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Dustin Kesselberg
7th April 2007, 08:18 PM
Extinction is a bad thing. Especially extinction caused by humans. Many people don't seem to understand this and I hope to provide just a few reasons to care.

What many don't seem to be understanding is that all life on earth is part of the global ecosystem. This means that every single species has evolved to be part of a fragile chain of other species. If one species goes extinct it can cause many other species to go extinct which in turn can cause many other species to go extinct. Humans, being part of that chain, have an invested interest in the well being of all species, even the ones that don't seem to make much of a difference. Scientists can't predict how the extinction of a single species will affect the entire ecosystem let alone the extinction of hundreds or thousands of species. This has effects for all humans in every way imaginable. If humans care about the existence of their species then they should care about the extinction of any species.

Another important reason is the fact that many of our medicines are derived from natural products including numerous plant species. Who remembers the story of Penicillin (http://inventors.about.com/od/pstartinventions/a/Penicillin.htm)? Penicillin was one of the most widely used antibiotic agents. It is derived from the Penicillium mold and was accidentally discovered 1920's. Imagine how many people would have died if this specific Penicillium mold had somehow gone extinct centuries earlier? This story attests to the fact that preservation of species, any species is of the utmost importance. We currently simply don't know which DNA of which species might be able to be used in the future to cure any number of diseases, cancer for instance. It could be that in the near future we will discover a method of using the DNA from some obscure jelly fish to breast cancer. But unfortunately that Jelly Fish might of went extinct because we didn't think it could of been of any use. A potential cancer fighting drug derived from some obscure amazonian plant could be going extinct as we speak!

More reasons to care about extinction of species is simply the fact that we want future generations to be able to observe their beauty directly, and not just from a text book. How tragic would it be for your offspring to blame your generation for not being able to witness first hand, many species that are currently going extinct? I for one, would of loved to of seen the Dodo bird or the Thylacine, or even the recently extinct Chinese river dolphin.

These are just a few of the many reasons to be concerned about extinction, especially potential mass extinction. People who don't care about mass extinction are generally uneducated about the science concerning extinction or simply realize that they will be dead before they notice the effects of it and simply don't care. Either way, anyone with any sense is worried about extinction of any animal let alone mass extinction. Scientists simply aren't able to "clone" extinct species and likely will never be able to due to the fact that many recently extinct species in the past 500 years, their DNA is simply too degraded to be of any use. The Dodo for instance will never be cloned. It's gone, forever. This is why it's so important for us to be concerned about extinction. Once they are gone, They're gone for good.

Jeff Corey
7th April 2007, 08:25 PM
Us, too.

Dustin Kesselberg
7th April 2007, 08:36 PM
Us, too.

Most human populations currently don't play a beneficial role in the global ecosystem or local for that matter. They simply exploit the ecosystem to their advantage and don't care if they harm or destroy it. Humans are not part of their historical niche in the ecosystem anymore.

thaiboxerken
7th April 2007, 08:38 PM
You really don't like humans, do you?

andyandy
7th April 2007, 11:30 PM
yep. Extinction is bad.


Unless it was mosquitos.....

Dustin Kesselberg
8th April 2007, 12:40 AM
yep. Extinction is bad.


Unless it was mosquitos.....

It's bad period. We can deal with mosquito populations without driving them to extinction.

Floyt
8th April 2007, 02:10 AM
Good one, Dustin. As far as I am aware, those are the three "hard" reasons in favour of preservation of biodiversity - demand value (goods and services derived), option value (goods and services hypothesized), and aesthetic value.

On the other hand, note that these three are all very anthropocentric, necessarily. Should necessity and consensus dictate, we are happy to eradicate. The polio virus e.g. is fondly hoped to snuff it for eternity sometime soon, and nobody will shed a tear for it, considering the price for keeping it around.

Arguments for intrinsic value of biodiversity can be made, but invariably bog down in fundamental questions, a.k.a. "If there's a value and nobody is around to appreciate it, does it make a sound?" :D

floyt

Dustin Kesselberg
8th April 2007, 02:26 AM
Good one, Dustin. As far as I am aware, those are the three "hard" reasons in favour of preservation of biodiversity - demand value (goods and services derived), option value (goods and services hypothesized), and aesthetic value.

On the other hand, note that these three are all very anthropocentric, necessarily. Should necessity and consensus dictate, we are happy to eradicate. The polio virus e.g. is fondly hoped to snuff it for eternity sometime soon, and nobody will shed a tear for it, considering the price for keeping it around.

Arguments for intrinsic value of biodiversity can be made, but invariably bog down in fundamental questions, a.k.a. "If there's a value and nobody is around to appreciate it, does it make a sound?" :D

floyt


I don't believe scientists should totally eradicate the polio virus simply because we might find beneficial uses for it in the future. Unless we can reproduce it somehow, I don't know why we can't keep it alive in the lab for future experiments.

Also, Yes, It's true that some of these arguments would be of little value if humans weren't around to appreciate the, but the fact is, humans are around to appreciate them. So I don't really know how important it is to argue against them on the basis that they would be of no importance of humans weren't around when humans are around and it's in our best interest to keep it that way.

Jekyll
8th April 2007, 02:38 AM
Most human populations currently don't play a beneficial role in the global ecosystem or local for that matter.

Tell that to pidgins , field mice, foxes, rats, crows, seagulls etc..

Floyt
8th April 2007, 02:45 AM
I don't believe scientists should totally eradicate the polio virus simply because we might find beneficial uses for it in the future. Unless we can reproduce it somehow, I don't know why we can't keep it alive in the lab for future experiments.

I suppose that is what will happen, eventually. (Viruses are probably a bit different from other possible extinction victims because you can just crystallize and store the buggers.) The argument is more along the lines of, if there was no way to preserve a sample and the opportunity to eradicate the virus offered itself, we'd go for it regardless. Because we do think in trade-offs; it's just that with biodiversity, in most cases the trade-off has the appearance of not-immediately-evident vs don't-care, and is not nearly as clear-cut.

Also, Yes, It's true that some of these arguments would be of little value if humans weren't around to appreciate the, but the fact is, humans are around to appreciate them. So I don't really know how important it is to argue against them on the basis that they would be of no importance of humans weren't around when humans are around and it's in our best interest to keep it that way.

It's too foggy a point to base an argument on it, I'd agree. Interesting to contemplate though, because it touches the basis of how we assign values. Pare it right down to essentials, and you end up asking the question "Why do we care about our species' survival?" (and hence about factors that influence it, like benefits derived from biodiversity). Genetical imperative or rational reasons? The latter case is surprisingly hard to argue.

Floyt
8th April 2007, 02:49 AM
Tell that to pidgins , field mice, foxes, rats, crows, seagulls etc..

Actually, we are such a strong player in ecosystems today that if it had happened to another species, we'd declare it to have "gone ballistic". We are not directly benefitting a huge number of other players, but the ones we do, we basically bankroll :D

andyandy
8th April 2007, 03:11 AM
It's bad period. We can deal with mosquito populations without driving them to extinction.

Humour, Dustin,

Dustin this is humour

Hope you two get along.


You do take things very seriously....

Dustin Kesselberg
8th April 2007, 03:14 AM
You do take things very seriously....

There's no other way to take them.

andyandy
8th April 2007, 03:17 AM
There's no other way to take them.

lol

lighten up dustin :)

Roboramma
8th April 2007, 03:37 AM
lol

lighten up dustin :)
He has a point, though. I mean, I'm all for not taking myself, or most things, too seriously, but this is a serious issue. Personally I can't think of much that's more serious than extintion, particularly mass extinction. But I have no time to get in to this because I haven't eaten anything but a few oranges all day and I'm starving!

frank462
8th April 2007, 03:39 AM
I feel really bad about all this extinction stuff.
I always wanted to have a T-Rex as a pet.
It could hunt all the neighbor's dogs that bark at night.
Once the dogs are all gone it could hunt the neighbors who blast their stereos.

Beady
8th April 2007, 03:51 AM
I don't believe scientists should totally eradicate the polio virus simply because we might find beneficial uses for it in the future.

Keep a psychotic mass murderer alive in case it becomes rehabilitated? I don't buy the argument for humans or other animals, and I don't buy it for viruses and bacteria. You want to change my opinion? Give me something besides opinion and pure speculation.

There's no other way to take them.

Keep it up, and you'll die early and alone. Take that seriously.

Texastwister
8th April 2007, 03:56 AM
Tell that to pidgins , field mice, foxes, rats, crows, seagulls etc..

Lets look at this in reverse as well. Look at the species which have benefited from humans.

Take for example domesticated livestock. Becoming useful to another more powerful species caused humans to be ensure their survival. Look at how many wild sheep there are compared to domesticated.

So I would say more species have benefited from man than have directly become extinct due to man related actions.

And as species become more and more specialized, they open themselves up to extinction. Which perhaps is why all species will eventually be replaced

The Painter
8th April 2007, 04:26 AM
Paleontologist David Raup (1991) estimates that 99.9% of all the species that have existed have gone extinct.

Extinction is a vital and important part of the ecosystem. It is part of nature. Without extinction or mass extinction events of the past, Man would not have evolved. A lot of animals you recognize and want to preserve would not exist. In the last 600 million years there have been anywhere from 5 to 20 mass extinctions. They are normal, and not our fault.
Mass extinctions have sometimes accelerated the evolution of life on earth. When dominance of particular ecological niches passes from one group of organisms to another, it is rarely because the new dominant group is "superior" to the old and usually because an extinction event eliminates the old dominant group and makes way for the new one.
For example mammaliformes ("almost mammals") and then mammals existed throughout the reign of the dinosaurs, but could not compete for the large terrestrial vertebrate niches which dinosaurs monopolized. The end-Cretaceous mass extinction removed the non-avian dinosaurs and made it possible for mammals to expand into the large terrestrial vertebrate niches.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event

Texastwister
8th April 2007, 04:39 AM
http://www.screwworm.ars.usda.gov/HISTORY1.htm

And look at when humans erradicated the screwworm in the US. This is why today the deer population has exploded.

Jekyll
8th April 2007, 06:14 AM
Extinction is a bad thing. Especially extinction caused by humans.
Dustin, could you explain the bit in bold to me? I don't get why it's worse, although I do agree with you that extinction is quite bad in general.

EternalSceptic
8th April 2007, 07:43 AM
yep. Extinction is bad.


Unless it was mosquitos.....

Nope.
In my residence birds are living in one of the buildings (don't know their english name - "Schwalben" in german). Even in wet summers the number of mosquitos around my house is small enought to be bearable. They feed the birds.

In a balances ecology there should be no real Problem with insects, animals or whatever. But, well, most of us prefer to live in a sterile world. And get allergies.

EternalSceptic
8th April 2007, 07:54 AM
Dustin, could you explain the bit in bold to me? I don't get why it's worse, although I do agree with you that extinction is quite bad in general.

Two planets meet, and one of them looks really ill. Asks the other: "Hey waht's the matter with you?"
"I've got a homo sapiens"
Responds the other:
"Don't worry, I had that as well several times. It goes by very quickly"

Seriously - the problem is, that mankind has no natural enemies left and therefore our population explodes. It is not unlikely that this will lead to a total disaster _for us_.

Unless we become clever enough to _really_ preserve a functioning ecology.

No. I am not a Greenpeace loonie. I just want my kids to survive.

andyandy
8th April 2007, 09:01 AM
Nope.
In my residence birds are living in one of the buildings (don't know their english name - "Schwalben" in german). Even in wet summers the number of mosquitos around my house is small enought to be bearable. They feed the birds.

In a balances ecology there should be no real Problem with insects, animals or whatever. But, well, most of us prefer to live in a sterile world. And get allergies.

it was a flippant remark.

Nevertheless, it's rather myopic to judge the bearability of mosquitoes on the local population around your neighbourhood.

I'd suggest that Austrians as a general rule don't have to worry too much about Encephalitis, West Nile virus , Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever or malaria.....amongst others...
and given that mosquito bourne infections are estimated to account for between 3-5million deaths annually, you'd have to make a pretty strong ecological case for me to weight ecological concerns in favour of such widespread loss of human life.

EternalSceptic
8th April 2007, 10:00 AM
it was a flippant remark.

Nevertheless, it's rather myopic to judge the bearability of mosquitoes on the local population around your neighbourhood.

I'd suggest that Austrians as a general rule don't have to worry too much about Encephalitis, West Nile virus , Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever or malaria.....amongst others...
and given that mosquito bourne infections are estimated to account for between 3-5million deaths annually, you'd have to make a pretty strong ecological case for me to weight ecological concerns in favour of such widespread loss of human life.

My ecological case just includes ourselves :)
Seriously, we have the choice
a) adapt ourselves to be a matching (not just dominating) member of the earths ecology.
or
b) permanently adjusting that ecology to our comfort.

I'd be glad if we can manage b). But can we?

Jekyll
8th April 2007, 10:01 AM
Two planets meet, and one of them looks really ill. Asks the other: "Hey waht's the matter with you?"
"I've got a homo sapiens"
Responds the other:
"Don't worry, I had that as well several times. It goes by very quickly"

Seriously - the problem is, that mankind has no natural enemies left and therefore our population explodes. It is not unlikely that this will lead to a total disaster _for us_.

Unless we become clever enough to _really_ preserve a functioning ecology.

No. I am not a Greenpeace loonie. I just want my kids to survive.
I think you're overstating the fragility of life.

I believe that the course of action humanity is following has the potential to do us and many other species a great deal of harm. I don't think that we're capable of destroying the ecosystem however, just reducing it to a state where it can not support this many people.

I can't see the whole of humanity being wiped out by this either, it's just going to be a different kind of population control/reduction to being eaten by our natural 'enemies'.

EternalSceptic
8th April 2007, 10:05 AM
I think you're overstating the fragility of life.

I believe that the course of action humanity is following has the potential to do us and many other species a great deal of harm. I don't think that we're capable of destroying the ecosystem however, just reducing it to a state where it can not support this many people.

I can't see the whole of humanity being wiped out by this either, it's just going to be a different kind of population control/reduction to being eaten by our natural 'enemies'.

Agreed. I was overstating just to be heard. My fault.

Jekyll
8th April 2007, 10:11 AM
Agreed. I was overstating just to be heard. My fault.

Oh well, I guess we'll just have to be in agreement then :p.

brodski
8th April 2007, 10:16 AM
Paleontologist David Raup (1991) estimates that 99.9% of all the species that have existed have gone extinct.

Extinction is a vital and important part of the ecosystem. It is part of nature. Without extinction or mass extinction events of the past, Man would not have evolved. A lot of animals you recognize and want to preserve would not exist. In the last 600 million years there have been anywhere from 5 to 20 mass extinctions. They are normal, and not our fault.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event

100%* of all people who have lived are now dead, death is a vital part of the continuation of the human population- without the death of million of humans before you (and I) you (and I) would never have had access to the resources necessary for our lives, -most deaths are "natural" and not caused by other humans- but that doesn’t mean that murder doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t make any given death any less tragic or murder, accidental death or disease any less worthy of prevention.


* ( 0.9999.... =1 )

geni
8th April 2007, 10:29 AM
What many don't seem to be understanding is that all life on earth is part of the global ecosystem.

With the stuff living around ocean vents this is somewhat questionable.


This means that every single species has evolved to be part of a fragile chain of other species.

Flase. Every single species has evolved to maximise the chances of passing on it's genes in the enviroment it finds itself in.


If one species goes extinct it can cause many other species to go extinct which in turn can cause many other species to go extinct. Humans, being part of that chain, have an invested interest in the well being of all species, even the ones that don't seem to make much of a difference.

No it would be posible to build ecosystems optomised towards supporting humans. Everything else isn't required.



Scientists can't predict how the extinction of a single species will affect the entire ecosystem let alone the extinction of hundreds or thousands of species. This has effects for all humans in every way imaginable. If humans care about the existence of their species then they should care about the extinction of any species.

We will get by.


Another important reason is the fact that many of our medicines are derived from natural products including numerous plant species.

This is becomeing less common.


Who remembers the story of Penicillin (http://inventors.about.com/od/pstartinventions/a/Penicillin.htm)? Penicillin was one of the most widely used antibiotic agents. It is derived from the Penicillium mold and was accidentally discovered 1920's. Imagine how many people would have died if this specific Penicillium mold had somehow gone extinct centuries earlier? This story attests to the fact that preservation of species, any species is of the utmost importance. We currently simply don't know which DNA of which species might be able to be used in the future to cure any number of diseases, cancer for instance. It could be that in the near future we will discover a method of using the DNA from some obscure jelly fish to breast cancer. But unfortunately that Jelly Fish might of went extinct because we didn't think it could of been of any use. A potential cancer fighting drug derived from some obscure amazonian plant could be going extinct as we speak!

It's the 21st century. With the advances in chemistry and molecular biology over the last few years plant sources are of less importance. Since it is now posible to work out the molecular cause of many things it is posible to design a chemical to counter them. Organic synthersis has pretty much got the point where anything can be synthersised from fairly limited feedstocks.


More reasons to care about extinction of species is simply the fact that we want future generations to be able to observe their beauty directly, and not just from a text book.

A text book would be an improvement on the current situation where most people won't see much stuff outside of what lives where they do.


How tragic would it be for your offspring to blame your generation for not being able to witness first hand, many species that are currently going extinct? I for one, would of loved to of seen the Dodo bird or the Thylacine, or even the recently extinct Chinese river dolphin.

There are other species.


Either way, anyone with any sense is worried about extinction of any animal let alone mass extinction.

Most animals are not critical. Plants and bacteria would be more of an issue.

Ultimately it doesn't matter what happends to the remaining giant tortoises in terms of haveing an effect on human survival.


Scientists simply aren't able to "clone" extinct species and likely will never be able to due to the fact that many recently extinct species in the past 500 years, their DNA is simply too degraded to be of any use. The Dodo for instance will never be cloned. It's gone, forever.

Generaly betting against scientific progress is a bad move.

EternalSceptic
8th April 2007, 10:33 AM
100%* of all people who have lived are now dead, death is a vital part of the continuation of the human population- without the death of million of humans before you (and I) you (and I) would never have had access to the resources necessary for our lives, -most deaths are "natural" and not caused by other humans- but that doesn’t mean that murder doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t make any given death any less tragic or murder, accidental death or disease any less worthy of prevention.


* ( 0.9999.... =1 )

Right. My best friend died a year ago from a melanom. And it was a tragedy.

What you are (implcitely) saying her, if I read you correctly, is, that death is necessary to make life for the next generation possible. Which is exactly what I am thinking. But now spin out this idea a little bit wider: What if the relationship between death and new offspring is unbalanced? Won't we start to "eat up" ourselves at some point?

Remember: we don't have any natural enemies anymore (except ourselves)

brodski
8th April 2007, 10:51 AM
Right. My best friend died a year ago from a melanom. And it was a tragedy.

What you are (implcitely) saying her, if I read you correctly, is, that death is necessary to make life for the next generation possible. Which is exactly what I am thinking. But now spin out this idea a little bit wider: What if the relationship between death and new offspring is unbalanced? Won't we start to "eat up" ourselves at some point?

Remember: we don't have any natural enemies anymore (except ourselves)

I am sorry about your friend.

I was responding to "the painter" claiming that extinction is no big deal because it's natural and we wouldn't be here without other previous extinctions.

I was making an analogy with death to show the paucity of that argument.

I don’t quiet see what you are saying with your argument, except that if the birth-rate exceeds the death rate then a population will grow, and if a population grows beyond its ability to acquire necessary resources then individual members of that population will suffer, and evenly the population as a whole may suffer., which is just Malthus revisited.

EternalSceptic
8th April 2007, 11:09 AM
I am sorry about your friend.

I was responding to "the painter" claiming that extinction is no big deal because it's natural and we wouldn't be here without other previous extinctions.

I was making an analogy with death to show the paucity of that argument.

I don’t quiet see what you are saying with your argument, except that if the birth-rate exceeds the death rate then a population will grow, and if a population grows beyond its ability to acquire necessary resources then individual members of that population will suffer, and evenly the population as a whole may suffer., which is just Malthus revisited.

