around us, and if we can appreciate the limits of what is possible, we may have some hope of achieving our aims.

It is a practically important thing to see clearly any laws which must set absolute limits to what it is possible to do.

He now could know just what was physically possible and could set himself a target that was actually attainable. … If we know the limit of what is possible for humanity, through determining some kind of laws of human thermodynamics, we shall before successful in doing good in the world, than if we recognize no limitations, and so are perpetually struggling to achieve what is in fact quite impossible?

The fundamental question is survival, and this must never be forgotten.

It is always necessary—and it is indeed quite surprisingly difficult—to keep in mind that the fundamental quality pertaining to man is not that he should be good or bad, wise or stupid, but merely that he should be alive and not dead. therefore the first thing that must be asked about future man is whether he will be alive, and will know how to keep alive, and not whether it is a good thing that he should be alive.

The primary question then arises: what are the conditions which determine whether a man will survive or not?

It is the consumption of food that in the end determines the population of the world.



Sources of the quotations of Charles Galton Darwin: The Next Million Years.

COMMENTS

It is the consumption of food that in the end determines the population of the world. There are many tragedies that have and will befall humanity. Atomic wars, intentionally designed diseases, total destruction by computer wars of basic infrastructure of civilizations, but there will probably be pockets of survivors. Hopefully, these people will see and understand the causes of those disasters and will be willing to endure minor pains, like taxes, to prevent major pains, like the collapse of civilizations.