I am wondering if I can get some thoughts on this point that has been stuck in my head.

The only societies that live in complete environmental harmony are small tribal groups scattered in far reaches of the globe.  All these societies hold supernatural beliefs and I am guessing believe in gods of somesort.

So this could I am missing the point.  Perhaps this is about traditional lifestyles and supernatural beliefs which are a part of that.  Or is it something I haven't considered.  But is there any teeth in the notion it requires some faith based system to live this way, in small collective groups, in order to live in such a sustainable way?  I would think this would be particularly interesting if one finds environmentalism to be an ethic.  Thanks for reply.

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Easter Islanders... nice reference.  Funny that few people remember them when contemplating our place in relation to primitive cultures... and funny that we are doing the same thing on a global scale, but instead of giant statues its Hummers, silk shoes, IPods, and flat screen tvs.  : )

Sounds about like my feelings on the subject.  There have been many 'savage' cultures that have caused major damage.  They just tend not to, because there aren't many of them.  A tribe of a few dozen per every 100 square miles doesn't put much stress on the environment.


Also, to really @#$% up the environment, you require advanced technology.  The savage tribes simply didn't have the ability to create really toxic stuff.

Right!?  Technology means we get to live longer and do more damage before we check out!  It is something sad to contemplate: my single life will probably do more damage than most of my ancestors could collectively do!

Um, this isn't my topic.  Though it's interesting I am well aware that civilizations in the past damaged their environments.  If you read my post I wrote there are small tribal groups scattered throughout the world that live in environmental harmony and they also happen to hold supernatural beliefs.  I didn't write they were noble and savage is more of an opinion.

But the small tribal groups can cause damage like those previous civilizations have.  That was his point.

Never wrote that they couldn't, but the ones that do exist today, scattered in small groups, are the only cultures that are not self destructing their asses.  I think you're right that the causation led to the beliefs not the other way around.  Still though, what would a secular, modern technological society in harmony with the environment look like?  I think it's interesting since it would seem to be an imperative to be so ethically.

Well, like I said previously, I think it's more a matter of their ability to impact their environment, rather than anything to do with their religion.  I don't think we'd have a very good chance of imitating them, even if we wanted to ... which I don't.  There are too many of us now.

Thats an excellent point.  Thanks.  I consider this dead and buried now.

Awwwwwww, damn.  Can I still kick it a few more times?  :-D


And yeah, I only saw your comment on the tail end after I had written my previous reply.

Ha, this kind of came from the Hitchens challenge about naming a value or ethic that theistic values can achieve that secular values can't or something like that.  I was surprised however that there is actually tribal athiests so the point was killed even if I wanted to try twisting the causation.  Thanks for commenting though.

I think it's not a far stretch of the imagination to see a small hunting/ gathering tribal group hold supernatural beliefs that compel them to respect their environment in such a way that they are careful not to take more than required to survive.  However this could have been borne out of traditional practice and enforced by the shaman.

I think you're conflating correlation with causation.  The supernatural beliefs to respect the environment could have just as easily formed as an attempt to keep their environment from killing them.


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