That is what I wanted to say. The problem, as I see it, is, that during the growth of (our) population we are not just approaching a limit in resources, but, by extincting other species with all it's (yet not fully known) implications we are as well reducing possibly the amount of available resources.

I am trying not to "paint black", just forwarding my ideas and trying to have them challenged.

Methinks we have to find a way to make the ecology "grow with us" and limit ourselves. The only alternative I can see is (and that is not soo unlikely) that we ignore the problems on our planet and start expanding into space. But that - as desirable as it is- would only postpone the problems. Huw long? I don't know... centuries, millenniums, forever? Do you know?

athon
8th April 2007, 06:02 PM
This is another one of those 'humans aren't nature' arguments, which are massivel flawed. It's an easy argument to win if you manipulate the definition of nature to be 'anything that doesn't have anything to do with humans'.

Extinctions have happened before because of new species being introduced. Ecosystems always evolve, with niches being emptied and replaced by novel organisms better suited. Humans have changed the environment massively, but just because the scale is unprecedented doesn't mean the action is unique. The 'extinction is amoral' reasoning is based on subjective views on the matter, on emotional reasoning which mourns when something passes.

Indeed, we can tie some threadbare rationality to lamenting the loss of biodiversity for human resources. However, this is very selective. When the tigers all die, there will be minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystem (hardly any great plagues of tiger food, for instance), yet we will still be upset. So this form of rationality doesn't equate our emotional responses; we'd sooner mourn those species we find human-like (tiger versus, say, a parasitic worm in a swamp), even though the disappearance of some insect might have a greater impact on our own wellbeing.

The truth is, we could lose most mammalian species in the world and the impact on our wellbeing would be negligable. We could remove all humpbacks and no ecosystem would crumble. Even large shifts in niche occupation would balance out in due time. Hell, all the species around today are still here in spite of the Permian Extinction. That's the wonderful thing about life. It's so resilient.

So, am I for wiping out entire species? Hell no. For one thing, I have an aesthetic disposition to liking complexity. I like more biodiversity rather than less purely on an appreciation level. For another thing, even small difficulties should be avoided by humans, as we have the ability to model the future and anticipate change. While the disappearance of a type of coral might not bring great doom, the loss is permanent, and if we can avoid permanent loss than we should do so.

Extinction isn't a good thing for humans, by any means, especially for some key species. But the truth is that there is no doom and gloom reason why it's bad in most cases, especially those we celebrate most (such as pandas and tigers).

Athon

Tief
8th April 2007, 08:05 PM
Yep, precisely, we should keep all species around because they might be useful some day.

Which is why I am in favor of keeping nukes. Extinct nuclear war is a bad thing, because we might need it some day.

Elimination of a species does not cause a collapse in an ecosystem; the ecosystem changes in response. A bird that dines only on mosquitos, if unable to learn to eat something else, would go with the extinction of mosquitos, but another bird that feeds on something else would fill the niche. Bad if you lose your favorite bird from a personal standpoint, meaningless from an ecosystem standpoint.

I'm not sure exactly how to say it, but there seems to me to be something wrong with the idea that the Three Gorges Dam shouldn't have been built because a certain rare dolphin will go extinct. Doesn't our knowledge of the benefit to humans count? Doesn't our knowledge that the ecosystem will change, for the detriment of some species but for the benefit of others, but not be destroyed count for something?

Certainly there are examples where we could have done a better job at predicting the outcome of some changes we have made, of changes that were ill advised, but it seems to me a clear benefit at hand, considered judiciously, outweighs a blue-sky type of benefit (O, but we might have just killed off the cure for cancer! We will now never find a cure for cancer!).

Dustin Kesselberg
8th April 2007, 08:25 PM
Keep a psychotic mass murderer alive in case it becomes rehabilitated? I don't buy the argument for humans or other animals, and I don't buy it for viruses and bacteria.

Did I ever use the word "rehabilitation"? No. Don't put words into my mouth. I said that we should keep strains of the polio virus alive in the lab for future study because it might provide valuable scientific information in the future.

You want to change my opinion? Give me something besides opinion and pure speculation.

Science is based on speculation.



Keep it up, and you'll die early and alone. Take that seriously.

I'll die early and alone because I take serious things seriously, huh? :rolleyes:

Dustin Kesselberg
8th April 2007, 08:29 PM
So I would say more species have benefited from man than have directly become extinct due to man related actions.

I don't know the number of species that have gone extinct because of human-caused actions, but I can tell you that the number is increasing each day. Even if your assumption that more animals have benefited from our presence up to now than have gone extinct, that won't last for long.

And as species become more and more specialized, they open themselves up to extinction. Which perhaps is why all species will eventually be replaced.

When humans put pressure on the ecosystem like they have, there is no time for most animals to "evolve" into new species that can adapt. Elephants, if they go extinct nothing will replace them. They will be gone for good. Since evolution even in the fastest states takes tens of thousands of years, elephants for instance could not possible evolve to adapt to humans. The only life forms that could possibly evolve to adapt to humans are the small fast breeding life forms like insects or bacteria.

Dustin Kesselberg
8th April 2007, 08:33 PM
Paleontologist David Raup (1991) estimates that 99.9% of all the species that have existed have gone extinct.

So?

Extinction is a vital and important part of the ecosystem.

Tell me how the currently endangered species going extinct could benefit the ecosystem.

It is part of nature.

So is disease and death. Will you argue in support of that too?

Without extinction or mass extinction events of the past, Man would not have evolved.

So?



A lot of animals you recognize and want to preserve would not exist.

So?

In the last 600 million years there have been anywhere from 5 to 20 mass extinctions. They are normal, and not our fault.

You're looking at past extinctions that occurred naturally and are then concluding that current extinctions are thus 'natural' and not anthropogenic. Global warming skeptics do the same thing. And the same argument refutes them as refutes your argument. We have proof that humans are causing current extinctions and there is no way it could benefit anyone at the rate it's going.

Dustin Kesselberg
8th April 2007, 08:35 PM
Dustin, could you explain the bit in bold to me? I don't get why it's worse, although I do agree with you that extinction is quite bad in general.

Because it can be prevented. For one.

Dustin Kesselberg
8th April 2007, 08:56 PM
Flase. Every single species has evolved to maximise the chances of passing on it's genes in the enviroment it finds itself in.

You're underestimating the affect of co-evolution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coevolution). The fact that most life forms seem to be closely linked in an ecosystem is no coincidence.



No it would be posible to build ecosystems optomised towards supporting humans. Everything else isn't required.


Explain how.

We will get by.

Explain how.


This is becomeing less common.

So therefore no other life forms can provide cures for disease?


It's the 21st century. With the advances in chemistry and molecular biology over the last few years plant sources are of less importance. Since it is now posible to work out the molecular cause of many things it is posible to design a chemical to counter them. Organic synthersis has pretty much got the point where anything can be synthersised from fairly limited feedstocks.

We can't synthesize something when we don't even know what it is. We also can't predict how various molecules will react with other molecules with certainly when we don't even know what those molecules are. You're putting too much emphasis on chemists being able to predict how some hypothetical molecule will react with another molecule when they don't even have a basis for the said molecule. The chemistry of disease is far too complicated then simply finding a chemical, inventing some hypothetical chemical to counteract it and then predicting how it will interact with the other chemical. If it were that easy we'd have cancer cured by now.


A text book would be an improvement on the current situation where most people won't see much stuff outside of what lives where they do.

I haven't mentioned your atrocious grammar and spelling up until now but this sentence makes absolutely no sense. "most people won't see much stuff outside of what lives where they do"? What's that supposed to mean? I'm assuming English isn't your first language. At least I hope it isn't.

If you're saying that textbooks are better than first hand experience then you're simply full of it. I and anyone else interested in animals would much rather observe them first hand and up close then simply looking at pictures of them in a text book. This is why people go bird watching, wildlife watching, go to zoo's, etc. If you prefer textbooks over real life experiences then that's your preference, but don't try to argue it as a case in support of extinction!


There are other species.

So?


Most animals are not critical. Plants and bacteria would be more of an issue.

Many animals are critically endangered.


Ultimately it doesn't matter what happends to the remaining giant tortoises in terms of haveing an effect on human survival.

You really can't predict that. It could be that their DNA holds the secret to cure aids or cancer or some other deadly disease. It's impossible to know for sure.

Moreover, Even if they had no effect on human survival. So what? That's not an excuse not to preserve them.


Generaly betting against scientific progress is a bad move.

Not when so much is in the balance. If I'm left between the choice of assuming Science will be able to clone the DoDo bird and the Thylacine or other recently extinct animals and allowing current animals to go extinct on that assumption or preserving the animals as much as is possible then I will preserve them. If we don't preserve them and assume that science will be able to clone them in the future and then find out it's impossible, we have done something terrible. However if we don't make assumptions and simply preserve them because science may (and likely won't) be able to clone them in the future then if they are able to clone them it won't be a problem since we'll have populations of them already.

JoeTheJuggler
8th April 2007, 08:56 PM
This is another one of those 'humans aren't nature' arguments, which are massivel flawed. It's an easy argument to win if you manipulate the definition of nature to be 'anything that doesn't have anything to do with humans'.


I think this is a complete mischaracterization of the argument Dustin is making. In fact, he's saying the opposite--we ARE connected with everything else, sometimes in ways we don't even know about.

I've always thought that we should recognize our ignorance in some of these decisions. When we do a cost/benefit analysis of something intrusive (usually habitat destruction), the burden of proof should be on the side that is proposing the change. (In other words, rather than trying to proof how important a loss might be when we probably don't know, the people wanting to make the disruption should have to prove that it won't hurt us.)

athon
8th April 2007, 09:09 PM
I think this is a complete mischaracterization of the argument Dustin is making. In fact, he's saying the opposite--we ARE connected with everything else, sometimes in ways we don't even know about.

My apology. I wasn't trying to alledge that Dustin was using this argument, but rather it is a common argument used. It did come across as if Dustin was saying this, and I should have clarified.

I've always thought that we should recognize our ignorance in some of these decisions. When we do a cost/benefit analysis of something intrusive (usually habitat destruction), the burden of proof should be on the side that is proposing the change. (In other words, rather than trying to proof how important a loss might be when we probably don't know, the people wanting to make the disruption should have to prove that it won't hurt us.)

True, however to what extent should this be satisfied? There is always room for doubt, and even the best models will have flaws. If a study is done and is satisfied that there is no immediate impact, it says nothing about the risk of losing something that has a minor negative impact later down the track.

Athon

Dustin Kesselberg
8th April 2007, 09:09 PM
This is another one of those 'humans aren't nature' arguments, which are massivel flawed. It's an easy argument to win if you manipulate the definition of nature to be 'anything that doesn't have anything to do with humans'.

Even if you assume that anthropogenic extinction is "natural" then that's still not an argument to allow it. After all, a giant meteorite destroying earth would be 'natural' by the same definition. No one would argue against preventing that.

Extinctions have happened before because of new species being introduced. Ecosystems always evolve, with niches being emptied and replaced by novel organisms better suited. Humans have changed the environment massively, but just because the scale is unprecedented doesn't mean the action is unique. The 'extinction is amoral' reasoning is based on subjective views on the matter, on emotional reasoning which mourns when something passes.

Sorry, No. You're making many baseless assumptions that simply don't stack up to the facts. Extinctions have happened before but how is that an argument in support of currently human caused extinctions? You're arguing that somehow "life will adapt" because it has before. This is a baseless assumption. In the past extinction events, there was no constant pressure on life preventing it from evolving like there is now. Evolution takes millions of years to occur. At the rate humans are going, earth will be uninhabitable in that time scale. Add the amount of global warming that is predicted in the next few hundred years and multiply that over a million years. Earth will be another Venus.


Indeed, we can tie some threadbare rationality to lamenting the loss of biodiversity for human resources. However, this is very selective. When the tigers all die, there will be minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystem (hardly any great plagues of tiger food, for instance), yet we will still be upset. So this form of rationality doesn't equate our emotional responses; we'd sooner mourn those species we find human-like (tiger versus, say, a parasitic worm in a swamp), even though the disappearance of some insect might have a greater impact on our own wellbeing.

I don't see how this is an argument against preventing extinction. And even parasitic worms in a swamp might contain scientific clues that could greatly benefit humans.


The truth is, we could lose most mammalian species in the world and the impact on our wellbeing would be negligable.

Evidence? Look at the example presented earlier of the screwworm. That one tiny creature, when driven to the brink of extinction by humans, caused deer populations in several states to burst out of control.

http://www.vet.uga.edu/vpp/gray_book02/fad/scm.php

We can't even predict what would happen if we lost many mammalian species.

We could remove all humpbacks and no ecosystem would crumble. Even large shifts in niche occupation would balance out in due time.

Tens of thousands of years...


Hell, all the species around today are still here in spite of the Permian Extinction. That's the wonderful thing about life. It's so resilient.

Err, The Permian extinction happened 251 MILLION years ago. 99% of the life today didn't even exist then. :rolleyes:



Extinction isn't a good thing for humans, by any means, especially for some key species. But the truth is that there is no doom and gloom reason why it's bad in most cases, especially those we celebrate most (such as pandas and tigers).

Sure there is. Lots of doom and gloom.

JoeTheJuggler
8th April 2007, 09:11 PM
Yep, precisely, we should keep all species around because they might be useful some day.

Which is why I am in favor of keeping nukes. Extinct nuclear war is a bad thing, because we might need it some day.


I keep reading this, and I can't seem to make sense out of it.

Are you considering nuclear weapons to be a species? Is this some sort of analogy? If so, I don't get it. Nuclear weapons are like a species that has no conceivable utility to the ecosystem and therefore to our existence (so we'd be better off without it)?

Dustin Kesselberg
8th April 2007, 09:21 PM
Yep, precisely, we should keep all species around because they might be useful some day.

Which is why I am in favor of keeping nukes. Extinct nuclear war is a bad thing, because we might need it some day.

An argument can be made in defense of keeping nukes active, only if humans were competent enough to have them. Which I don't believe they are.

However comparing the huge long term risks of keeping active nukes compared to the tiny short term benefits from exploiting a species to extinction is beyond absurd.

Elimination of a species does not cause a collapse in an ecosystem; the ecosystem changes in response.

This generally takes thousands of years since organisms must evolve to fill the niches left behind. These are in the GOOD circumstances. In the bad circumstances, the organism that went extinct causes a huge ripple effect throughout the ecosystem that kills of many more species that in turn cause a huge ripple effect.


A bird that dines only on mosquitos, if unable to learn to eat something else, would go with the extinction of mosquitos, but another bird that feeds on something else would fill the niche. Bad if you lose your favorite bird from a personal standpoint, meaningless from an ecosystem standpoint.

So let's take Bird A and Bug A. Bird A eats only bug A and when the bug A goes extinct then so does Bird A. However bugs generally play large roles in ecosystems other than being food for other organisms. Let's assume that bug A is required to colonize a specific plant and when but A goes extinct then so does that plant. With that plant extinct then whatever eats that plant goes extinct and whatever eats that which eats that plant goes extinct. Thus causing many more ripples throughout the local ecosystem which cause many other species to go extinct. This sort of scenario is far from uncommon.


I'm not sure exactly how to say it, but there seems to me to be something wrong with the idea that the Three Gorges Dam shouldn't have been built because a certain rare dolphin will go extinct. Doesn't our knowledge of the benefit to humans count? Doesn't our knowledge that the ecosystem will change, for the detriment of some species but for the benefit of others, but not be destroyed count for something?

No. If humans can't find a way to prosper without causing a species to go extinct then they aren't trying hard enough. China wouldn't need such a dam if it wasn't so overpopulated.

athon
8th April 2007, 09:36 PM
Even if you assume that anthropogenic extinction is "natural" then that's still not an argument to allow it. After all, a giant meteorite destroying earth would be 'natural' by the same definition. No one would argue against preventing that.

I never argued that we should not prevent it. Again, you're reading what you want to read, not what is actually there.

Sorry, No. You're making many baseless assumptions that simply don't stack up to the facts. Extinctions have happened before but how is that an argument in support of currently human caused extinctions?

It's not. Again, you're reading something that is not there.

You're arguing that somehow "life will adapt" because it has before. This is a baseless assumption. In the past extinction events, there was no constant pressure on life preventing it from evolving like there is now. Evolution takes millions of years to occur. At the rate humans are going, earth will be uninhabitable in that time scale.

WTF?? Are you serious? You have no basis for this, no evidence, and no logic. You're just making this up as you go along. Where is your evidence that anthropogenic extinctions will extinguish all life? The claim is ludicrous and requires a motherload of evidence. Nothing short of irradiating the planet down through several miles of crust will sterilise the planet completely.

We are indeed changing the planet in massive ways, but claims of this calibre are based on your emotional ranting rather than any reason or facts.

Earth will be another Venus.

Hahaha. You have no idea, do you? Point out the evidence to suggest Earth will probably enter into a runaway greenhouse event following current trends.

I don't see how this is an argument against preventing extinction. And even parasitic worms in a swamp might contain scientific clues that could greatly benefit humans.

I never said that. I said that again the reasoning given is weak. 'We should not make a species extinct because ecosystems will crumble' might work for some species, but not most. For most it's an emotional wish.

We can't even predict what would happen if we lost many mammalian species.

That's an argument from ignorance, Dustin. I can use that to argue anything.

Err, The Permian extinction happened 251 MILLION years ago. 99% of the life today didn't even exist then. :rolleyes:

I am dumbfounded that you've just said this. Well done, Dustin. I'm speechless at the stupidity of this statement.

Sure there is. Lots of doom and gloom.

Um, yes. Claims of planetary sterilisation is an extreme 'doom and gloom' claim, unsupported by evidence.

Athon

Dustin Kesselberg
8th April 2007, 10:12 PM
I never argued that we should not prevent it. Again, you're reading what you want to read, not what is actually there.

Sure sounded like it.



It's not. Again, you're reading something that is not there.

Sounded like it to me.


WTF?? Are you serious? You have no basis for this, no evidence, and no logic. You're just making this up as you go along. Where is your evidence that anthropogenic extinctions will extinguish all life? The claim is ludicrous and requires a motherload of evidence. Nothing short of irradiating the planet down through several miles of crust will sterilise the planet completely.

Or global warming...

Hey, How much life is on Venus? :boggled:

We are indeed changing the planet in massive ways, but claims of this calibre are based on your emotional ranting rather than any reason or facts.

Or cold hard facts...



Hahaha. You have no idea, do you? Point out the evidence to suggest Earth will probably enter into a runaway greenhouse event following current trends.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/aa/Global_Warming_Predictions.png

The predictions even at the lowest predict an increase of over 2 degrees celcius over the next 90 years. 5 degrees celcius in the CCSR/NIES model. That's over 40 degrees in about 90 years. If it continues at that increasing rate (which it looks like it will based on all of the models) then we will absolutely be in a Venus situation within less than a million years. Extrapolate this model and extend it at the current rate 500 years and you've got a 200 degree increase of overall temperature for the planet. 400 degrees in 1000 years. And so on. So basically I was being very very conservative in saying it could be a million years before it happens. Based on the best climate models, if extrapolated to a few thousand years, we'll be another Venus.

I never said that. I said that again the reasoning given is weak. 'We should not make a species extinct because ecosystems will crumble' might work for some species, but not most. For most it's an emotional wish.

Most species live in tight ecosystems and numerous studies have shown that when once species goes, many go with it. Here's a study concerning how extinction patterns affect ecosystems.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;306/5699/1141



That's an argument from ignorance, Dustin. I can use that to argue anything.

So?

I am dumbfounded that you've just said this. Well done, Dustin. I'm speechless at the stupidity of this statement.

The Permian-Triassic (P-Tr) extinction event, sometimes informally called the Great Dying, was an extinction event (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event) that occurred approximately 251 million years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_timescale) (mya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mya_%28unit%29)), forming the boundary between the Permian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian) and Triassic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triassic) geologic periods (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_period).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian-Triassic_extinction_event



Um, yes. Claims of planetary sterilisation is an extreme 'doom and gloom' claim, unsupported by evidence.

