John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist at the University of Copenhagen. He is noted for his books and research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. His 2003 book Information Theory and Evolution set forth the view that the phenomenon of life, including its origin, evolution, as well as human cultural evolution, has its background situated in the fields of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory. Since 1990 he has been the Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Between 2004 and 2015 he also served as Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy. He founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and was for many years its Managing Editor. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (1988-1997).
A complete list of books is given at the end of this section. Find below the description of some of the books authored by John Scales Avery.
Space-Age Science and Stone-Age Politics
Looking beneath the surface of today’s news stories, we can discern an explosive mixture – Space age science and stone age politics. This book discusses the tensions created by the rapid rate of scientific and technological change, contrasted with the slow rate of change of our political institutions. Because of the enourmous destructive power of modern weapons, and because of today’s instantaneous global communication, the institution of war has become a dangerous anachronism, and indeed the absolutely-sovereign nation-state has also become an anachronism. “Space-Age Science and Stone-Age Politics” discusses the steps we must take to harmonize our social and political institutions witht the constantly accelerating achievements of science and technology.
CRISIS 21: Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century
This book describes the links between the serious problems that are facing the world today – threats to the environment, growing population coupled with vanishing resources, intolerable economic inequality and the threat of nuclear war – and it proposes holistic solutions.
We Need Their Voices Today!
This book is a collection of biographical sketches showing people whose wise voices from the past can help to guide us today. All of the women and men, brief glimpses of whose lives and ideas are portrayed here, gave a high place to compassion. None of them was a slave to greed. We need their voices today!
- Chapter 1: Saint Francis of Assisi
- Chapter 2: Thomas Paine
- Chapter 3: Thomas Jefferson
- Chapter 4: Mary Wollstonecraft
- Chapter 5: William Godwin
Progress, Poverty and Population: Re-reading Condorcet, Godwin and Malthus
This work traces the history of a debate which took place among the economists, political philosophers and writers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, about whether the benefits of scientific progress would be nullified by the growth of the global population.
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The Need for a New Economic System
It is clear that our present economic system is unsustainable. Never-ending exponential industrial growth on a finite planet is a logical absurdity. We are already using resources at a rate which it would take 1.6 planet earths to replace. We are already undermining the ecological systems which support all of life. Our present economic system has led to an unbelievable degree of economic inequality. To maintain this inequality, both between nations and within nations, military force is used, and democracy is replaced by oligarchy. The future of human civilization is endangered both by the threat of thermonuclear war and by the threat of catastrophic climate change; and both of the twin threats are results of our present economic system. This book documents in detail the serious economic problems of today’s world, and it also proposes sustainable solutions.
Calculus and Differential Equations
This book describes the history of calculus and differential equations, and provides a set of worked problems for the reader interested in learning these subjects.
Information Theory and Evolution
This highly interdisciplinary book discusses the phenomenon of life, including its origin and evolution (and also human cultural evolution), against the background of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory. Among the central themes is the seeming contradiction between the second law of thermodynamics and the high degree of order and complexity produced by living systems. This paradox has its resolution in the information content of the Gibbs free energy that enters the biosphere from outside sources, as the author shows. The role of information in human cultural evolution is another focus of the book. One of the final chapters discusses the merging of information technology and biotechnology into a new discipline — bio-information technology.
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Civilization’s Crisis: A Set of Linked Challenges
Modern civilization faces a broad spectrum of daunting problems, but rational solutions are available for them all. This book explores the following issues: (1) Threats to the environment and climate change; (2) a growing population and vanishing resources; (3) the global food and refugee crisis; (4) intolerable economic inequality; (5) the threat of nuclear war; (6) the military-industrial complex; and (7) limits to growth. These problems are closely interlinked, and their possible solutions are discussed in this book.
Energy, Climate Change and Global Food Security
The proceedings of a symposium discussing future food shortages that may be produced by rising energy prices, climate change and population growth.
Science and Society
The latest advancements and discoveries in science have made, and continue to make, a huge impact on our lives. This book is a history of the social impact of science and technology from the beginnings of civilization up to the present. The book explains how the key inventions: agriculture, writing and printing with movable type, initiated an explosive growth of knowledge and human power over the environment. It also shows how the Industrial Revolution changed the relationship between humans and nature, and initiated a massive use of fossil fuels. Problems related to nuclear power, nuclear weapons, genetic engineering, information technology, exhaustion of non-renewable resources, use of fossil fuels and climate change are examined in the later chapters of the book. Finally, the need for ethical maturity to match our scientific progress is discussed.
Collected Essays (I, II, III, IV)
This book contains a collection of essays and articles by John Scales Avery discussing the severe problems and challenges which the world faces during the 21st century. Human civilization and the biosphere are threatened by catastrophic climate change. Unless rapid steps are taken to replace fossil fuels by 100% renewable energy, we risk passing a tipping point beyond which uncontrollable feedback loops could produce a 6th extinction event cmparable to those observed in the geological record.
Another serious threat to human civilization and the biosphere is the danger of a catastrophic thermonuclear war. Over a long period of time there is an ever-increasing risk that such a war will occur by accident or miscalculation.
Thirdly, there is threat of an extremely serious and widespread famine, produced by the climate change, rapidly-growing populations, and the end of the fossil fuel era. We must urgently address all three challenges.
