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Many reasons were proffered to explain the Minoan decline and collapse, including the . What is increasingly cited as the reason for the Minoan decline (and was probably the ultimate reason for its collapse), was that Minoans , primarily via deforestation. Minoans, just as with many other collapsed civilizations, exceeded their land's carrying capacity. For organisms, carrying capacity always meant food and the ability to reproduce, but for civilizations, it also meant the energy needed to run the civilization’s moving parts, including transportation and the energy used to build structures and goods. If we revisit the “” that life faces, whether to use energy to fuel biological processes or build biological structures, civilizations faced the same choice. Humans commandeered the energy that a tree invested in its growth, and there were two basic ways to use it: liberate the energy in the structure by burning it, or use that structure for building human-usable tools or structures, which included buildings and ships. , as did pottery-making and fireplaces and furnaces to heat buildings. Minoans also built a tremendous fleet of ships for trade and military dominance. When rebuilding Minoan palaces, Crete’s inhabitants used wood exuberantly, but by 1500 BCE, the use of wood in palaces declined precipitously, and when Mycenaean Greece annexed Crete, the forests were gone and Greeks used Crete for pasturing their sheep.

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Another evolutionary concept is that all changes had mechanical reasons for happening (again, today’s science has ), and each mechanical change required some purpose in improving an organism’s chances of surviving to reproduce, or at least not have unduly impaired it. As evolution progressed, for each species, it was like taking a road, and the farther down the road a species went in its development, the “lifestyle” opportunities that its biological operation created precluded other kinds of styles. For instance, trees will never become . Trees went down the path of roots, , growing taller than their neighbors, and the like. A plant cannot choose locomotion as a way of life. It does not generate enough energy for it, for one thing. Animals went down a very different evolutionary path than plants did, and muscles, brains, livers, and the like have no analogy in plants and, by themselves, plants will not grow muscles or brains anytime soon, although humans have been making radical changes in animals over brief periods of time, such as the many breeds of dog.

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Perhaps the most damaging deficiency in FE efforts, after self-serving orientation, was that the participants and their supporters were scientifically illiterate and easily led astray by the latest spectacle. Scientific literacy can help prevent most such distractions. While writing this essay, I was not only bombarded with news of the latest FE and alternative energy aspirants' antics, but I had to continually field queries regarding whether Peak Oil and Global Warming were conspiratorial elite hoaxes (or figments of the hyperactive imaginations of environmentalists and other activists), for two examples that readily come to mind. Digesting this essay's material should have those questions answered as mere side-effects. Far from being a hoax or imaginary, Peak Oil was and , and it is all downhill from there, and conventional oil will be almost entirely depleted in my lifetime. , although both were heavily promoted in the USA in 2014. In every paleoclimate study that I have seen, so-called greenhouse gases have always been considered the primary determinant of Earth's surface temperature (after the Sun), and carbon dioxide is chief among them. The radiation-trapping properties of carbon dioxide are not controversial in the slightest among scientists, and after the Sun's influence (which is exceedingly stable), declining carbon dioxide levels are considered to be the conditions that have dominated Earth for the past 35 million years. Humanity's increasing the atmosphere's carbon dioxide content is influencing the cause of Icehouse Earth, and , and are merely proximate causes. Increasing carbon dioxide can turn the global climate from an to a Greenhouse Earth, and the last time that happened, Earth had its . But have purposefully confused the issues, and a scientifically illiterate public and have played along, partly because believing the disinformation seems to relieve us all of any responsibility for our actions. Although scientific literacy can help people become immune to the disinformation and confusion arising from many corners, and reading this essay's first half can help people develop their own defense from such distractions, my goals for this essay's first half are far greater than that.

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