Here's an article (http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2000/03/03-09-2000.html) detailing a study showing that humans won't even be around long enough to see the biodiversity of earth recover if a good percent of the species go extinct.

athon
8th April 2007, 11:02 PM
Sure sounded like it.

So, you can't read. I couldn't care less what wishful thinking you put into it.

Hey, How much life is on Venus? :boggled:

How much life has ever been on Venus?

The predictions even at the lowest predict an increase of over 2 degrees celcius over the next 90 years. 5 degrees celcius in the CCSR/NIES model. That's over 40 degrees in about 90 years. If it continues at that increasing rate (which it looks like it will based on all of the models) then we will absolutely be in a Venus situation within less than a million years. Extrapolate this model and extend it at the current rate 500 years and you've got a 200 degree increase of overall temperature for the planet. 400 degrees in 1000 years. And so on. So basically I was being very very conservative in saying it could be a million years before it happens. Based on the best climate models, if extrapolated to a few thousand years, we'll be another Venus.

This is precisely why I became a science teacher. It's shocking that this form of stupidity even exists, let alone that people take it seriously.

Do you know if you put a warm chicken out on a bench on Friday afternoon with one Salmonella bacterium on it, by Monday morning the entire planet will be covered in bacteria! It's true - just do the math. If you look at the exponential curve of bacterial reproduction, you can make this same stupid statement.

If I need to explain to you the connection between my claim and yours, then I seriously think you're out of your depth.

Most species live in tight ecosystems and numerous studies have shown that when once species goes, many go with it. Here's a study concerning how extinction patterns affect ecosystems.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;306/5699/1141

Nice study. Shame it has nothing to do with what I said. You, sir, are the king of strawman arguments.

So?

Go look up 'argument from ignorance', then come back to the sandpit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian-Triassic_extinction_event

:rolleyes: I know what the Permian extinction is, Dustin. Seriously, it's like having a discussion with a three-year old. It was the '99% of all life alive now wasn't even around then' statement I was dumbfounded over. I still am.

Here's an article (http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2000/03/03-09-2000.html) detailing a study showing that humans won't even be around long enough to see the biodiversity of earth recover if a good percent of the species go extinct.

Again, so? This is a study stating that even a relatively small percentage of extinctions will lead to a relatively long period of relatively lower biodiversity. I never claimed otherwise. Ecosystems will indeed change if key species are removed. Some species play more integral roles than others; I never said they didn't.

The logic flounders when we care more about all of the pandas than we might about a single population of marine worm, when the latter holds more significance. The argument, therefore, is an emotional one based on a sense of aesthetics more than about decreased biodiversity.

Furthermore, so what if biodiversity drops? Life on Earth will continue ultimately (you still haven't demonstrated any evidence for your sterilisation statement) and I even argue that humans will continue to flourish, even if our lifestyle and various cultures have to adapt.

I'm not arguing for extinction. I'm against it. I just have the ability to see that my reasoning is an aesthetic and emotional one, rather than a rational one.

Athon

Dustin Kesselberg
9th April 2007, 12:00 AM
How much life has ever been on Venus?

I don't know if live has ever existed on Venus. But I do know that no life or at least 99.99% of life on earth would die within seconds if put on Venus.

This is precisely why I became a science teacher. It's shocking that this form of stupidity even exists, let alone that people take it seriously.

If you're a science teacher then I feel bad for your students...

Do you know if you put a warm chicken out on a bench on Friday afternoon with one Salmonella bacterium on it, by Monday morning the entire planet will be covered in bacteria! It's true - just do the math. If you look at the exponential curve of bacterial reproduction, you can make this same stupid statement.

Evidence?

If I need to explain to you the connection between my claim and yours, then I seriously think you're out of your depth.

Copout. Do you have any reason to believe that temperatures won't continue to increase at that same predicted rate? Any reason at all?



Nice study. Shame it has nothing to do with what I said. You, sir, are the king of strawman arguments.

The study shows how bad of an effect extinction has on ecosystems. Your earlier claims were that most extinctions would have little or no effect on them.

Go look up 'argument from ignorance', then come back to the sandpit.

I know what it means. So what if I'm arguing from ignorance? I'm arguing for "precaution" not for epistemological existence.

Imagine being on an alien planet. You and I are walking around on the planet. We don't know whether or not the planet has oxygen and can't determine if it does.
I say "We had better not take our helmets off, We do not know whether or not it has oxygen!"
You say "Argument from ignorance!"
You remove helmet.
You die.


I know what the Permian extinction is, Dustin. Seriously, it's like having a discussion with a three-year old. It was the '99% of all life alive now wasn't even around then' statement I was dumbfounded over. I still am.

Yes. Around 99% of the species that exist today did not exist then.

You said...

Hell, all the species around today are still here in spite of the Permian Extinction. That's the wonderful thing about life. It's so resilient.

This sentence makes no sense because MOST of the species alive today didn't even exist when the Permian extinction occurred. The species that did exist were the ancestral species of our modern species, sure, but your sentence implied that such a mass extinction occurred and still all of the species around today survived it. Showing not only ignorance of the history of extinctions but of evolution in itself.

Again, so? This is a study stating that even a relatively small percentage of extinctions will lead to a relatively long period of relatively lower biodiversity. I never claimed otherwise. Ecosystems will indeed change if key species are removed. Some species play more integral roles than others; I never said they didn't.

Your argument was that even if we killed off most mammal species then the effect would be negligible (point I refuted)

Then you argued that the "large shifts" in the ecosystem would "balance out" in due time. I pointed out that it would in the shortest time scales take tens of thousands of years thus making the point irrelevant for human concerns.

The logic flounders when we care more about all of the pandas than we might about a single population of marine worm, when the latter holds more significance. The argument, therefore, is an emotional one based on a sense of aesthetics more than about decreased biodiversity.

Who ever mentioned Panda's? I didn't. Looks like you're the one inventing straw men here not me.

Key creatures in an ecosystem are clearly more important from an ecological standpoint. However ecological arguments aren't the only arguments against extinction.

Furthermore, so what if biodiversity drops? Life on Earth will continue ultimately (you still haven't demonstrated any evidence for your sterilisation statement) and I even argue that humans will continue to flourish, even if our lifestyle and various cultures have to adapt.

It depends on what biodiversity drops.


I'm not arguing for extinction. I'm against it. I just have the ability to see that my reasoning is an aesthetic and emotional one, rather than a rational one.

Mine is both aesthetic, emotional as well as rational. You're simply not smart enough to see that there are many rational and pragmatic reasons to prevent extinction.

athon
9th April 2007, 12:21 AM
I don't know if live has ever existed on Venus. But I do know that no life or at least 99.99% of life on earth would die within seconds if put on Venus.

Hell, you got me there big guy. Wow, game, set and match! :rolleyes:

Is this like one of those candid camera things? Are you serious? What does this statement say about anything?

Evidence?

Salmonella bacteria reproduce through binary fission once every 20 minutes. The maths isn't difficult.

Copout. Do you have any reason to believe that temperatures won't continue to increase at that same predicted rate? Any reason at all?

Geeze. You have a point. Guess the Earth will be hotter than the sun in a few million years. Then what? Maybe hotter than the big bang after that! Where will it stop???

Demonstrate where temperatures will fall into equilibrium then, Dustin.

The study shows how bad of an effect extinction has on ecosystems. Your earlier claims were that most extinctions would have little or no effect on them.

I said most mammalian. Sure, wipe out a few dozen key bacteria or a few types of plant from any ecosystem and watch it crumble. Wipe out all humpbacks...then what? Can't use that same argument any more. Guess that means we can wipe out humpbacks and it won't matter.

I know what it means. So what if I'm arguing from ignorance?

Oh, I seriously have to add this to my sig! Classic!

Yes. Around 99% of the species that exist today did not exist then.

You said...

*sigh* Yes. Permian extinction -- big and bad. 99%. Gone. Global biodiversity today - all of it - is here in spite of that event. We arose from that 1%. So, even though most species were wiped out over relatively short period of time, all of life we have today persevered.

Your argument was that even if we killed off most mammal species then the effect would be negligible (point I refuted)

Then you argued that the "large shifts" in the ecosystem would "balance out" in due time. I pointed out that it would in the shortest time scales take tens of thousands of years thus making the point irrelevant for human concerns.

For modern human concerns, true. Humans might evolve into something else over 10 million years. So? The article said nothing about humans being wiped out by reduced biodiversity.

Who ever mentioned Panda's? I didn't. Looks like you're the one inventing straw men here not me.

Not at all. The 'humans will suffer if biodiversity reduction makes ecosystems collapse' argument might work for some species, but not all. Why not wipe out pandas? I'm saying the rationality doesn't hold in many situations. If all oceanic algae disappeared tomorrow, we'd suffer big time. No arguments there. But it doesn't translate to humpbacks.

Key creatures in an ecosystem are clearly more important from an ecological standpoint. However ecological arguments aren't the only arguments against extinction.

Wonderful. Got another argument then, that's rational?

Mine is both aesthetic, emotional as well as rational. You're simply not smart enough to see that there are many rational and pragmatic reasons to prevent extinction.

You're either being intentionally obtuse - again - or just feel like arguing for the sake of it. If the latter, you're wasting time and making yourself look rather immature.

I'm saying that in many cases the 'ecosystem collapse' argument doesn't hold true. WWF uses the panda as its symbol, for instance; why? It's an emotional tug. People don't want pandas to disappear. But humans wouldn't be affected in any appreciable way if they all disappeared tomorrow.

If E.coli went extinct tomorrow, we'd be in real trouble, sure.

Athon

Dustin Kesselberg
9th April 2007, 12:41 AM
Hell, you got me there big guy. Wow, game, set and match! :rolleyes:

Is this like one of those candid camera things? Are you serious? What does this statement say about anything?

It says that if earth were like Venus we'd all be dead.



Salmonella bacteria reproduce through binary fission once every 20 minutes. The maths isn't difficult.

Once every 20 minutes? Do the math then right here and come to the conclusion that the entire planet will be filled with the bacteria after a few days.



Geeze. You have a point. Guess the Earth will be hotter than the sun in a few million years. Then what? Maybe hotter than the big bang after that! Where will it stop???

Obviously there's a thermodynamic limit...

Demonstrate where temperatures will fall into equilibrium then, Dustin.

I'll let Hawking do the math... (http://www.livescience.com/environment/ap_060622_hawking_climate.html)

I said most mammalian. Sure, wipe out a few dozen key bacteria or a few types of plant from any ecosystem and watch it crumble. Wipe out all humpbacks...then what? Can't use that same argument any more. Guess that means we can wipe out humpbacks and it won't matter.


Humpbacks do play an important role in their ecosystems.
As I stated earlier, I provided various arguments against extinction and ecosystem sustainability is just one.


Oh, I seriously have to add this to my sig! Classic!

I like how you completely ignored my example of how arguments from ignorance aren't always invalid. Especially in cases like this that aren't arguing for some epistemological existence only for specific action. Allow me to explain again...

Imagine being on an alien planet. You and I are walking around on the planet. We don't know whether or not the planet has oxygen and can't determine if it does.
I say "We had better not take our helmets off, We do not know whether or not it has oxygen!"
You say "Argument from ignorance!"
You remove helmet.
You die.



*sigh* Yes. Permian extinction -- big and bad. 99%. Gone. Global biodiversity today - all of it - is here in spite of that event. We arose from that 1%. So, even though most species were wiped out over relatively short period of time, all of life we have today persevered.

Yes,It took tens of millions of years as well. How is this of any relevance to us humans in our current predicament? :confused:



For modern human concerns, true. Humans might evolve into something else over 10 million years. So? The article said nothing about humans being wiped out by reduced biodiversity.

Explain to me how humans could evolve in modern society. What natural selection pressures are there?



Not at all. The 'humans will suffer if biodiversity reduction makes ecosystems collapse' argument might work for some species, but not all. Why not wipe out pandas? I'm saying the rationality doesn't hold in many situations. If all oceanic algae disappeared tomorrow, we'd suffer big time. No arguments there. But it doesn't translate to humpbacks.

One argument won't work for all species.



Wonderful. Got another argument then, that's rational?

More reasons to care about extinction of species is simply the fact that we want future generations to be able to observe their beauty directly, and not just from a text book. How tragic would it be for your offspring to blame your generation for not being able to witness first hand, many species that are currently going extinct? I for one, would of loved to of seen the Dodo bird or the Thylacine, or even the recently extinct Chinese river dolphin.



You're either being intentionally obtuse - again - or just feel like arguing for the sake of it. If the latter, you're wasting time and making yourself look rather immature.

I'm simply pointing out how absurd your reasoning is. If one can even call what you're doing "reasoning". Which is a compliment.

I'm saying that in many cases the 'ecosystem collapse' argument doesn't hold true. WWF uses the panda as its symbol, for instance; why? It's an emotional tug. People don't want pandas to disappear. But humans wouldn't be affected in any appreciable way if they all disappeared tomorrow.

So?

If E.coli went extinct tomorrow, we'd be in real trouble, sure.

Possibly.

andyandy
9th April 2007, 01:19 AM
how absolute is your opinion is that "extinction is bad?"

let's take mosquitoes,


1) I develop a way of creating a population crash amongst mosquitoes worldwide - and as a result mosquitoes become extinct within 10 years Would you weight the ecological loss of mosquitoes more highly than the 3-5 million deaths caused annually through mosquito bourne infections?






2) I attempt to bring down the mosquito population to a minimal level to preserve ecological diversity, and thus prevent the massive annual loss of human life as a result of mosquito bourne infection, however there is a chance that in doing so i will inadvertantly cause their extinction. At what percentage risk of extinction would you be happy to carry out such a scheme?

less than 1%?
less than 5%
less than 20%
less than 50%
Even if the risk is very high it's worth trying
Even if the risk is zero it's not worth trying




3) Should any non-anthropocentric considerations affect our decision as to whether we bring about a species crash or species extinction of mosquitoes given their devastating impact upon human health? How much weight should these be given?

athon
9th April 2007, 01:23 AM
It says that if earth were like Venus we'd all be dead.

If Earth was to become Venus, sure. Demonstrate where this is likely in the imminent future.

Once every 20 minutes? Do the math then right here and come to the conclusion that the entire planet will be filled with the bacteria after a few days.

I'll give you a head start then. 1 bacteria becomes 2 in 20 minutes... 20 minutes after that, 2 becomes 4.... there are then 8 bacteria 60 minutes later, and 16 in an hour twenty... keep going for two days and see how many you have.

If you seriously can't do year 7 mathematics, then... well, actually it would explain a lot.

Obviously there's a thermodynamic limit...

Obviously. Which is?

I'll let Hawking do the math... (http://www.livescience.com/environment/ap_060622_hawking_climate.html)

Which is where? This is an article where he makes the statement...and then how the Chinese love him. Without anything backing it up it's purely an argument from authority. Try again.


Humpbacks do play an important role in their ecosystems.
As I stated earlier, I provided various arguments against extinction and ecosystem sustainability is just one.

So you said. Please, go on. What are they?

I like how you completely ignored my example of how arguments from ignorance aren't always invalid. Especially in cases like this that aren't arguing for some epistemological existence only for specific action. Allow me to explain again...

I ignored it because your example isn't an argument from ignorance. Argument from ignorance is when a premise is argued to be true only because it hasn't been argued to be false. I wouldn't take my helmet off on a planet because it hasn't been shown there is no oxygen; I wouldn't do it because there is substantial evidence that other planets don't have earth's oxygen supply.

Explain to me how humans could evolve in modern society. What natural selection pressures are there?

Start another thread on it to not derail this one. The strange thing is that I'm not in the least bit surprised you've said this. I must be habituating to your ignorance.

One argument won't work for all species.

Great. Let's go for a rational argument as to why we should give a toss if pandas all die then. Or humpbacks. Or tigers. Or giant tortoises.

Athon

Beady
9th April 2007, 01:41 AM
Science is based on speculation.

Don't you know any better than that?

Science is based on careful observation and record keeping. Pseudoscience is based on speculation and wishful thinking.

andyandy
9th April 2007, 01:47 AM
Once every 20 minutes? Do the math then right here and come to the conclusion that the entire planet will be filled with the bacteria after a few days.


.
Do the math? Right here?

Ok. :D

It's very simple....

if we take n=1,2,3 to be 20 minute time intervals with n1= 20 minutes, then we can model the expansion at n by 2n

after one day (n=72) then there will be 4.7x1021 bacteria
after two days (n=144) there will be 2.23x1043 bacteria
after 1 week (n=504) there will be 5.24x10 151 ....a number so staggeringly huge it's about 70 zeroes bigger than the estimates for the numbers of hydrogen atoms in the entire visible universe....

so yes, you wouldn't have to wait long at all for the planet to be filled with bacteria.....

makes you glad for limiting factors :)

Jekyll
9th April 2007, 03:17 AM
Because it can be prevented. For one.

As could the extinction of other animals if we intervened.


Here's a nice easy article on why we shouldn't end up like Venus.
http://www.earthsky.org/radioshows/48867/will-earth-ever-sizzle-like-venus

Beady
9th April 2007, 06:12 AM
how absolute is your opinion is that "extinction is bad?"

let's take mosquitoes,

Nah. Let's take dinosaurs. What would humans and other modern species be like if the dinosaurs hadn't gone extinct?

Come to think of it, what was the effect on the biosphere when Proconsul died out? How much poorer are we, without the passenger pigeon and the dodo?

Isn't extinction part of how Natural Selection works? If we could eliminate the process of extinction, what then?

What evidence is there that humans will not prove to be an evolutionary dead end, worthy of extinction? If it happened to Neanderthal, why not us? Would Nature even notice?

geni
9th April 2007, 07:09 AM
Explain how.

GM yeast vats are probably the most basic.


Explain how.


See above


So therefore no other life forms can provide cures for disease?


There probably are but the odds of finding them are minimal. The odds of finding stuff through working out what kind of chemical will have the effect you want look rather better.



We can't synthesize something when we don't even know what it is. We also can't predict how various molecules will react with other molecules with certainly when we don't even know what those molecules are. You're putting too much emphasis on chemists being able to predict how some hypothetical molecule will react with another molecule when they don't even have a basis for the said molecule. The chemistry of disease is far too complicated then simply finding a chemical, inventing some hypothetical chemical to counteract it and then predicting how it will interact with the other chemical.

The Drug companies would beg to differ.


If it were that easy we'd have cancer cured by now.


In some cases we pretty much have. Cancer is hard though since it is so darn simular to cells operateing normaly.


I haven't mentioned your atrocious grammar and spelling up until now but this sentence makes absolutely no sense. "most people won't see much stuff outside of what lives where they do"? What's that supposed to mean? I'm assuming English isn't your first language. At least I hope it isn't.


Most people live in place X. Most people will never see an species that live outside place X. Please consider the world outside the US and europe.


If you're saying that textbooks are better than first hand experience then you're simply full of it. I and anyone else interested in animals would much rather observe them first hand and up close then simply looking at pictures of them in a text book. This is why people go bird watching, wildlife watching, go to zoo's, etc. If you prefer textbooks over real life experiences then that's your preference, but don't try to argue it as a case in support of extinction!


Ever hear of a country called Mauritania? It's just below western sahara. The odds of your average Mauritanian kid seeing an animal that does not live localy even in a text book are mininimal.



Many animals are critically endangered.


Most of the animalia kingdom is not. Frankly I would be far more worried about plants, fungi, and protists than the animalia kingdom.



You really can't predict that. It could be that their DNA holds the secret to cure aids or cancer or some other deadly disease. It's impossible to know for sure.

It is also imposible to know that their DNA does not contian a dormant virus that will kill us all however that is equaly unlikely.


Moreover, Even if they had no effect on human survival. So what? That's not an excuse not to preserve them.


You haven't produce a reason to preserve them either. Which is rather strange since there is one. They are funny. Thus for the time being humans will put effort into makeing sure at least 2 of the remaining species survive. Obviously we may one day have different priorities.

The Painter
9th April 2007, 07:49 AM
Originally Posted by The Painter
Without extinction or mass extinction events of the past, Man would not have evolved.