- “Before it is Too Late” by Aurelio Peccei and Daisaku Ikeda
- “Hiroshima, August 6, 1945: A Silence Broken”
- “Soldiers in the Laboratory”, by Chris Langley
- “The Path to Zero: Dialogues On Nuclear Dangers” By Richard Falk And David Krieger
- 60 years in the peace movement
- Adam Smith’s invisible hand is at our throats
- Adverse effects of globalization
- Against the Institution of War
- A government with many secrets is not a democracy
- Albert Einstein, Scientist and Pacifist
- An accident waiting to happen
- An Arctic nuclear weapons free zone; Scandinavia as a first step
- An attack on Iran could escalate into a global nuclear war
- A nuclear weapons convention by majority vote at the UN
- Are we being driven like cattle?
- A threatened global catastrophe
- Atoms for peace?
- Attacks on Iran, past and present
- Back to child labor and slavery?
- Benefits of equality
- Birgitta Jonsdottir, democracy, and freedom of information
- Blood for Oil – The Close Relationship Between Petroleum and War
- Blood for oil
- Cancer threat from radioactive leaks at Hanford, USA
- Climate change means lifestyle change
- Climate change: will a disaster wake us up?
- Collective punishment and the blockade of Gaza
- Construction versus destruction
- Culture, education and human solidarity
- Dangers of nuclear power generation
- Debt Slavery
- Destroying the world for profit
- Developing the social responsibility of scientists and engineers
- Does It Make Sense to Saw Off the Branch on Which You Are Sitting?
- Does the American Jewish Community really want a general war in the Middle East?
- Do the people have a right to know what their governments are doing?
- Economic predictions for 2013
- Eliminating the causes of war
- Entropy and Economics
- Ethics for the future
- Europe needs to be independent
- Europe must not be pushed into a nuclear war with Russia
- Exponential Growth
- Facing a set of linked problems
- Federalism and Global Governance
- Flaws in the Concept of Nuclear Deterrance
- Four Futures
- Gandhi as an economist
- Gandhi’s solutions to today’s problems
- Geological extinction events and runaway climate change
- Golden age or peak civilization?
- Greed is driving us toward disaster
- Human Rights
- “Humanitarian” missile strikes against Syria?
- Institutional and cultural inertia
- Interrelated threats to humans and to the biosphere
- Iran: automatic escalation to World War III?
- Israel, Iran and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
- Just staying alive
- Killing civilians
- Kill or Be Killed… Or Both!
- Lessons from World War I
- Limits to growth and fractional reserve banking
- Limits to growth and climate change
- Making a game of killing
- Mandela and Gandhi
- Militarism’s Hostages
- Millay’s “Epitaph for the Race of Man”
- New Hope for Avoiding Catastrophic Climate Change
- Nobel Peace Prize winner and war criminal?
- Nobody had the slightest idea of what it would be like
- Nuclear warfare as genocide
- Nuclear weapons, Gandhi’s birthday, and the Nuremberg Principles
- Of Reciprocity and Karma
- One step backward taken
- Optimum population in the future
- Our duty to future generations
- Paris and the Long-Term Future
- Paris: A Sense of Proportions Is Urgently Needed
- Paris, India, and Coal
- Paris: The urgent need for a sense of proportion
- Paris: We Need System Change!
- Pax Americana?
- Perpetual war against terrorism?
- Politeness in multi-ethnic societies
- Poverty and war
- Preventing a human-initiated 6th geological extinction event
- Protecting whistleblowers
- Quick action is needed to save the long-term future
- Racism, colonialism and exceptionalism
- Reformed teaching of history
- Reciprocity and karma
- Remember your humanity
- Restoring democracy in the United States
- Sanctions as collective punishment
- Saving threatened species
- Science changes the character of war
- Science, religion and war
- Secrecy and democracy are incompatible
- Secrecy versus democracy
- Some contributions of Islamic culture
- Some examples of genocide
- Some peace education initiatives in Denmark
- Strengthening The Role Of The United Nations
- Syria, democracy and international law
- Targeting civilians
- Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe – The Dangers Are Very Great Today
- Ted Turner Protests Against the Death of Democracy
- The agony of Iraq
- The Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Northeast India
- The Arms Trade Treaty Opens New Possibilities at the UN
- The arrogance of power
- The case for economic reform
- The court of world public opinion
- The Danger of Fascism in the United States
- The devil’s dynamo
- The evolution of cooperation
- The fragility of our complex civilization
- The Future of International Law (Part I)
- The Future of International Law (Part II)
- The Future of International Law (Part III)
- The humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons
- The illegality of NATO
- The illegality of nuclear weapons
- The long-term future
- The Marshall Islands sue all nuclear nations
- The Mayan apocalypse and Gell-Mann’s curve
- The Need for a New Economic System: Part I (see the end of the article for the other parts)
- The Nuremberg Principles and individual responsibility
- “The Path to Zero: Dialogues on Nuclear Dangers”, by Richard Falk and David Krieger
- The protection racket
- The Threats and Costs of War
- The Titanic as an allegory
- The training of soldiers
- The social responsibility of scientists
- The task before us
- The United Nations Climate Summit
- The United States drifts towards political irresponsibility
- The urgent need for renewable energy
- The Way is Open for a Nuclear Weapon-Free Northern Europe
- The World As It Is, And The World As It Could Be
- Thou shalt not kill
- Towards A Sustainable Global Society
- Tribalism and agreed-upon lies
- Truth versus power
- Ukraine and the Danger of Nuclear War
- Using material goods for social competition
- Unfulfilled responsibilities of the media
- Values for the future
- We Must Not Demonize and Threaten Russia
- We Must Stop the Madness of Brinkmanship
- Who is my neighbor?
- Will the Real Issues Be Discussed in 2016?
- Why Is the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons So Urgent?
- Why Is the Military-Industrial Complex Sometimes Called “The Devil’s Dynamo”?