So?


Just curious, do you think Man is the end of the evolutionary chain? Is it possible that Man is just a stepping stone in evolution and when we are gone a higher life form may evolve?

Just as an aside;
What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

Dustin Kesselberg
9th April 2007, 07:15 PM
1) I develop a way of creating a population crash amongst mosquitoes worldwide - and as a result mosquitoes become extinct within 10 years Would you weight the ecological loss of mosquitoes more highly than the 3-5 million deaths caused annually through mosquito bourne infections?



I believe they could still be kept under controlled circumstances.




2) I attempt to bring down the mosquito population to a minimal level to preserve ecological diversity, and thus prevent the massive annual loss of human life as a result of mosquito bourne infection, however there is a chance that in doing so i will inadvertantly cause their extinction. At what percentage risk of extinction would you be happy to carry out such a scheme?

less than 1%?
less than 5%
less than 20%
less than 50%
Even if the risk is very high it's worth trying
Even if the risk is zero it's not worth trying


When we're talking about Mosquito's we're not talking about a single species but literally hundreds of species and over 41 Genra's. Mosquito's are not a species but an entire "family" of species belonging to the family Culicidae.

At what % chance of extinction would I consider decreasing the population of the family Culicidae? I wouldn't risk it above 20%. That's just me.




3) Should any non-anthropocentric considerations affect our decision as to whether we bring about a species crash or species extinction of mosquitoes given their devastating impact upon human health? How much weight should these be given?

A lot of weight.

Dustin Kesselberg
9th April 2007, 07:45 PM
If Earth was to become Venus, sure. Demonstrate where this is likely in the imminent future.

If we continue current trends it will be in a few thousand years.


I'll give you a head start then. 1 bacteria becomes 2 in 20 minutes... 20 minutes after that, 2 becomes 4.... there are then 8 bacteria 60 minutes later, and 16 in an hour twenty... keep going for two days and see how many you have.

If you seriously can't do year 7 mathematics, then... well, actually it would explain a lot.

You're the one who made the assertion. If you can't support your claim with the math then I'm just going to ignore it.

Let me get YOU started...

48 hours in a day.

8 bacteria in 1 hour.
16 bacteria in 1:20.
32 bacteria in 1:40
64 bacteria in 2:00
128 in 2:20
256 in 2:40
512 in 3:00
1024 in 3:20
2048 in 3:40
4096 in 4:00
262144 in 6 hours.
16777216 in 8 hours.
8589934592 in 10 hours.
9223372036854775808 in 20 hours.
590295810358705651712 in 24 hours.
19,342,813,113,834,066,795,298,816 in 30 hours

3.48449144 × 10^41 in 2 days.

Which species of salmonella are we referring to?
What is the lifespan of individuals of this species?
What is the approximate size of 1 individual of this species?
What is the approximate size of 3.48449144 × 10^41 individuals of this species?
How does that compare to the mass or size of the earth?




Obviously. Which is?

I don't know. Do you?


Which is where? This is an article where he makes the statement...and then how the Chinese love him. Without anything backing it up it's purely an argument from authority. Try again.

Go ask Hawking to do the math. I already said I couldn't.

So you said. Please, go on. What are they?

More reasons to care about extinction of species is simply the fact that we want future generations to be able to observe their beauty directly, and not just from a text book. How tragic would it be for your offspring to blame your generation for not being able to witness first hand, many species that are currently going extinct? I for one, would of loved to of seen the Dodo bird or the Thylacine, or even the recently extinct Chinese river dolphin.



I ignored it because your example isn't an argument from ignorance. Argument from ignorance is when a premise is argued to be true only because it hasn't been argued to be false.

Which was never my argument. My argument was and I'm quoting myself here...

We can't even predict what would happen if we lost many mammalian species.

This wasn't an argument that loss of a lot of mammalian species would cause ecosystemal collapse. The argument was that we should not RISK IT because we don't know what could happen.

I wouldn't take my helmet off on a planet because it hasn't been shown there is no oxygen; I wouldn't do it because there is substantial evidence that other planets don't have earth's oxygen supply.

Considering it's an alien planet of which we know nothing about, what "substantial evidence" is there that it doesn't have oxygen? You're making an assumption based on the planet that we do know about and then using the to apply to all planets in the universe now?


Start another thread on it to not derail this one. The strange thing is that I'm not in the least bit surprised you've said this. I must be habituating to your ignorance.

It's unlikely that humans would evolve in modern society when most natural selection pressures are removed. People who would normally die without civilization live and multiply.

Great. Let's go for a rational argument as to why we should give a toss if pandas all die then. Or humpbacks. Or tigers. Or giant tortoises.

Read my first post in this thread. I've quoted my post for you already and you skimmed right over that as well.

Here it is again...More reasons to care about extinction of species is simply the fact that we want future generations to be able to observe their beauty directly, and not just from a text book. How tragic would it be for your offspring to blame your generation for not being able to witness first hand, many species that are currently going extinct? I for one, would of loved to of seen the Dodo bird or the Thylacine, or even the recently extinct Chinese river dolphin.

Dustin Kesselberg
9th April 2007, 07:51 PM
Don't you know any better than that?

Science is based on careful observation and record keeping. Pseudoscience is based on speculation and wishful thinking.

Observation is only one aspect of science. The scientific method requires scientists form "hypothesis" on the observations. A hypothesis is a speculation based on the facts and observations about how or why a specific phenomenon occurs.

If scientists did not speculate then Einstein would of never came up with his theories of relativity. His "Gedankenexperiment"s were speculations about chasing a light beam. If scientists didn't speculate then Newton would of never determined the facts of gravity, since he used speculation about how a cannon ball would travel around the planet.

Dustin Kesselberg
9th April 2007, 07:55 PM
Do the math? Right here?

Ok. :D

It's very simple....

if we take n=1,2,3 to be 20 minute time intervals with n1= 20 minutes, then we can model the expansion at n by 2n

after one day (n=72) then there will be 4.7x1021 bacteria
after two days (n=144) there will be 2.23x1043 bacteria
after 1 week (n=504) there will be 5.24x10 151 ....a number so staggeringly huge it's about 70 zeroes bigger than the estimates for the numbers of hydrogen atoms in the entire visible universe....

so yes, you wouldn't have to wait long at all for the planet to be filled with bacteria.....

makes you glad for limiting factors :)


It was only supposed to go on for 2 days.

Dustin Kesselberg
9th April 2007, 07:58 PM
As could the extinction of other animals if we intervened.

I know.


Here's a nice easy article on why we shouldn't end up like Venus.
http://www.earthsky.org/radioshows/48867/will-earth-ever-sizzle-like-venus

The whole "like Venus" thing isn't supposed to be taken literally anyway. It just gives an example of what a runaway greenhouse effect would be like. It's true that the earth has mitigating facts that would prevent it from being identical to Venus but the fact is, if global warming continues for hundreds of years at the rate it's predicted to occur over the next 100 years, we're in the frying pan.

Dustin Kesselberg
9th April 2007, 08:00 PM
Nah. Let's take dinosaurs. What would humans and other modern species be like if the dinosaurs hadn't gone extinct?

Probably would not exist.

Come to think of it, what was the effect on the biosphere when Proconsul died out? How much poorer are we, without the passenger pigeon and the dodo?

We really don't even know how much poorer we are.

Isn't extinction part of how Natural Selection works? If we could eliminate the process of extinction, what then?

Your comparison between "natural selection" and systematic killing off of species by humans simply doesn't work. Humans are killing them off at a rate too fast for natural selection to make any difference.

What evidence is there that humans will not prove to be an evolutionary dead end, worthy of extinction? If it happened to Neanderthal, why not us? Would Nature even notice?

Maybe we are. Maybe we aren't. It's in our best interest to make sure we aren't.

Dustin Kesselberg
9th April 2007, 08:18 PM
GM yeast vats are probably the most basic.



See above

How are "yeast vats" an example of 'ecosystems optimized towards supporting humans'?



There probably are but the odds of finding them are minimal. The odds of finding stuff through working out what kind of chemical will have the effect you want look rather better.

What are you basing this on?




The Drug companies would beg to differ.

The Drug companies use plants and trees to find cancer cures often.


In some cases we pretty much have. Cancer is hard though since it is so darn simular to cells operateing normaly.


Many cancer drugs were discovered by using plants or trees and are still used to treat cancers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paclitaxel#History
This agent proved difficult to synthesize and could only be obtained from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus_brevifolia), which forced the NCI into the costly business of harvesting substantial quantities of yew trees from public lands.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camptothecin
Camptotheca acuminata (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camptotheca_acuminata), a deciduous (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deciduous) tree found in southern China (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China). Stem woods of Nothopodytes foetida (previously known as Mappia foetida) found in the western ghats (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghats) of India are an even better source of camptothecin.


Most people live in place X. Most people will never see an species that live outside place X. Please consider the world outside the US and europe.

Ever heard of a thing called "Zoo's"? or Wildlife sanctuaries?

Oh wait, Even better..There's this new thing called "Traveling". Great way to get outside of "place X".

:rolleyes:


Ever hear of a country called Mauritania? It's just below western sahara. The odds of your average Mauritanian kid seeing an animal that does not live localy even in a text book are mininimal.

So the fact that a "mauritanian" child won't see non-local wildlife is a reason not to fight for the preservation of wildlife for people who could see it? Who's to say this child won't grow up and decide to travel to these places to see the wildlife?


Most of the animalia kingdom is not. Frankly I would be far more worried about plants, fungi, and protists than the animalia kingdom.

I'm just as worried for any endangered species. Sure some plants or fungi play important roles in the ecosystem, but then again, Tigers and Lions are simply more fun to look at.


It is also imposible to know that their DNA does not contian a dormant virus that will kill us all however that is equaly unlikely.

********. How many times has some dormant virus found in some plant species killed off many people? I can't think of one instance.

How many times has plants or trees provided us with insight on how to cure a disease? I can list dozens.


You haven't produce a reason to preserve them either.

Sure I have.

What many don't seem to be understanding is that all life on earth is part of the global ecosystem. This means that every single species has evolved to be part of a fragile chain of other species. If one species goes extinct it can cause many other species to go extinct which in turn can cause many other species to go extinct. Humans, being part of that chain, have an invested interest in the well being of all species, even the ones that don't seem to make much of a difference. Scientists can't predict how the extinction of a single species will affect the entire ecosystem let alone the extinction of hundreds or thousands of species. This has effects for all humans in every way imaginable. If humans care about the existence of their species then they should care about the extinction of any species.

More reasons to care about extinction of species is simply the fact that we want future generations to be able to observe their beauty directly, and not just from a text book. How tragic would it be for your offspring to blame your generation for not being able to witness first hand, many species that are currently going extinct? I for one, would of loved to of seen the Dodo bird or the Thylacine, or even the recently extinct Chinese river dolphin.

athon
9th April 2007, 08:18 PM
If we continue current trends it will be in a few thousand years.

This is a claim. It requires evidence of some sort that is not merely a one-liner from a prominent scientist. Jekyll offered a refutation above; address it.

You're the one who made the assertion. If you can't support your claim with the math then I'm just going to ignore it.

Dustin, this is basic mathematics. Andy was actually rather kind and did it for you, and came up with 2.23 x 10^43 bacteria.

Which species of salmonella are we referring to?
What is the lifespan of individuals of this species?
What is the approximate size of 1 individual of this species?
What is the approximate size of 3.48449144 × 10^41 individuals of this species?
How does that compare to the mass or size of the earth?

Huh? I don't think you're even caring to think. This is not a debate for you but rather some word game, and it shows. It is 223 with 41 zeroes after it. Multiply that out, given that one salmonella is about a square micrometre (or thereabouts) and we're looking at 223 x 10^36 square km. The earth's area is 510 million square km. My maths is rough, granted, but even allowing for several order of magnitude, you get my drift.

But the point is lost on you anway, as it demonstrates that following a curve tells you nothing of eventual outcomes unless you know the limitations.

I don't know. Do you?

You made the claim, buddy. Now you're admitting you made it up out of thin air. Thanks for your honesty.

Go ask Hawking to do the math. I already said I couldn't.

Again, you made the claim. I didn't. Again, thank you for honestly admitting you don't have a clue about your own claim and just fabricated it.

More reasons to care about extinction of species is simply the fact that we want future generations to be able to observe their beauty directly, and not just from a text book.

Touching. And I agree. But this is aesthetics and not rationality. I happen to like aesthetics and will fight to support it, but I don't for a moment pretend I'm using objective reason. I would have loved to have seen a real mammoth, and dinosaurs, and the first life forms... But I can't. Shame that. But again, it's subjective desire and not reason.

Which was never my argument. My argument was and I'm quoting myself here...

This wasn't an argument that loss of a lot of mammalian species would cause ecosystemal collapse. The argument was that we should not RISK IT because we don't know what could happen.

Based on historical occurances, not a lot would happen. Of course, we aren't 100% certain. Science isn't ever 100% certain. But again this is argument from ignorance, which again you demonstrate you don't understand.

Considering it's an alien planet of which we know nothing about, what "substantial evidence" is there that it doesn't have oxygen? You're making an assumption based on the planet that we do know about and then using the to apply to all planets in the universe now?

Yes. It's called inductive reasoning.

It's unlikely that humans would evolve in modern society when most natural selection pressures are removed. People who would normally die without civilization live and multiply.

As I said, start a new thread about this so not to derail this one. You obviously don't understand evolution.

Athon

Dustin Kesselberg
9th April 2007, 08:21 PM
Just curious, do you think Man is the end of the evolutionary chain? Is it possible that Man is just a stepping stone in evolution and when we are gone a higher life form may evolve?

I don't believe there are such things as "ends of evolutionary chains" in that sense. If humans are the "end of our evolutionary chain" then the next step is extinction. We're a dead end. However given changes in environment and enough time, any species can continue to change to fit it's environment.

As far as "higher life forms". I don't believe in those either. I don't believe humans are "higher life forms" in any sense of the word. Yes, they are the most 'intelligent' life forms on this planet but that's all. They aren't physically stronger, they don't have some of the other amazing attributes that other species have. Humans evolved to fit their environment and that's it. There was no "goal" when they were evolving.

Just as an aside;
What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

If that's happening the likely the plant is it's main food source and the reason the animal is endangered to begin with is because the plant is endangered. I see a problem, likely caused by humans that needs to be fixed.

Dustin Kesselberg
9th April 2007, 08:32 PM
This is a claim. It requires evidence of some sort that is not merely a one-liner from a prominent scientist. Jekyll offered a refutation above; address it.

I've already provided evidence.



Dustin, this is basic mathematics. Andy was actually rather kind and did it for you, and came up with 2.23 x 10^43 bacteria.

Ok now answer my other questions.

Which species of salmonella are we referring to?
What is the lifespan of individuals of this species?
What is the approximate size of 1 individual of this species?
What is the approximate size of 3.48449144 × 10^41 individuals of this species?
How does that compare to the mass or size of the earth?



Huh? I don't think you're even caring to think. This is not a debate for you but rather some word game, and it shows. It is 223 with 41 zeroes after it. Multiply that out, given that one salmonella is about a square micrometre (or thereabouts) and we're looking at 223 x 10^36 square km. The earth's area is 510 million square km. My maths is rough, granted, but even allowing for several order of magnitude, you get my drift.

We're not talking about "area". We're talking about the actual size of the earth. The earth isn't hollow.


But the point is lost on you anway, as it demonstrates that following a curve tells you nothing of eventual outcomes unless you know the limitations.

Give me reasons the current trends won't continue for a few hundred more years.


You made the claim, buddy. Now you're admitting you made it up out of thin air. Thanks for your honesty.

I did make the claim. Which only supported your assertions.

Let's assume no thermodynamic limit.

Ok, The earth can get as hot as the sun. :rolleyes:

Makes no difference for my argument.


Again, you made the claim. I didn't. Again, thank you for honestly admitting you don't have a clue about your own claim and just fabricated it.

Hawking made the claim as well. Go ask him for the math. I just said I couldn't do it.


Touching. And I agree. But this is aesthetics and not rationality. I happen to like aesthetics and will fight to support it, but I don't for a moment pretend I'm using objective reason. I would have loved to have seen a real mammoth, and dinosaurs, and the first life forms... But I can't. Shame that. But again, it's subjective desire and not reason.

How aren't aesthetical reasons rational reasons?


Based on historical occurances, not a lot would happen.

What historical occurrences?

Of course, we aren't 100% certain. Science isn't ever 100% certain. But again this is argument from ignorance, which again you demonstrate you don't understand.

There's nothing wrong with preferring to be safe rather than sorry. Yes, We do not know what would happen if many mammal species died out. However, preferring to be safe rather than sorry we must protect them.


Yes. It's called inductive reasoning.

Inductive reasoning can be flawed simply because you can't extrapolate such things with such limited information. Saying "Oh, We know that a few planets closest to us don't have oxygen, therefore this totally alien planet light years away from earth doesn't either!" That's called a "fallacy".

As I said, start a new thread about this so not to derail this one. You obviously don't understand evolution.

That's a nice copout. This is my thread and if I want to de-rail it I can.

JoeTheJuggler
9th April 2007, 08:38 PM
I've always thought that we should recognize our ignorance in some of these decisions. When we do a cost/benefit analysis of something intrusive (usually habitat destruction), the burden of proof should be on the side that is proposing the change. (In other words, rather than trying to proof how important a loss might be when we probably don't know, the people wanting to make the disruption should have to prove that it won't hurt us.)


True, however to what extent should this be satisfied? There is always room for doubt, and even the best models will have flaws. If a study is done and is satisfied that there is no immediate impact, it says nothing about the risk of losing something that has a minor negative impact later down the track.


To any extent. Right now they do the opposite--developers are allowed to do anything they want (in the name of the free market) until or unless someone can bring a lawsuit proving that they're going to cause some specific and irreversible damage (as loss of a cuddly mammal species or pretty bird).

When I lived in Ecuador, my then wife who is a botanist would sometimes have jobs (via the national herbarium) where they'd have to try to catalog and rescue any plants they could in an area about to be destroyed by an oil pipeline (or actually more so by the concomitant road construction). Ecuador has more native plant species than all of North America, and about 1/4 of them are endemic. When they essentially destroy one of these little Andean valleys (especially in the intermediate altitudes), they usually lose endemic species. (Many of these endemics occur only in one valley.) It's pretty hopeless to rescue the plants; you can never reproduce the soil chemistry etc. in a hot house, especially given the time constraints.

To the main argument going on: yes life on Earth will undoubtedly go on no matter what humans do to it. The problem is, if the global ecosystem is significantly changed, it won't be human life that goes on.

Even short of that, on one level we're losing the chance to learn a lot. (As above, there's a lot we'll never learn about the plants that have been needlessly or shortsightedly wiped out by humans.) Even short of extinction, how sad it is that pretty soon we may not be able to study our nearest relatives, the chimps and bonobos, in their native habitat.

EternalSceptic
9th April 2007, 09:46 PM
Nah. Let's take dinosaurs. What would humans and other modern species be like if the dinosaurs hadn't gone extinct?

Come to think of it, what was the effect on the biosphere when Proconsul died out? How much poorer are we, without the passenger pigeon and the dodo?

Isn't extinction part of how Natural Selection works? If we could eliminate the process of extinction, what then?

What evidence is there that humans will not prove to be an evolutionary dead end, worthy of extinction? If it happened to Neanderthal, why not us? Would Nature even notice?

Ecology is a very complex regulation system and it has been working smoothly over millions and millions of years. And yes, extinction was and is part of this regulating processes.

But such systems are not infinitely tolerant to manipulations from outside and might run out of control at a certain point. Humans developing intelligence, tools and weapons, making them immune to natural enemies has already caused sort of a runaway condition (earth is highly overpopulated)

I am not saying that "turning the knobs" is a Bad Thing per se, but before we do it we should be damn sure we know what we are doing.

That said, preserving existing species at least as samples for aesthetic and scientific reasons is IMO desirable and our technology gives us more and more tools to do so.

Finally, yes, we may be a dead end in evolution. Time will show.

athon
9th April 2007, 10:37 PM
To any extent. Right now they do the opposite--developers are allowed to do anything they want (in the name of the free market) until or unless someone can bring a lawsuit proving that they're going to cause some specific and irreversible damage (as loss of a cuddly mammal species or pretty bird).

I agree that some form of solid conservation needs to be equated to economical significance. It's a conflict of values; most governments see supreme value in a growing economy. Many citizens are happy to sacrifice some of the economical growth of environmental sustainability.

To the main argument going on: yes life on Earth will undoubtedly go on no matter what humans do to it. The problem is, if the global ecosystem is significantly changed, it won't be human life that goes on.

I disagree. We have an amazing ability to survive in a range of environments thanks to our ability to model and change our immediate surroundings. Just look at the range of habitats we occupy thanks to this. Cultures will suffer, behaviours will change, and many people will suffer as a consequence, but humanity will continue in some form.

Even short of extinction, how sad it is that pretty soon we may not be able to study our nearest relatives, the chimps and bonobos, in their native habitat.

I fully agree. Please, I say again; I'm not arguing that extinction is good. I am saying that for the most part it is a moral and aesthetic desire we have based on our view that we like complexity, diversity, and to observe directly our environment. For some things we might argue that life will be harder if organisms die or that ecosystems change, but for the most part it is emotional desire that drives us to preserve.

Athon

athon
9th April 2007, 11:41 PM
I've already provided evidence.

Wrong. You gave a Stephen Hawking quote which has no supporting evidence. That is argument from authority. Try again.

Ok now answer my other questions.

Which species of salmonella are we referring to?
What is the lifespan of individuals of this species?
What is the approximate size of 1 individual of this species?
What is the approximate size of 3.48449144 × 10^41 individuals of this species?
How does that compare to the mass or size of the earth?

I answered those. The species is irrelevant. The lifespan is irrelevant to my point (that without such parameters, a graph can be misextrapolated). The size I approximated. The area of the earth I gave. You didn't read it.

We're not talking about "area". We're talking about the actual size of the earth. The earth isn't hollow.

WTF??? What does that have to do with bacteria covering the earth?

Look, the analogy is beyond you. I'm sorry I used it. Hopefully it made sense to somebody who has the capacity to comprehend it, because it missed its mark with you.

Give me reasons the current trends won't continue for a few hundred more years.

Look, this is really simple; you made the claim that it will reach Venus-like temperatures, hence you provide the evidence of this.

I did make the claim. Which only supported your assertions.

Let's assume no thermodynamic limit.

Ok, The earth can get as hot as the sun. :rolleyes:

Makes no difference for my argument.

You are not playing with a full deck of cards, are you?

Hawking made the claim as well. Go ask him for the math. I just said I couldn't do it.

Again, you have no evidence and admit to just swallowing a claim without understanding what it is you're believing. This is all making sense now; you haven't a critical bone in your body. Woo to the core.

How aren't aesthetical reasons rational reasons?

Because they are subjective. What I find beautiful another will not. We cannot rationalise an objective situation with subjective qualifications. My opinion of aesthetics could be different to yours, and neither of us has any grounds for being more right. That is why we endeavour to use reason where we can, as objective reality provides a strong foundation to which we can all relate.

What historical occurrences?

The dodo died out, and we didn't see any great crash in ecosystem. A change perhaps, but Mauritius retained its ecosystem intact. Want another?

There's nothing wrong with preferring to be safe rather than sorry. Yes, We do not know what would happen if many mammal species died out. However, preferring to be safe rather than sorry we must protect them.

Go and find out what an argument from ignorance is and then come back. You still don't know why this logic is flawed. Your statement is technically not wrong, but the logic you are using to support your claim is.

Inductive reasoning can be flawed simply because you can't extrapolate such things with such limited information. Saying "Oh, We know that a few planets closest to us don't have oxygen, therefore this totally alien planet light years away from earth doesn't either!" That's called a "fallacy".

A fallacy is it? Haha. Just what sort of fallacy is it? Man, seriously, it's like you've learned a couple of cool sounding words and then try to play science as if you know how.

Inductive reasoning extrapolates from an observation what the general might be in the face of the unknown. Based on the observation that no two planets have exactly the same elemental compositions, gravity, orbits etc., we can induce that an unknown planet will also not have the same elemental composition, or gas ratio. The likelihood of there being a planet with the exact same oxygen ration as Earth is miniscule when all variations are accounted for. I am not arguing from ignorance, but rather inductive reasoning (I won't even go into how to use deductive logic in this situation!).

Compare this with the fact that from the evidence we have, there is no indication than an oceanic ecosystem will dissolve if humpbacks disappeared completely. Arguing that any small amount of uncertainty has equal weight to the evidence is a fallacy, and one based on ignorance.

That's a nice copout. This is my thread and if I want to de-rail it I can.

Copout? I said open a new thread and we'll discuss it. It is poor form to derail a thread - even one's own - with a divergent topic.

Athon

Ginarley
10th April 2007, 12:32 AM
I have only skimmed through this thread so far, but the topic is one that I have put a bit of thought into. The biodiversity issue is a fascinating one but I can't help but feel that it is based on "iconic species". I seriously get the feeling that the conservation movement is very much about conserving the world as it is right now or possibly how it was some time in the past. I am pretty strongly against this idea.

In most cases the reason a species is going extinct is because its habitat has changed, either naturally or thanks to humans changing/destroying it. The reason it is going extinct is because the animal is not well suited to its changing environment - whether that be human hunters, human foresters or a another source. This point is important because the extinction is natures way of readjusting to new circumstances.

Conservation in these circumstances doesn't make sense. Sure keeping species alive as curiosities never hurts, but they form no part of the ecosystem in zoos. The ecosystem is essentially rejecting them which is why they are going extinct. Artificially preserving them does not help things at all.

The preservation of habitats and maintaining an environment that is vibrant and growing is a good goal because that indicates a healthy ecosystem - it really doesn't matter in the slightest what species actually populate it and nature will itself figure out which species work best in it over time.

I also think (although I have little to back me up on this so i'm open to suggestions) that while macro-organisms are important, micro-organisms dominate the health of ecosystems to a far greater degree.

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 01:58 AM
Wrong. You gave a Stephen Hawking quote which has no supporting evidence. That is argument from authority. Try again.

No, I showed the current trends and extended them over a a few times more. There's no valid reason for them not to be extended that far.



I answered those.

No you didn't.

The species is irrelevant.

No it's not. Different species behave differently and have different lifespans.

The lifespan is irrelevant to my point (that without such parameters, a graph can be misextrapolated).

The lifespan is relevant because you're assuming they all live long enough to be able to populate the world.



WTF??? What does that have to do with bacteria covering the earth?

Look, the analogy is beyond you. I'm sorry I used it. Hopefully it made sense to somebody who has the capacity to comprehend it, because it missed its mark with you.

Moving the goalpost again...:rolleyes:


Look, this is really simple; you made the claim that it will reach Venus-like temperatures, hence you provide the evidence of this.

I've shown you the trends. Unless you can give me a valid reason they can't be extended then I rest my case.


You are not playing with a full deck of cards, are you?

Yet another copout insult.



Again, you have no evidence and admit to just swallowing a claim without understanding what it is you're believing. This is all making sense now; you haven't a critical bone in your body. Woo to the core.

The only "woo" here is you. Your tactics remind me of creationists. Arguing that there's no rational reason to prevent extinction? Oh yes, How critical...:rolleyes:


Because they are subjective.

So? Subjective things can't be rationalized? This doesn't make one bit of sense.

What definition of "Subjective" are you using? Provide a link. I can't find a single definition of the word that fits the way you're using it.

What I find beautiful another will not.

So?

We cannot rationalise an objective situation with subjective qualifications.

Why?


My opinion of aesthetics could be different to yours, and neither of us has any grounds for being more right.

This is irrelevant. The argument is whether or not you have the right to take away what I find beautiful. I.E. wildlife. and whether or not my and many others admiration of it can be a reason to keep it. Which it can.

That is why we endeavour to use reason where we can, as objective reality provides a strong foundation to which we can all relate.

Point being?


The dodo died out, and we didn't see any great crash in ecosystem. A change perhaps, but Mauritius retained its ecosystem intact. Want another?

That's because it's a single species. We still don't know exactly how the dodo bird's extinction affected the local ecosystem of Mauritius. Since we simply don't know what affects the extinction had on the ecosystem, studies are still ongoing.

Go and find out what an argument from ignorance is and then come back. You still don't know why this logic is flawed. Your statement is technically not wrong, but the logic you are using to support your claim is.

Aside from simply saying I'm using an "Argument from ignorance". How is my argument wrong exactly?


A fallacy is it? Haha. Just what sort of fallacy is it? Man, seriously, it's like you've learned a couple of cool sounding words and then try to play science as if you know how.

Could be many. Hasty generalization in particular. You're taking a tiny tiny sample of planets and then using that as evidence other planets won't have oxygen since those don't.

Inductive reasoning extrapolates from an observation what the general might be in the face of the unknown. Based on the observation that no two planets have exactly the same elemental compositions, gravity, orbits etc., we can induce that an unknown planet will also not have the same elemental composition, or gas ratio. The likelihood of there being a planet with the exact same oxygen ration as Earth is miniscule when all variations are accounted for. I am not arguing from ignorance, but rather inductive reasoning (I won't even go into how to use deductive logic in this situation!).

So if a planet had a gravity difference of 5% more and an oxygen ratio difference of 30% more, we could not survive on it?

Not only is your logic faulty, so are your facts.

Compare this with the fact that from the evidence we have, there is no indication than an oceanic ecosystem will dissolve if humpbacks disappeared completely.

Good grief, You're the one arguing from ignorance here. My argument was simply that we should protect humpbacks because we don't know what effect their extinction would have on oceanic ecosystems.

Arguing that any small amount of uncertainty has equal weight to the evidence is a fallacy, and one based on ignorance.

WHAT EVIDENCE? The "Lack of" evidence? Please tell me you're not claiming that the "lack of" evidence humpbacks extinction will negatively affect the ecosystems is evidence it won't....


Copout? I said open a new thread and we'll discuss it. It is poor form to derail a thread - even one's own - with a divergent topic.

:rolleyes:

http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=2506066#post2506066

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 02:03 AM
I have only skimmed through this thread so far, but the topic is one that I have put a bit of thought into. The biodiversity issue is a fascinating one but I can't help but feel that it is based on "iconic species". I seriously get the feeling that the conservation movement is very much about conserving the world as it is right now or possibly how it was some time in the past. I am pretty strongly against this idea.

You shouldn't be.

In most cases the reason a species is going extinct is because its habitat has changed, either naturally or thanks to humans changing/destroying it. The reason it is going extinct is because the animal is not well suited to its changing environment - whether that be human hunters, human foresters or a another source. This point is important because the extinction is natures way of readjusting to new circumstances.

These circumstances should not exist to begin with. Humans should avoid destroying the habitats of these endangered animals. If humans were not so stupid as to continue to reproduce, then there would be no need to do these things. These pressures we're putting on these animals don't need to be put on them.

Conservation in these circumstances doesn't make sense. Sure keeping species alive as curiosities never hurts, but they form no part of the ecosystem in zoos. The ecosystem is essentially rejecting them which is why they are going extinct. Artificially preserving them does not help things at all.

You're missing the entire point. We humans are the ones responsible for destroying their habitats and thus their ecosystems. What you're essentially saying is that we should not preserve them because their ecosystems are rejecting them because we destroyed their ecosystems!

Ding, Ding, Ding! Anyone home? Stop destroying their habitats and then they won't have trouble adjusting to their ecosystems!


The preservation of habitats and maintaining an environment that is vibrant and growing is a good goal because that indicates a healthy ecosystem - it really doesn't matter in the slightest what species actually populate it and nature will itself figure out which species work best in it over time.

Over time, I.E. tens of thousands of years. It makes no sense to destroy ecosystems basing it on the crooked justification that they might recover in tens of thousands of years. That's simple absurdity. We need to preserve their ecosystems as they are and make sure they don't become destroyed.

andyandy
10th April 2007, 02:13 AM
It was only supposed to go on for 2 days.

after one week there are more bacteria than hydrogen atoms in the known universe - that's slightly more than the number needed to cover the earth don't you think?

Looking at the numbers i'm confident that athon's assertion is correct...

nevertheless i'll do the working out as well.....

Now bear in mind that this is all based on estimates - it is not an absolute answer - but then neither is "cover" an absolute measure - so we can just plug in some plausible numbers and see what we get.

if we take the dimensions of a salmenella bacteria to be 2micrometresx0.1x0.1 we can change that up to km3 to give us 2x10-28km3

we can take the surface area of the Earth to be 509600000km2
and decide that we want a covering 1cm deep across the entire planet.
This gives us a cubic area of 5096km3

Now all we need to do is divide one by the other

5096km3/2x10-28

= 2.54x1031

So we can see that be using these estimates that after two days there would be more than enough salmenella to cover the entire planet to a depth of 1cm, and so Athon's assertion is perfectly acceptable.

Now if you want to talk about limiting factors, well of course they exist - because if they didn't, well, the planet would be full of salmenella bacteria....

EternalSceptic
10th April 2007, 02:30 AM
Over time, I.E. tens of thousands of years. It makes no sense to destroy ecosystems basing it on the crooked justification that they might recover in tens of thousands of years. That's simple absurdity. We need to preserve their ecosystems as they are and make sure they don't become destroyed.

There is an additional point to it: Microorganisms as well as many short living small beasts like insects adapt much faster to changes in environment than their natural enemies and the most annoying and dangerous of them are generally those which are most difficult to limit/extinct.

So if we change the environment too fast we will pretty soon live in a world with growing populations of these beasts, forcing us to still increase our manipulation of the ecosystem. To which end?

I just think of multiresistent bacteria in hospitals as an example.

athon
10th April 2007, 03:07 AM
after one week there are more bacteria than hydrogen atoms in the known universe - that's slightly more than the number needed to cover the earth don't you think?

Andy, thanks for having the patience to go through the maths. It's more patience than I have. The point will be totally lost on Dustin, but it does make for an interesting example of the power of exponential growth. I'm sure others here (like me) find this kind of amazing.

Now if you want to talk about limiting factors, well of course they exist - because if they didn't, well, the planet would be full of salmenella bacteria....

Exactly. The point is, if we look at the initial stages of logarithmic growth, it would be easy to see a future of wading through a bacterial slime after leaving the fridge door open for a few days. Hence the logic Dustin is using.

Athon

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 03:13 AM
Andy, thanks for having the patience to go through the maths. It's more patience than I have. The point will be totally lost on Dustin, but it does make for an interesting example of the power of exponential growth. I'm sure others here (like me) find this kind of amazing.



Exactly. The point is, if we look at the initial stages of logarithmic growth, it would be easy to see a future of wading through a bacterial slime after leaving the fridge door open for a few days. Hence the logic Dustin is using.

Athon


There are plenty of reasons why bacteria won't continue to spread at that rate. You haven't provided a single reason why we can't extrapolate a few hundred years after the trends I posted.

andyandy
10th April 2007, 03:32 AM
There are plenty of reasons why bacteria won't continue to spread at that rate. You haven't provided a single reason why we can't extrapolate a few hundred years after the trends I posted.

let's have a look at what you said...

The predictions even at the lowest predict an increase of over 2 degrees celcius over the next 90 years. 5 degrees celcius in the CCSR/NIES model. That's over 40 degrees in about 90 years. If it continues at that increasing rate (which it looks like it will based on all of the models) then we will absolutely be in a Venus situation within less than a million years. Extrapolate this model and extend it at the current rate 500 years and you've got a 200 degree increase of overall temperature for the planet. 400 degrees in 1000 years. And so on. So basically I was being very very conservative in saying it could be a million years before it happens. Based on the best climate models, if extrapolated to a few thousand years, we'll be another Venus.

you're using the beginnings of what could be exponential growth over a 100year time frame to extrapolate the temperature in 1000 years. Climate models don't work like that. If they did the earth would end up hotter than the sun :rolleyes:

by your reasoning,

n=1,2,3
n1 is the temperature increase in 500 years, n2 in 1000 years
and temperature increase at n1 is 200 degrees

then you can model the expansion by
200x2n-1

so in 10,000years the temperature increase will be 102,400 degrees C
in 20,000years the temperature increase will be 104,857,600 degrees C
in 30,000years the temperature increase will be 107,374,182,400 degrees C

Now given that the inner core of the sun is only 15,000,000 degrees C, by your model we can expect the earth to become hotter than the sun in about 18,000 years.....

To repeat - this is what happens with exponential growth.

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 03:55 AM
let's have a look at what you said...



you're using the beginnings of what could be exponential growth over a 100year time frame to extrapolate the temperature in 1000 years. Climate models don't work like that. If they did the earth would end up hotter than the sun :rolleyes:

Using the climate trends for 100 to extrapolate temperature in 1000 years isn't that crazy. If current trends continue, there's really nothing that would prevent it from going that far.

athon
10th April 2007, 03:56 AM
No, I showed the current trends and extended them over a a few times more. There's no valid reason for them not to be extended that far.

I can appreciate extrapolating a few degrees into the near future. But you're claiming that Earth will practically become Venus in terms of its climate within due time. Earth never became Venus even when all of the CO2 was in the atmosphere several billion years ago! Again, support this claim with reason (other than 'there's no reason to take this graph to the extreme') or accept that you've got nothing.

The lifespan is relevant because you're assuming they all live long enough to be able to populate the world.

Just quoting this for posterity. The very point behind the analogy (which again was lost on you) was this very thing.

The only "woo" here is you. Your tactics remind me of creationists. Arguing that there's no rational reason to prevent extinction? Oh yes, How critical...:rolleyes:

Strawman. I never said there was no rational reason to prevent extinction. I said that in many cases, the rationality used for some species does not exist, and instead it becomes an emotional argument. This is significant, as species such as pandas and whales are used as poster-children for the 'save our planet' cause, when these species don't carry the same weight of rationality as more key species do.

The very fact you need to misrepresent my argument demonstrates your dishonesty in debate.

So? Subjective things can't be rationalized? This doesn't make one bit of sense.

Maybe not to you.

If I argue 'I want to save this painting from the fire because it is beautiful', and another says 'I want to throw this painting into the fire because it is ugly', both are using subjective reasoning in support of their decisions. The thing is, neither reason can be demonstrated as factual as it relies on the subjective opinions.

What definition of "Subjective" are you using? Provide a link. I can't find a single definition of the word that fits the way you're using it.

It's not a complicated definition; subjective, as in 'Proceeding from or taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world' (http://www.answers.com/topic/subjective). Aesthetics is a subjective opinion.

This is irrelevant. The argument is whether or not you have the right to take away what I find beautiful. I.E. wildlife. and whether or not my and many others admiration of it can be a reason to keep it. Which it can.

Of course. And I never suggested otherwise. This is not rational logic, but rather emotional justification.

Here's the difference; it is logical to say if I kill an animal, you will be sad, therefore if I do not wish you to be sad I should not kill the animal. There is an objective and reasonable outcome to which I can anticipate the ramifications of my decision. This becomes invalid if I don't care whether you're sad or not.

Yet simply saying animals should not be killed as I will be sad is not a logical rationalisation, but an emotional one. It falls short of being a rational and objective argument.

In the end emotional pleas only take on weight if the opinion of the masses is taken into account.

The problem here, Dustin, is that you're so desperate to argue a case you'll rage against any and all counter arguments. Personally, I also don't want to see species go extinct. However, if I try to use faulty logic and bad reasoning in support of this belief, my desire will not be taken seriously. Yet if I admit that it is an emotional plea based on my aesthetics, and can convince others to have that same emotional foundation, then I have a chance at promoting changes in opinion. In the end it's a battle of values anyway; the emotional ties individuals have to economy versus the emotional ties individuals have for biodiversity.

In other words, you're shooting yourself in the foot with bad rationalisation and ignorant arguments. Rather than take your persuasion seriously people will see only folly in your views and discredit them.

Could be many. Hasty generalization in particular. You're taking a tiny tiny sample of planets and then using that as evidence other planets won't have oxygen since those don't.

Strawman. I never said anything about lacking oxygen. A different ratio of oxygen to other gases would be incompatible with life (oh god why am I arguing this with you...)

So if a planet had a gravity difference of 5% more and an oxygen ratio difference of 30% more, we could not survive on it?

Not only is your logic faulty, so are your facts.

Here's a practical way of demonstrating a variation in oxygen levels; try climbing to several thousand metres above sea level. The difference in oxygen concentration is but a few percent less. See how you feel. Then, to be real daring, go where there is an oxygen difference of more than 30%. At this point I'd love to see it.

Good grief, You're the one arguing from ignorance here. My argument was simply that we should protect humpbacks because we don't know what effect their extinction would have on oceanic ecosystems.

This has to be one of the most tragic statements of the year.

WHAT EVIDENCE? The "Lack of" evidence? Please tell me you're not claiming that the "lack of" evidence humpbacks extinction will negatively affect the ecosystems is evidence it won't....

No. It's a non-claim. If you want to claim that they will, you need evidence.

:rolleyes:

http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=2506066#post2506066

Well done. You might learn a few manners yet.

Athon

andyandy
10th April 2007, 04:04 AM
Using the climate trends for 100 to extrapolate temperature in 1000 years isn't that crazy. If current trends continue, there's really nothing that would prevent it from going that far.

how can you be confident in a model that predicts we end up hotter than the inner core of the sun in 18,000years? And hotter than the outer core in 6,000years?

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 04:06 AM
how can you be confident in a model that predicts we end up hotter than the inner core of the sun in 18,000years? And hotter than the outer core in 6,000years?

Because I would not extrapolate it that far.

athon
10th April 2007, 04:08 AM
There are plenty of reasons why bacteria won't continue to spread at that rate. You haven't provided a single reason why we can't extrapolate a few hundred years after the trends I posted.

For one, climate models don't work that way. The predictive power is relatively weak, quickly falling off in accuracy after a small amount of time.

Secondly, even when the majority of the earth's carbon dioxide and water vapour was in the atmosphere, there was no runaway greenhouse effect.

Thirdly, you're assuming that the graph suggests that CO2 levels will continue to increase forever. If you're claiming a runaway greenhouse effect, at what concentration would CO2 need to be in order for this to occur? Is it more or less than the reserves of fossil fuels we have access to with current technology?

Athon

andyandy
10th April 2007, 04:11 AM
Because I would not extrapolate it that far.

let's have a look

So basically I was being very very conservative in saying it could be a million years before it happens. Based on the best climate models, if extrapolated to a few thousand years, we'll be another Venus.

based on the "best climate models" extrapolated to a few thousand years we reach the outer surface temperature of the sun.

how do you know that you can extrapolate to even 1000 years given that the model gives such ludicrous predictions?

Do you really think that our current [I]best climate models consist of a graph plotting co2 against time?

athon
10th April 2007, 04:11 AM
how can you be confident in a model that predicts we end up hotter than the inner core of the sun in 18,000years? And hotter than the outer core in 6,000years? Because I would not extrapolate it that far.

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard. Classic!

Athon

Ceritus
10th April 2007, 04:14 AM
freaking hippies. It is too cold outside right now! Bring on the global warming!!!! It is better for most species for the earth to be warmer than it is now.

Ceritus
10th April 2007, 04:18 AM
how can you be confident in a model that predicts we end up hotter than the inner core of the sun in 18,000years? And hotter than the outer core in 6,000years?

People like dustin are confident in anything that promotes their treehugging end of times agenda. Btw its not the 1st world countries that need to have their emissions changed anyways they go above and beyond resonable emissions and waste alot of money doing so. It is those pesky developing countries these mule headed activists need to be worried about if they really believe the junk coming out of their mouths.

As for extinctions, ya it sucks for the species but it doesn't mean it is going to be detrimental to us. How was the recent extinction of the Dodo Bird detrimental to our survival? They did not even taste good it seems!

Where do you draw the line? We cannot and should not save all the species out there it would simply cost way to much and waste too much of our time. Why not center that ferver in saving other human beings in 3rd world countries and educating them to the point they can become self reliant.

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 04:23 AM
I can appreciate extrapolating a few degrees into the near future. But you're claiming that Earth will practically become Venus in terms of its climate within due time. Earth never became Venus even when all of the CO2 was in the atmosphere several billion years ago! Again, support this claim with reason (other than 'there's no reason to take this graph to the extreme') or accept that you've got nothing.

It's a rough estimate.


I never said there was no rational reason to prevent extinction. I said that in many cases, the rationality used for some species does not exist, and instead it becomes an emotional argument.

Which can be very rational.

This is significant, as species such as pandas and whales are used as poster-children for the 'save our planet' cause, when these species don't carry the same weight of rationality as more key species do.

People like whales and panda's.

The very fact you need to misrepresent my argument demonstrates your dishonesty in debate.

You're moving the goal post.


If I argue 'I want to save this painting from the fire because it is beautiful', and another says 'I want to throw this painting into the fire because it is ugly', both are using subjective reasoning in support of their decisions. The thing is, neither reason can be demonstrated as factual as it relies on the subjective opinions.

Oversimplification

It Depends on who owns the painting.
An argument can be made that preservation is better than destruction.

It's not a complicated definition; subjective, as in 'Proceeding from or taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world' (http://www.answers.com/topic/subjective) (http://www.answers.com/topic/subjective%29). Aesthetics is a subjective opinion.

So based on your definition of "subjective" which means 'taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world' would you argue that your thoughts aren't rational since they take place inside of your mind and not in the external world?


Here's the difference; it is logical to say if I kill an animal, you will be sad, therefore if I do not wish you to be sad I should not kill the animal. There is an objective and reasonable outcome to which I can anticipate the ramifications of my decision. This becomes invalid if I don't care whether you're sad or not.

I would never argue that an individual animal should not be killed because it would make me sad.

Yet simply saying animals should not be killed as I will be sad is not a logical rationalisation, but an emotional one. It falls short of being a rational and objective argument.

That's an oversimplification of my argument. My argument was that future generations should be able to experience the wildlife that we can experience and we don't have the right to prevent them from doing that. That's a rational argument.


The problem here, Dustin, is that you're so desperate to argue a case you'll rage against any and all counter arguments. Personally, I also don't want to see species go extinct. However, if I try to use faulty logic and bad reasoning in support of this belief, my desire will not be taken seriously. Yet if I admit that it is an emotional plea based on my aesthetics, and can convince others to have that same emotional foundation, then I have a chance at promoting changes in opinion. In the end it's a battle of values anyway; the emotional ties individuals have to economy versus the emotional ties individuals have for biodiversity.

You're using your skewed philosophy to come to the conclusion that arguments for future generations to be able to experience wildlife aren't "rational", which they are. Based on the definition of "rational".


In other words, you're shooting yourself in the foot with bad rationalisation and ignorant arguments. Rather than take your persuasion seriously people will see only folly in your views and discredit them.

Define "Rational".

Strawman. I never said anything about lacking oxygen. A different ratio of oxygen to other gases would be incompatible with life (oh god why am I arguing this with you...)

Humans can easily survive in environments with a bit less oxygen or a bit more oxygen. Stop making things up.

Here's a practical way of demonstrating a variation in oxygen levels; try climbing to several thousand metres above sea level. The difference in oxygen concentration is but a few percent less. See how you feel. Then, to be real daring, go where there is an oxygen difference of more than 30%. At this point I'd love to see it.

Earths atmosphere is about 21% oxygen so 30% less isn't possible. However 30% more oxygen would be around 50% which is not toxic. Early spacecrafts and spacesuits (http://www.astronautix.com/craftfam/spasuits.htm) actually had 100% oxygen in them.

So taking your helmet off on a planet with 50% oxygen or even 60% oxygen would not be harmful unless the other % of gas was deadly.

No. It's a non-claim. If you want to claim that they will, you need evidence.

I have no proof they will or won't. This is a reason in itself not to cause them to go extinct. It's called PRECAUTION!

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 04:25 AM
For one, climate models don't work that way. The predictive power is relatively weak, quickly falling off in accuracy after a small amount of time.

Like 90 years? :rolleyes:

Secondly, even when the majority of the earth's carbon dioxide and water vapour was in the atmosphere, there was no runaway greenhouse effect.

When did this happen?

Thirdly, you're assuming that the graph suggests that CO2 levels will continue to increase forever. If you're claiming a runaway greenhouse effect, at what concentration would CO2 need to be in order for this to occur? Is it more or less than the reserves of fossil fuels we have access to with current technology?

Athon

I never made that assumption.

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 04:29 AM
freaking hippies. It is too cold outside right now! Bring on the global warming!!!! It is better for most species for the earth to be warmer than it is now.


Just the insect species...

If the world continues to warm, the sea levels will rise, many countries will flood, millions will die.

People like dustin are confident in anything that promotes their treehugging end of times agenda.

I don't hug trees. If your response to anyone who cares about the planet is to call them a "Tree hugger" then you truly are ignorant.


Btw its not the 1st world countries that need to have their emissions changed anyways they go above and beyond resonable emissions and waste alot of money doing so.

1st world countries are the top emitters of greenhouse gases. They ABSOLUTELY need to change. If you're trying to weigh "money" against the planet then again, you truly are ignorant.


It is those pesky developing countries these mule headed activists need to be worried about if they really believe the junk coming out of their mouths.

Wrong.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40415000/gif/_40415961_co2_emissions2_gra416.gif
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3143798.stm


As for extinctions, ya it sucks for the species but it doesn't mean it is going to be detrimental to us. How was the recent extinction of the Dodo Bird detrimental to our survival?

Please read my first post. Stop making ignorant comments until you actually read this thread.

andyandy
10th April 2007, 04:33 AM
Stop making ignorant comments....

oh the irony :)

athon
10th April 2007, 04:51 AM
I bow out. I've made myself look like an idiot for even trying to discuss things with you, Dustin. I think with this quote:

Earths atmosphere is about 21% oxygen so 30% less isn't possible. However 30% more oxygen would be around 50% which is not toxic. Early spacecrafts and spacesuits actually had 100% oxygen in them.

So taking your helmet off on a planet with 50% oxygen or even 60% oxygen would not be harmful unless the other % of gas was deadly.

I realise you are simply incapable of debating this on any level. The maths in this is infantile, the science just plain wrong, your definitions are personal to you only, and your logic is non existent. You're playing your own game of soldiers and thinking you're winning.

Well, have fun. I don't think anybody's going to learn anything new in this thread from either you or me.

Athon

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 04:55 AM
oh the irony :)

What ignorant comments have I made? Give examples. Be specific.

Unless you can, don't imply I have. Stop being a weaselly coward.

Thanks.

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 04:58 AM
I bow out. I've made myself look like an idiot for even trying to discuss things with you, Dustin. I think with this quote:



I realise you are simply incapable of debating this on any level. The maths in this is infantile, the science just plain wrong, your definitions are personal to you only, and your logic is non existent. You're playing your own game of soldiers and thinking you're winning.

Well, have fun. I don't think anybody's going to learn anything new in this thread from either you or me.

Athon

Earths atmosphere is about 21% oxygen so 30% less isn't possible. However 30% more oxygen would be around 50% which is not toxic. Early spacecrafts and spacesuits actually had 100% oxygen in them.

(I provided a link)

So taking your helmet off on a planet with 50% oxygen or even 60% oxygen would not be harmful unless the other % of gas was deadly. Thus making your previous assertions baseless and absurd.

You've been proven wrong and your absurd ignorant comments have been shown to be what they are. Nothing about my quote was incorrect. You're simply too cowardly and arrogant to admit you're wrong. Now that you've been refuted, you're running away.

Is that your tail I see between your legs?

:dl:

frank462
10th April 2007, 04:59 AM
An interesting approach.

The Debate over Pollution Trading (http://www.puaf.umd.edu/IPPP/winter99/controlling_global_climate.htm)

Might there still be a way to draw developing countries into a global agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions? One approach – pollution trading – has been endorsed by many economists and energetically promoted by U.S. negotiators. This essay seeks to clarify the economic and moral issues raised by this approach, and then to recommend an alternative strategy to be pursued in future negotiations with the developing world.

andyandy
10th April 2007, 05:36 AM
What ignorant comments have I made? Give examples. Be specific.

Unless you can, don't imply I have. Stop being a weaselly coward.

Thanks.

What's cowardly about noting that it's ironic that you castigate others for making ignorant posts while seemingly basking in your own ignorance?


The predictions even at the lowest predict an increase of over 2 degrees celcius over the next 90 years. 5 degrees celcius in the CCSR/NIES model. That's over 40 degrees in about 90 years. If it continues at that increasing rate (which it looks like it will based on all of the models) then we will absolutely be in a Venus situation within less than a million years. Extrapolate this model and extend it at the current rate 500 years and you've got a 200 degree increase of overall temperature for the planet. 400 degrees in 1000 years. And so on. So basically I was being very very conservative in saying it could be a million years before it happens. Based on the best climate models, if extrapolated to a few thousand years, we'll be another Venus.


This shows ignorance of basic maths, basic modelling and basic climate science. We covered this already. Your confusing a very basic co2 vs time graph with "best climate models" and using reasoning that should lead us to expect that the earth will be the temperature of the outer core of the sun within a few thousand years.

andyandy
10th April 2007, 05:39 AM
You've been proven wrong and your absurd ignorant comments have been shown to be what they are. You're simply too cowardly and arrogant to admit you're wrong.


i'm sure that anyone reading this thread will reach their own conclusions about who has been making absurd and ignorant comments, and who is too cowardly and arrogant to admit that they're wrong.....

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 05:43 AM
What's cowardly about noting that it's ironic that you castigate others for making ignorant posts while seemingly basking in your own ignorance?

Probably because you can't establish that I am.





This shows ignorance of basic maths

How?

basic modelling

How?

and basic climate science.

How?


We covered this already. Your confusing a very basic co2 vs time graph with "best climate models" and using reasoning that should lead us to expect that the earth will be the temperature of the outer core of the sun within a few thousand years.

We did cover this already. I have already explained that the Venus example was not supposed to be taken literally. It was just an example of what greenhouse effects can do and how earth can compare.


The whole "like Venus" thing isn't supposed to be taken literally anyway. It just gives an example of what a runaway greenhouse effect would be like. It's true that the earth has mitigating facts that would prevent it from being identical to Venus but the fact is, if global warming continues for hundreds of years at the rate it's predicted to occur over the next 100 years, we're in the frying pan.


But if you payed attention, You'd know that...

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 05:46 AM
What's cowardly about noting that it's ironic that you castigate others for making ignorant posts while seemingly basking in your own ignorance?

Probably because you can't establish that I am.


This shows ignorance of basic maths

How?

basic modelling

How?

and basic climate science.

How?

We covered this already. Your confusing a very basic co2 vs time graph with "best climate models" and using reasoning that should lead us to expect that the earth will be the temperature of the outer core of the sun within a few thousand years.

We did cover this already. I have already explained that the Venus example was not supposed to be taken literally. It was just an example of what greenhouse effects can do and how earth can compare.


The whole "like Venus" thing isn't supposed to be taken literally anyway. It just gives an example of what a runaway greenhouse effect would be like. It's true that the earth has mitigating facts that would prevent it from being identical to Venus but the fact is, if global warming continues for hundreds of years at the rate it's predicted to occur over the next 100 years, we're in the frying pan.


But if you payed attention, You'd know that...

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 05:47 AM
What's cowardly about noting that it's ironic that you castigate others for making ignorant posts while seemingly basking in your own ignorance?

Probably because you can't establish that I am.


This shows ignorance of basic maths

How?

basic modelling

How?

and basic climate science.

How?

We covered this already. Your confusing a very basic co2 vs time graph with "best climate models" and using reasoning that should lead us to expect that the earth will be the temperature of the outer core of the sun within a few thousand years.

We did cover this already. I have already explained that the Venus example was not supposed to be taken literally. It was just an example of what greenhouse effects can do and how earth can compare.


The whole "like Venus" thing isn't supposed to be taken literally anyway. It just gives an example of what a runaway greenhouse effect would be like. It's true that the earth has mitigating facts that would prevent it from being identical to Venus but the fact is, if global warming continues for hundreds of years at the rate it's predicted to occur over the next 100 years, we're in the frying pan.


But if you payed attention, You'd know that...

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 05:48 AM
What's cowardly about noting that it's ironic that you castigate others for making ignorant posts while seemingly basking in your own ignorance?

Probably because you can't establish that I am.


This shows ignorance of basic maths

How?

basic modelling

How?

and basic climate science.

How?

We covered this already. Your confusing a very basic co2 vs time graph with "best climate models" and using reasoning that should lead us to expect that the earth will be the temperature of the outer core of the sun within a few thousand years.

We did cover this already. I have already explained that the Venus example was not supposed to be taken literally. It was just an example of what greenhouse effects can do and how earth can compare.


The whole "like Venus" thing isn't supposed to be taken literally anyway. It just gives an example of what a runaway greenhouse effect would be like. It's true that the earth has mitigating facts that would prevent it from being identical to Venus but the fact is, if global warming continues for hundreds of years at the rate it's predicted to occur over the next 100 years, we're in the frying pan.


But if you payed attention, You'd know that...

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 05:50 AM
What's cowardly about noting that it's ironic that you castigate others for making ignorant posts while seemingly basking in your own ignorance?

Probably because you can't establish that I am.


This shows ignorance of basic maths

How?

basic modelling

How?

and basic climate science.

How?

We covered this already. Your confusing a very basic co2 vs time graph with "best climate models" and using reasoning that should lead us to expect that the earth will be the temperature of the outer core of the sun within a few thousand years.

We did cover this already. I have already explained that the Venus example was not supposed to be taken literally. It was just an example of what greenhouse effects can do and how earth can compare.


The whole "like Venus" thing isn't supposed to be taken literally anyway. It just gives an example of what a runaway greenhouse effect would be like. It's true that the earth has mitigating facts that would prevent it from being identical to Venus but the fact is, if global warming continues for hundreds of years at the rate it's predicted to occur over the next 100 years, we're in the frying pan.


But if you payed attention, You'd know that...

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 05:53 AM
What's cowardly about noting that it's ironic that you castigate others for making ignorant posts while seemingly basking in your own ignorance?

Probably because you can't establish that I am.


This shows ignorance of basic maths

How?

basic modelling

How?

and basic climate science.

How?

We covered this already. Your confusing a very basic co2 vs time graph with "best climate models" and using reasoning that should lead us to expect that the earth will be the temperature of the outer core of the sun within a few thousand years.

We did cover this already. I have already explained that the Venus example was not supposed to be taken literally. It was just an example of what greenhouse effects can do and how earth can compare.


The whole "like Venus" thing isn't supposed to be taken literally anyway. It just gives an example of what a runaway greenhouse effect would be like. It's true that the earth has mitigating facts that would prevent it from being identical to Venus but the fact is, if global warming continues for hundreds of years at the rate it's predicted to occur over the next 100 years, we're in the frying pan.

andyandy
10th April 2007, 07:06 AM
oh dear, and you were trying so hard to prove how clever you are, and then you go and post the same reply 6 times....oops!

You believe that a simple co2 vs time plot constitutes a "best climate model" and that you can extrapolate from that thousands of years into the future using a simple exponential growth model.

How is that not ignorant of basic modelling, basic maths and basic climate science? Your model leads us to an earth temperature of that of the outer core of the sun within a few thousand years. This is because your model is woefully inaccurate, you don't understand exponential growth and you don't understand that climate science is more involved than a time to Co2 plot. How much clearer do you need that to be?

Should i repost this 6 times to get it through your head?

EternalSceptic
10th April 2007, 07:15 AM
oh dear, and you were trying so hard to prove how clever you are, and then you go and post the same reply 6 times....oops!

You believe that a simple co2 vs time plot constitutes a "best climate model" and that you can extrapolate from that thousands of years into the future using a simple exponential growth model.

How is that not ignorant of basic modelling, basic maths and basic climate science? How much clearer do you need that to be?

Should i repost this 6 times to get it through your head?

Just to have it mentioned: The utmost limit of the greenhouse effect and global warning is at a point, where our planet looses exactly the amount it receives (by radiation). And that point is _far_ below venus climate. We are a little bit farhter away from the sun, you know.

If you do a simple calculation don't forget to take all temperatures based on 0K.

andyandy
10th April 2007, 07:19 AM
Just to have it mentioned: The utmost limit of the greenhouse effect and global warning is at a point, where our planet looses exactly the amount it receives (by radiation). And that point is _far_ below venus climate. We are a little bit farhter away from the sun, you know.

If you do a simple calculation don't forget to take all temperatures based on 0K.

interesting - do you have any more info on that - or a link?


It'd be good to get something out of this trainwreck thread.....:)

a_unique_person
10th April 2007, 07:26 AM
For one, climate models don't work that way. The predictive power is relatively weak, quickly falling off in accuracy after a small amount of time.

Secondly, even when the majority of the earth's carbon dioxide and water vapour was in the atmosphere, there was no runaway greenhouse effect.

Thirdly, you're assuming that the graph suggests that CO2 levels will continue to increase forever. If you're claiming a runaway greenhouse effect, at what concentration would CO2 need to be in order for this to occur? Is it more or less than the reserves of fossil fuels we have access to with current technology?

Athon

I think the concern about a Venus was that it was possible in the sense that we are causing what is in geological terms a rapid change in temperature. The last time all the Carbon was in the air as CO2, the temperature did stabilise. That would have been due to a slower process. While not likely, is Venus possible, since we are creating a different scenario? The climate is a chaotic system that is bound to a strange attractor, what if this time it heads towards a different one, since it will be given a different kick up? Once again, not likely, according to the scientific consensus.

The Painter
10th April 2007, 08:04 AM
1st world countries are the top emitters of greenhouse gases. They ABSOLUTELY need to change.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40415000/gif/_40415961_co2_emissions2_gra416.gif
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3143798.stm
.


I think your chart is outdated. I believe China just surpassed the US in emissions. How will you handle that?

geni
10th April 2007, 02:24 PM
How are "yeast vats" an example of 'ecosystems optimized towards supporting humans'?

It is posible to run such a system with a very high level of effecency makeing very large human populations posible.



What are you basing this on?



Focus of recent research.


The Drug companies use plants and trees to find cancer cures often.


Did.




Many cancer drugs were discovered by using plants or trees and are still used to treat cancers.

Were

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paclitaxel#History


70s


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camptothecin



early 90s

This would before a number of significant advances in chemistry and biology.


Ever heard of a thing called "Zoo's"? or Wildlife sanctuaries?

Oh wait, Even better..There's this new thing called "Traveling". Great way to get outside of "place X".

:rolleyes:


Not really an option for a large percentage of the planet.



So the fact that a "mauritanian" child won't see non-local wildlife is a reason not to fight for the preservation of wildlife for people who could see it? Who's to say this child won't grow up and decide to travel to these places to see the wildlife?

Statistics.




I'm just as worried for any endangered species. Sure some plants or fungi play important roles in the ecosystem, but then again, Tigers and Lions are simply more fun to look at.


So what? We will not die if the Tigers and Lions do.



********. How many times has some dormant virus found in some plant species killed off many people? I can't think of one instance.


Historicaly we haven't done much messing around with DNA.


How many times has plants or trees provided us with insight on how to cure a disease? I can list dozens.


No. In the bast plants were the best source for wide numbers of chemicals. That ceased to be the case in the late 90s.



Sure I have.

What many don't seem to be understanding is that all life on earth is part of the global ecosystem.

We've been through this. Thermal vents suggest otherwise.



This means that every single species has evolved to be part of a fragile chain of other species. If one species goes extinct it can cause many other species to go extinct which in turn can cause many other species to go extinct. Humans, being part of that chain, have an invested interest in the well being of all species, even the ones that don't seem to make much of a difference. Scientists can't predict how the extinction of a single species will affect the entire ecosystem let alone the extinction of hundreds or thousands of species.

Well expermental evidence (wipeing out a number of species of giant tortoise) suggests no impact. Wipeing out Island ecosystems does not appear to have a wider impact.


This has effects for all humans in every way imaginable. If humans care about the existence of their species then they should care about the extinction of any species.

No. If the amount of rescources needed to preserve a species outweights the net gain of doing so there is no reason to preserve it.


More reasons to care about extinction of species is simply the fact that we want future generations to be able to observe their beauty directly, and not just from a text book. How tragic would it be for your offspring to blame your generation for not being able to witness first hand, many species that are currently going extinct?

If that is all they can blame me for I think I will have done pretty well.



I for one, would of loved to of seen the Dodo bird or the Thylacine, or even the recently extinct Chinese river dolphin.

None of those species were critical one way or another.

CplFerro
10th April 2007, 04:33 PM
I figure with all the genetic mutants being produced in the labs, it will all balance out in the end in terms of species diversity.

I don't think any Colonist is going to be crying in Heaven about posterity's condemnation of him for extinguishing the dodo, however.

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 08:56 PM
oh dear, and you were trying so hard to prove how clever you are, and then you go and post the same reply 6 times....oops!

It was the forum.

http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=79051

You believe that a simple co2 vs time plot constitutes a "best climate model" and that you can extrapolate from that thousands of years into the future using a simple exponential growth model.

It's not a single climate model but a compilation of the best.

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 08:58 PM
I think your chart is outdated. I believe China just surpassed the US in emissions. How will you handle that?

You might be right. But the person I was responding to was claiming that it's the 2nd and 3rd world countries responsible.

Dustin Kesselberg
10th April 2007, 09:09 PM
It is posible to run such a system with a very high level of effecency makeing very large human populations posible.

I asked for a "human" example. An example of a human society that does this. Not a bacteria society.:rolleyes:


Focus of recent research.

Where can I find this research?



Did.

Still do.






Were


70s




early 90s

This would before a number of significant advances in chemistry and biology.

What advances occurred since then that made natural substances obsolete?


Not really an option for a large percentage of the planet.

Not yet. That has to do with economics and is a different subject.




Statistics.

You're making assumptions here.



So what? We will not die if the Tigers and Lions do.

So they're valuable to keep alive for simple diversity purposes.


Historicaly we haven't done much messing around with DNA.

You're not making sense. Your assertion was that we should not care about preserving the many species that we can potentially derive cures for diseases from (as we have in the past) because there is potential that we could somehow let loose a "dormant virus" and kill off millions. I showed this to be nonsense. Now you change it to "messing around with DNA"? We don't need to "mess around with DNA" to derive cures for diseases from plants and fungi necessarily.


No. In the bast plants were the best source for wide numbers of chemicals. That ceased to be the case in the late 90s.

:rolleyes:

Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_q=vaccine&num=10&btnG=Search+Scholar&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_occt=any&as_sauthors=&as_publication=The+Plant+Cell&as_ylo=&as_yhi=&as_allsubj=all&hl=en&lr=)

Try doing some research.


We've been through this. Thermal vents suggest otherwise.

That's simply false..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrothermal_vent#Biological_communities


No. If the amount of rescources needed to preserve a species outweights the net gain of doing so there is no reason to preserve it.

We can never predict the net gain. The gain from exploiting them to extinction is trivial.



If that is all they can blame me for I think I will have done pretty well.

You want your generation to be remembered as ignorant and greedy exploiters of the environment?


None of those species were critical one way or another.

None of them were critical? What does that mean? They were right before extinction!

a_unique_person
10th April 2007, 09:16 PM
Why biodiversity matters.

http://n3xus6.blogspot.com/2007/01/why-i-think-biodiversity-matters.html



Firstly, look at why genetic diversity is important to a species. When an organism’s environment is unchanging it’s actually not that important. But when an organism’s environment is variable, genetic diversity allows the species as a whole to cope with change, though individuals with the ‘wrong’ genes loose out. If this concept is extended to all species, biodiversity makes the Earth’s biological systems as a whole more robust.

If climate change, for example, knocks out one species of nitrifying bacteria, bacterial genetic diversity will hopefully allow another species to fill its place and keep the nitrogen cycle going happily on its way. Reduce the amount of diversity and you reduce the amount of raw material you have available to compensate for change, to act as a buffer as it were.

Talk of previous mass extinctions as normal is not helpful from a human viewpoint. A collapse of the nitrogen or carbon cycles, for example, would be catastrophic. The reason why this is unlikely to happen is that there is plenty of natural redundancy built in to the system. The redundancy comes from biodiversity, which is really genetic diversity, and genetic diversity is self-promoted by interactions with genetically diverse organisms (and diverse non-organic environments).

Topspy
10th April 2007, 09:37 PM
There are other species.



Most animals are not critical. Plants and bacteria would be more of an issue.


yeah. we could do without you, for example.......

Topspy
10th April 2007, 09:39 PM
sorry. the first two lines above were quotes from an earlier post......

Topspy
10th April 2007, 09:40 PM
I figure with all the genetic mutants being produced in the labs, it will all balance out in the end in terms of species diversity.

I don't think any Colonist is going to be crying in Heaven about posterity's condemnation of him for extinguishing the dodo, however.


really? how do you know?

athon
10th April 2007, 11:11 PM
Why biodiversity matters.

http://n3xus6.blogspot.com/2007/01/why-i-think-biodiversity-matters.html

I don't think anybody is arguing that as a whole, biodiversity is unimportant. It's one of those 'voter's fallacy' things; voting is important. Yet if I don't go and vote this weekend, it won't make any real difference to the outcome.

It's slightly different with biodiversity. Killing a species of algae will see fisheries collapse and people starve. That is unreasonable, if we state that we don't want people to die.

Killing a species of panda makes no real difference to an ecosystem. It is irrational to say an ecosystem will collapse if there are no pandas. Therefore, arguing that we should not kill all pandas has no rational justification. It's the same as somebody telling me that if I don't go and vote, my favoured party won't get in. This is an irrational claim (even though I really should go and vote).

The difference is a small one, but significant if people are to be encouraged to protect global biodiversity.

Athon

Ginarley
11th April 2007, 05:40 PM
You shouldn't be.

Conservation is not a healthy goal - it stagnates things. We should be aiming much higher than that.


These circumstances should not exist to begin with. Humans should avoid destroying the habitats of these endangered animals. If humans were not so stupid as to continue to reproduce, then there would be no need to do these things. These pressures we're putting on these animals don't need to be put on them.

I agree for the most part, but the fact remains that those pressures are there and the effort for maintaining existing species that are not well suited is a weak one. Even if we work aggressively to restore and regrow habitats, the new ecosystems that develop will not be the same as the old ones, and this is not a bad thing. They will be much better suited to their new circumstances and the right species will populate them, and they will find a nice stable equilibrium over time.

You're missing the entire point. We humans are the ones responsible for destroying their habitats and thus their ecosystems. What you're essentially saying is that we should not preserve them because their ecosystems are rejecting them because we destroyed their ecosystems!

I think you are confusing an ecosystem with a species... I never said preserving ecosystems is a bad thing - my point is that the composite species really don't matter. What matters is that it is healthy and vibrant and we should do our best to encourage that. Preserving individual species is usually a waste of time unless you somehow restore the habitat and system to a point where they are well suited to it.

Ding, Ding, Ding! Anyone home? Stop destroying their habitats and then they won't have trouble adjusting to their ecosystems!

Lol - actually I'm in my office... but ignoring your silliness, we already have destroyed their ecosystem and yes thats a bad thing, BUT there is no guarantee that any particular species will remain suited to the ecosystem if we return it to health because it is always changing. The focus should not be on species but the system as a whole.

Over time, I.E. tens of thousands of years. It makes no sense to destroy ecosystems basing it on the crooked justification that they might recover in tens of thousands of years. That's simple absurdity. We need to preserve their ecosystems as they are and make sure they don't become destroyed.

I almost agree here however the key though is to preserve the health of the ecosystem not to lock it in some arbitrary state that it once was in. It doesn't matter at all what species are in the ecosystem, only that there is a healthy system that delivers all the ecosystem services needed.

Conservationists everywhere are obsessed with two things - the first is returning things to how they were (an unlikely occurrence since complex systems are not generally reversible) and with maintaining iconic species regardless of their niche. Neither of those things are particularly important to an ecosystems health and the real effort should be in ensuring habitats and ecosystems are restored to healthy states where they can go on developing themselves.

Who knows, maybe one day we will end up with stable and vibrant ecosystems that work well with the human species rather than trying to return to old ecosystems that we've already shown don't :)

Dustin Kesselberg
12th April 2007, 04:53 AM
Conservation is not a healthy goal - it stagnates things. We should be aiming much higher than that.


"Stagnates" things? Do you realize that evolution takes millions of years? There's nothing to "aim" to.




I agree for the most part, but the fact remains that those pressures are there and the effort for maintaining existing species that are not well suited is a weak one. Even if we work aggressively to restore and regrow habitats, the new ecosystems that develop will not be the same as the old ones, and this is not a bad thing. They will be much better suited to their new circumstances and the right species will populate them, and they will find a nice stable equilibrium over time.

Do you realize that evolution takes millions of years?



Lol - actually I'm in my office... but ignoring your silliness, we already have destroyed their ecosystem and yes thats a bad thing, BUT there is no guarantee that any particular species will remain suited to the ecosystem if we return it to health because it is always changing. The focus should not be on species but the system as a whole.

We haven't destroyed all ecosystems and there's still a lot to preserve.

Ginarley
12th April 2007, 02:27 PM
"Stagnates" things? Do you realize that evolution takes millions of years? There's nothing to "aim" to.


Systems can change much quicker than that though - they adapt all the time and can do quite quickly. Bacterial evolution can occur in days not millions of years - don't get caught up in the idea that birds and other big animals are the driving force of an ecosystem.

What we should be aiming for is to improve the health of ecosystems not to conserve it. When you allow for regrowth of deforested areas it will never come out the same as it was before, new species will take up niches that they previously couldn't and the system will end up a little different. IMO this is a good thing.

Do you realize that evolution takes millions of years?

Depends on the animal and circumstances. And the ecosystem is more than just the constituent animals - it includes the resources, minerals, light, climate and an abundance of other features.

We haven't destroyed all ecosystems and there's still a lot to preserve.

Absolutely - but "preserve" is such a negative action - we should be encouraging growth and development of the existing ecosystems and encouraging new ecosystems to develop where there are none left.

Dustin Kesselberg
12th April 2007, 03:11 PM
Systems can change much quicker than that though - they adapt all the time and can do quite quickly. Bacterial evolution can occur in days not millions of years - don't get caught up in the idea that birds and other big animals are the driving force of an ecosystem.

I'm talking about animals, not bacteria.

What we should be aiming for is to improve the health of ecosystems not to conserve it. When you allow for regrowth of deforested areas it will never come out the same as it was before, new species will take up niches that they previously couldn't and the system will end up a little different. IMO this is a good thing.

It never turns out being a good thing. Give me one example of deforestation and ecosystem destruction being a 'good thing'. Species don't "fit new niches". Animals that adapt slowly die. Go extinct.

Depends on the animal and circumstances. And the ecosystem is more than just the constituent animals - it includes the resources, minerals, light, climate and an abundance of other features.

For animals it takes tens of thousands-millions of years.

Absolutely - but "preserve" is such a negative action - we should be encouraging growth and development of the existing ecosystems and encouraging new ecosystems to develop where there are none left.

Macro ecosystems develop so slowly that it would be impossible for humans to encourage their "growth and development". Generally thousands of years for species to evolve new niches and humans really can't control such things in such time spans. What humans need to do is preserve the ecosystems they have left so as no more species go extinct.

Ginarley
12th April 2007, 03:36 PM
I'm talking about animals, not bacteria.

I don't see an individual bird species (for example) making that much difference to an ecosystem one way or another - the fundamental drivers (and I think the majority of the biomass although I'm not 100% on that one) is found in micro-organisms..


It never turns out being a good thing. Give me one example of deforestation and ecosystem destruction being a 'good thing'. Species don't "fit new niches". Animals that adapt slowly die. Go extinct.

I never said deforestation was a good thing - I said ecosystems naturally regrowing is a good thing - where deforestation has occurred its a little too late to stop it... and where it hasn't we should let the ecosystem grow naturally (which is a different paradigm to "preservation"). Regardless of what we may prefer, the world is a different place post development to 10,000 years ago. Ecosystems must adapt whether we like it or not.

For animals it takes tens of thousands-millions of years.

Animals can adapt more quickly than that, and lets face it, any ecosystem that isn't functioning properly will take time to reestablish itself regardless. There is much more value leaving it to its own devices than trying to control or preserve it.

Macro ecosystems develop so slowly that it would be impossible for humans to encourage their "growth and development". Generally thousands of years for species to evolve new niches and humans really can't control such things in such time spans. What humans need to do is preserve the ecosystems they have left so as no more species go extinct.

The difference in our opinions is more subtle than perhaps you think - perhaps a meeting point is that I think all we need to preserve is the space for ecosystems to develop naturally and not the system itself.

Dustin Kesselberg
12th April 2007, 04:36 PM
I don't see an individual bird species (for example) making that much difference to an ecosystem one way or another - the fundamental drivers (and I think the majority of the biomass although I'm not 100% on that one) is found in micro-organisms..

Depends on the bird species. Some make more difference than others and the more we lose the more damage it does.



I never said deforestation was a good thing - I said ecosystems naturally regrowing is a good thing - where deforestation has occurred its a little too late to stop it... and where it hasn't we should let the ecosystem grow naturally (which is a different paradigm to "preservation"). Regardless of what we may prefer, the world is a different place post development to 10,000 years ago. Ecosystems must adapt whether we like it or not.


Where deforestation IS occurring it's not too late to stop it. We can simply make new laws or regulations to protect what there is left.
You're misunderstanding what the term 'preservation' means. What it means is to preserve ecosystems from destruction.
[quote=Ginarley;2515341] Animals can adapt more quickly than that, and lets face it, any ecosystem that isn't functioning properly will take time to reestablish itself regardless. There is much more value leaving it to its own devices than trying to control or preserve it.

Which is why ecosystem destruction should be prevented.



The difference in our opinions is more subtle than perhaps you think - perhaps a meeting point is that I think all we need to preserve is the space for ecosystems to develop naturally and not the system itself.

I believe you're misunderstanding what the term 'preservation' means. What it means is to preserve ecosystems from destruction not to try to keep them in some sort of time warp.

Dustin Kesselberg
12th April 2007, 04:38 PM
Subscribing...

xingyifa
13th April 2007, 02:43 PM
Dustin
While normally this would be irrelavent, what are your academic credentials as related to this topic. It seems like the majority of the other posters on this thread do not feel that your evidence stands by itself. Thus, to some extent, your argument is based on your authority in this field.

athon
13th April 2007, 06:28 PM
Dustin
While normally this would be irrelavent, what are your academic credentials as related to this topic. It seems like the majority of the other posters on this thread do not feel that your evidence stands by itself. Thus, to some extent, your argument is based on your authority in this field.

Dustin's authority in the field is more or less irrelevant. It's his arguments which are lacking; indeed, if he did present as somebody with academic qualifications or research in the field of ecology or biology, I'd find it questionable how he attained it or whether he was being truthful; the information he presents is foundational at best.

Either way, it's a case of addressing his logic and his evidence, not his background.

Athon

MG1962
13th April 2007, 11:20 PM
I have always thought biomass far more important than bio diversity. The history of this planet is full of major extinction events that have resulted in radiation of speices to fill vacant environments.

Dont ask me for a sitation, but I recall sometime ago reading that coral had actually gone extinct at least three times in the fossil record, but it is such a natural speciation that something constantly evolves back into coral

xingyifa
14th April 2007, 08:18 AM
Dustin's authority in the field is more or less irrelevant. It's his arguments which are lacking; indeed, if he did present as somebody with academic qualifications or research in the field of ecology or biology, I'd find it questionable how he attained it or whether he was being truthful; the information he presents is foundational at best.

Either way, it's a case of addressing his logic and his evidence, not his background.

Athon

While yes, in a perfect world, a good argument should stand by itself, this is not a perfect world. I would agree that dustin's debate skills could use some serious refining, however the crux of your disagreement seems to lie in the interpretation of his evidence. You argue that the CO2 charts he is using cannot be extrapolated in a linear manner over a period of hundreds of years while he says that they can. Since no one has provided documentation either way (only grossly misunderstood metaphors), it comes down to who should one believe. Thus, I would say that at this point, academic credentials are relavent to the discussion unless one of you can site a paper that explains why those graphs are valid under current models for x number of years.

Dustin Kesselberg
14th April 2007, 04:04 PM
Dustin
While normally this would be irrelavent, what are your academic credentials as related to this topic. It seems like the majority of the other posters on this thread do not feel that your evidence stands by itself. Thus, to some extent, your argument is based on your authority in this field.

Try reading my posts and judge for yourself. Or try doing your own research in this matter. My credentials are indeed irrelevant. The only thing that is relevant is my argument, whether people agree with it or not.

Dustin Kesselberg
14th April 2007, 04:10 PM
While yes, in a perfect world, a good argument should stand by itself, this is not a perfect world.

In this world or a perfect world.


I would agree that dustin's debate skills could use some serious refining, however the crux of your disagreement seems to lie in the interpretation of his evidence.

Sure, My debate skills could improve. Anyones could. But I'd be willing to bet I'm better at it than you are. ;)

The crux of his disagreement seems to he his presumptuous philosophy that aesthetic arguments can't be rational arguments for preservation of species and wildlife.


You argue that the CO2 charts he is using cannot be extrapolated in a linear manner over a period of hundreds of years while he says that they can.

And even if I were a famous climatologist with decades of experience, It would be irrelevant to my argument and would lend no credence to it.


Since no one has provided documentation either way (only grossly misunderstood metaphors), it comes down to who should one believe.

There's no "documentation" that the climate models can be extrapolated for hundreds more years. It was an assumption offering an example of how hot Earth could possibly get. It wasn't even meant to be taken literally.

Who should one believe? You'll need to make that decision without knowing our credentials because that would no doubt bias your conclusions.


Thus, I would say that at this point, academic credentials are relavent to the discussion unless one of you can site a paper that explains why those graphs are valid under current models for x number of years.


There are no such papers proving any such thing and still, our credentials are irrelevant.

andyandy
14th April 2007, 04:20 PM
There's no "documentation" that the climate models can be extrapolated for hundreds more years. It was an assumption offering an example of how hot Earth could possibly get. It wasn't even meant to be taken literally.
.

No, there's no documentation that one can look at a co2 vs time plot with a 100 year projection, and extrapolate from that 1000years hence using an exponential plot because it's an utterly ridiculous thing to do. You don't need documentation to know that, just a basic grasp of maths and modelling. High school level should be sufficient.

For you to claim it wasn't meant to be taken literally is simply disingenous -

The predictions even at the lowest predict an increase of over 2 degrees celcius over the next 90 years. 5 degrees celcius in the CCSR/NIES model. That's over 40 degrees in about 90 years. If it continues at that increasing rate (which it looks like it will based on all of the models) then we will absolutely be in a Venus situation within less than a million years. Extrapolate this model and extend it at the current rate 500 years and you've got a 200 degree increase of overall temperature for the planet. 400 degrees in 1000 years. And so on. So basically I was being very very conservative in saying it could be a million years before it happens. Based on the best climate models, if extrapolated to a few thousand years, we'll be another Venus

The four bolded sentences were clearly to be taken literally as part of your argument. And all four show staggering ignorance.

athon
14th April 2007, 04:25 PM
While yes, in a perfect world, a good argument should stand by itself, this is not a perfect world. I would agree that dustin's debate skills could use some serious refining, however the crux of your disagreement seems to lie in the interpretation of his evidence. You argue that the CO2 charts he is using cannot be extrapolated in a linear manner over a period of hundreds of years while he says that they can. Since no one has provided documentation either way (only grossly misunderstood metaphors), it comes down to who should one believe. Thus, I would say that at this point, academic credentials are relavent to the discussion unless one of you can site a paper that explains why those graphs are valid under current models for x number of years.

Dustin's graph extrapolation relies on his extending the lines as a current trend for an indefinite amount of time, with his assumption that this can be done infinitely (or at least to a time in the far, far future of his choosing). This assumes that CO2 levels will continue indefinitely and / or that there are no negative feedback mechanisms, only positive ones. It doesn't take an expert in global environment studies to see the flaw in this.

CO2 levels aren't endless. Furthermore, the CO2 we're releasing is in the form of fossil fuels, and of those, only the fossil fuels we are able to access directly and convert. So there is a finite level of CO2 that can be placed into the atmosphere. For Dustin to make the claim that this level is sufficient to create a Venus-like environment, he must demonstrate that with evidence.

Secondly, our oceans are great stablising force when it comes to temperatures and atmospheric gas ratios. This comes at a cost; variations across the globe in terms of climate and local weather patterns are extremely susceptible to changes in oceanic currents, affected by haloclines (salt differences) and thermoclines (temperature differences). Furthermore, while the ocean can suck up a lot of CO2, this does make it more acidic, making it difficult for calcium-shelled animals to retain their shell's integrity, inevitably killing them.

None-the-less, the impact of our global water bodies on warming is to be taken into account. I don't deny global warming and great changes in weather patterns, yet considering we are vastly different to Venus in chemical composition, position in the solar system (much further away from the sun than Venus), and climactic feedback mechanisms, it is up to Dustin to demonstrate sufficient similarity to argue that we will also achieve a runaway greenhouse effect.

The awful thing is that he might indeed be correct. Give the evidence, I might agree. If Dustin had expertise, he would see the need for evidence beyond a graph. But Dustin has no evidence, he argues emotively and passionately, but insensibly. Sadly, it's his kind who detracts from the climate debate.

Athon

Dustin Kesselberg
14th April 2007, 04:28 PM
No, there's no documentation that one can look at a co2 vs time plot with a 100 year projection, and extrapolate from that 1000years hence using an exponential plot because it's an utterly ridiculous thing to do. You don't need documentation to know that, just a basic grasp of maths and modelling. High school level should be sufficient.

For you to claim it wasn't meant to be taken literally is simply disingenous -



The four bolded sentences were clearly to be taken literally as part of your argument. And all four show staggering ignorance.


The only one showing ignorance is you. Let me quote what I said and underline the most important aspect of it...

Based on the best climate models, if extrapolated to a few thousand years, we'll be another Venus.

I never said that they could absolutely be extrapolated to a few thousand years or even a few hundred. I simply used it as an example of potential climate change.

athon
14th April 2007, 04:39 PM
The crux of his disagreement seems to he his presumptuous philosophy that aesthetic arguments can't be rational arguments for preservation of species and wildlife.

You have not demonstrated how aesthetics are rational. Aesthetics are opinions based on the emotions one has to an observation. They are subjective - in that they are personal views which cannot be objectively right or wrong.

If they are neither right nor wrong, an aesthetic opinion cannot be used on its own in the place of reason in an argument. It can be a means to an end in itself (i.e., X cannot be done as it will make me unhappy, and I personally do not want to be unhappy). But simply stating that X cannot be done because it is aesthetically displeasing is assuming that this is an objective outcome for all, which is false.

If 99% of the planet's population couldn't care less about the extinction of some organisms, then should they be saved? I'm sure you would continue to argue they should. It is where the generalised 'aesthetics is reasonable' argument falls down.

Athon

andyandy
14th April 2007, 04:45 PM
I never said that they could absolutely be extrapolated to a few thousand years or even a few hundred. I simply used it as an example of potential climate change.



dustin, in the context of this sentence if is equivilent to when. If you want to argue that it was an example, then why would you choose an example that was completely and utterly ludicrous?

Using the climate trends for 100 to extrapolate temperature in 1000 years isn't that crazy.

Yes it is. Utterly stupid.

If current trends continue, there's really nothing that would prevent it from going that far.

Statement based on if clause. Yes there is. This is simply wrong.


That's over 40 degrees in about 90 years.

Statement. This is completely wrong.



If it continues at that increasing rate (which it looks like it will based on all of the models)

Statement. This is completely wrong.




then we will absolutely be in a Venus situation within less than a million years.

Statement based on if clause. Shows complete lack of understanding about exponential growth and about the actual temperature of Venus. Venus is only about 450 degrees C - so by your reasoning we should reach this in just over 1000 years. We will be hotter than the sun in about 18,000 years. In a milion years the temperature will be 200x21999 degrees C. This is such a stupendously large number that the calculator isn't up to the task, but for reference we can see that 200x21000 is 2.14301721 × 10303 - and this should be big enough to cast some doubt on your modelling ability....

Extrapolate this model and extend it at the current rate 500 years and you've got a 200 degree increase of overall temperature for the planet.

A ludicrous suggestion based on a complete lack of knowledge of exponential growth or climate science.

Dustin, how old are you? Seriously....i have a working premise that you're about 16-17....and that really is the only mitigating factor i apply when reading your posts.

Dustin Kesselberg
14th April 2007, 04:53 PM
You have not demonstrated how aesthetics are rational. Aesthetics are opinions based on the emotions one has to an observation. They are subjective - in that they are personal views which cannot be objectively right or wrong.

If they are neither right nor wrong, an aesthetic opinion cannot be used on its own in the place of reason in an argument. It can be a means to an end in itself (i.e., X cannot be done as it will make me unhappy, and I personally do not want to be unhappy). But simply stating that X cannot be done because it is aesthetically displeasing is assuming that this is an objective outcome for all, which is false.

If 99% of the planet's population couldn't care less about the extinction of some organisms, then should they be saved? I'm sure you would continue to argue they should. It is where the generalised 'aesthetics is reasonable' argument falls down.

Athon

To avoid going in circles...


So? Subjective things can't be rationalized? This doesn't make one bit of sense.

What definition of "Subjective" are you using? Provide a link. I can't find a single definition of the word that fits the way you're using it.


It's not a complicated definition; subjective, as in 'Proceeding from or taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world' (http://www.answers.com/topic/subjective) (http://www.answers.com/topic/subjective%29). Aesthetics is a subjective opinion.


So based on your definition of "subjective" which means 'taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world' would you argue that your thoughts aren't rational since they take place inside of your mind and not in the external world?

Dustin Kesselberg
14th April 2007, 04:54 PM
dustin, in the context of this sentence if is equivilent to when. If you want to argue that it was an example, then why would you choose an example that was completely and utterly ludicrous?


How is "if" equal to "when" in the context?

andyandy
14th April 2007, 05:02 PM
How is "if" equal to "when" in the context?

dustin, we've already established from other threads that you don't understand context.

Either it was meant as when [as the context of your paragraph implies] and it was a completely incorrect statement, or it was used purely to denote a hypothetical situation, in which case it was a misleading and wholly ridiculous example to give. Whichever you want.

care to address the rest of the post?

xingyifa
14th April 2007, 05:17 PM
In this world or a perfect world.
Sure, My debate skills could improve. Anyones could. But I'd be willing to bet I'm better at it than you are. ;)


Nope.


And even if I were a famous climatologist with decades of experience, It would be irrelevant to my argument and would lend no credence to it.

This would only be the case if your argument stood by itself by supporting every point using the most applicable peer reviewed science available. You haven't used any peer reviewed literature that I recall nor have you defended criticisms of your arguments with them. You HAVE however, made a fair number of statements and claims. Without proper scientific backing, how can they be taken to be anything other than your own opinion. As such, I find myself wondering what your opinion is worth...

This would lead back to the question of credentials...


There's no "documentation" that the climate models can be extrapolated for hundreds more years. It was an assumption offering an example of how hot Earth could possibly get.

So that's like...an opinion?


There are no such papers proving any such thing and still, our credentials are irrelevant.

So... regarding the climate graphs: that was all just your opinion?

Dustin Kesselberg
14th April 2007, 06:55 PM
dustin, we've already established from other threads that you don't understand context.

Too vague. Be specific.

Either it was meant as when [as the context of your paragraph implies] and it was a completely incorrect statement, or it was used purely to denote a hypothetical situation, in which case it was a misleading and wholly ridiculous example to give. Whichever you want.

How was it misleading if it was a hypothetical situation?

care to address the rest of the post?

There's nothing much to address that I haven't already addressed. (http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=2506477&postcount=101)

Dustin Kesselberg
14th April 2007, 06:59 PM
This would only be the case if your argument stood by itself by supporting every point using the most applicable peer reviewed science available.

That's the case if my argument has all of the evidence in the world or no evidence at all. If I had no evidence then my being an expert would lend credence to my claims? Experts don't need evidence?


You haven't used any peer reviewed literature that I recall nor have you defended criticisms of your arguments with them.

So?

You HAVE however, made a fair number of statements and claims. Without proper scientific backing, how can they be taken to be anything other than your own opinion. As such, I find myself wondering what your opinion is worth...

For the statements and claims I have made, I have explained how they are correct. Without proper scientific backing? I need to be an expert to have "scientific backing"? So if I claim that "Evolution is a fact", my not being a biologist means the statement has no scientific backing?


This would lead back to the question of credentials...

Which are Irrelevant.


So that's like...an opinion?

No. The correct term is "hypothetical example".


So... regarding the climate graphs: that was all just your opinion?

No. The correct term is "hypothetical example".

xingyifa
14th April 2007, 07:45 PM
For the statements and claims I have made, I have explained how they are correct. Without proper scientific backing?

You have explained poorly. You have not provided any evidence or scientific backing... thus, your statements and claims are opinion.

I need to be an expert to have "scientific backing"?

No... and arguments from authority are weak. However, at this point, an argument from authority would be a step up for you. So, can you provide peer reviewed evidence that any of your theories are valid? Can you at least provide credentials that would make anyone think you have anything worthwhile to say?

Let me give another example. A world reknowned phycisist writes a paper on the nature of some obscure phenomenon within his field of expertise. The paper doesn't include any of the math that would support his conclusion, but he is a scientist of good repute and other scientists have already confirmed his findings. Under these circumstances, it would not be unreasonable to take his paper at face value. Is there any reason anyone should think you're not just making things up at this point?

So if I claim that "Evolution is a fact", my not being a biologist means the statement has no scientific backing?

No. The claim would still require the same peer-reviewed evidence as any other scientific claim you could make. However, you being a biologist would at least let me know that I could discuss this with you as an equal, and it would let other people know that they could read something you wrote without having to fact check every last detail as you probably have some idea what you are talking about.

No. The correct term is "hypothetical example".

So you made it up and posted it on a forum of skeptics without any evidence, but it's not really your opinion??? You just pulled something out of your butt for the hell of it?

No. The correct term is "hypothetical example".

You're not very good at this are you?

athon
14th April 2007, 08:30 PM
So based on your definition of "subjective" which means 'taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world' would you argue that your thoughts aren't rational since they take place inside of your mind and not in the external world?

Using aesthetics as an objective outcome? Yes, it is irrational.

Athon

andyandy
14th April 2007, 11:44 PM
There's nothing much to address that I haven't already addressed. (http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=2506477&postcount=101)



good grief

let's have a look how you "addressed" this....

I have already explained that the Venus example was not supposed to be taken literally. It was just an example of what greenhouse effects can do and how earth can compare.

ok, let's see how well that "addresses" the criticism...


Using the climate trends for 100 to extrapolate temperature in 1000 years isn't that crazy.

Statement. Yes it is. Utterly stupid.
Dustin defence - I didn't mean this to be taken literally.


If current trends continue, there's really nothing that would prevent it from going that far.

Statement based on if clause. Yes there is. This is simply wrong.
Dustin defence - I didn't mean for this to be taken literally.


That's over 40 degrees in about 90 years.

Statement. This is completely wrong.
Dustin defence - I didn't mean for this to be taken literally.


If it continues at that increasing rate (which it looks like it will based on all of the models)

Statement. This is completely wrong.
Dustin defence - I didn't mean for this to be taken literally.


then we will absolutely be in a Venus situation within less than a million years.

Statement based on if clause. Shows complete lack of understanding about exponential growth and about the actual temperature of Venus. Venus is only about 450 degrees C - so by your reasoning we should reach this in just over 1000 years. We will be hotter than the sun in about 18,000 years. In a milion years the temperature will be 200x21999 degrees C.

Dustin defence - I didn't mean for this to be taken literally.


The paragraph i highlighted contains statements which are factually inaccurate. So inaccurate that they show a really basic ignorance of this topic. But these statements were not meant to be taken literally? How else do you propose these statements should be taken? As ignorant ramblings of someone who hasn't the first notion of what he's saying?

Eating bananas makes your skin turn yellow.

no they don't - that's ridiculous.

that statement wasn't supposed to be taken literally.

so it was wrong? Wholly ignorant of the topic? An idiotic thing to say?

no it was a hypothetical example of what would happen if you ate bananas and then your skin turned yellow.

so we can't be confident that any of your statements are actually meant to be true?

:words: (repeat ad nauseum, until securing the last post on the matter, hence "winning" the argument)

*sigh*

Dustin, why do you continue to argue? You're just embarrassing yourself. I might have to revise my age estimate down, 15-16 perhaps? How old are you? Really?

Dustin Kesselberg
15th April 2007, 08:22 AM
Using aesthetics as an objective outcome? Yes, it is irrational.

Athon

You didn't answer my question.

So based on your definition of "subjective" which means 'taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world' would you argue that your thoughts aren't rational since they take place inside of your mind and not in the external world?

Dustin Kesselberg
15th April 2007, 08:33 AM
You have explained poorly. You have not provided any evidence or scientific backing... thus, your statements and claims are opinion.

Failing to prove every detail of a hypothetical example means I have "explained poorly"?


No... and arguments from authority are weak. However, at this point, an argument from authority would be a step up for you. So, can you provide peer reviewed evidence that any of your theories are valid? Can you at least provide credentials that would make anyone think you have anything worthwhile to say?


If what I say is wrong then all of the credentials in the world wouldn't change that.


Let me give another example. A world reknowned phycisist writes a paper on the nature of some obscure phenomenon within his field of expertise. The paper doesn't include any of the math that would support his conclusion, but he is a scientist of good repute and other scientists have already confirmed his findings. Under these circumstances, it would not be unreasonable to take his paper at face value. Is there any reason anyone should think you're not just making things up at this point?

Scientists would not take his paper at face value. If Hawking wrote some paper and failed to prove his conclusions, scientists would not take it at face value.


No. The claim would still require the same peer-reviewed evidence as any other scientific claim you could make.

I know.

However, you being a biologist would at least let me know that I could discuss this with you as an equal,

What do you mean "discuss it with me as an equal"? Are you claiming that the only way someone could have equal knowledge about evolution as "you" do is to be a biologist? :confused:

and it would let other people know that they could read something you wrote without having to fact check every last detail as you probably have some idea what you are talking about.

It's probably best to fact check every last detail whenever you read anything. At least in your own head. Meaning, Never take anything at face value when there's nothing supporting it. If it doesn't agree with what you already know and provides no proof to support what it says then there's no reason to believe it.

So you made it up and posted it on a forum of skeptics without any evidence, but it's not really your opinion??? You just pulled something out of your butt for the hell of it?

Do you know what a "hypothetical example" is? It's not supposed to be 100% factual. It's just supposed to be a rough point based on assumption to use as an example. It's like saying, "Ok, Imagine if I were falling at 55 mph..." This situation doesn't have to be real and it never needed to of happened. It's an "example" used to further a point.

Dustin Kesselberg
15th April 2007, 08:38 AM
Statement. Yes it is. Utterly stupid.
Dustin defence - I didn't mean this to be taken literally.




Statement based on if clause. Yes there is. This is simply wrong.
Dustin defence - I didn't mean for this to be taken literally.




Statement. This is completely wrong.
Dustin defence - I didn't mean for this to be taken literally.




Statement. This is completely wrong.
Dustin defence - I didn't mean for this to be taken literally.

And? :confused:




Statement based on if clause. Shows complete lack of understanding about exponential growth and about the actual temperature of Venus. Venus is only about 450 degrees C - so by your reasoning we should reach this in just over 1000 years. We will be hotter than the sun in about 18,000 years. In a milion years the temperature will be 200x21999 degrees C.

Dustin defence - I didn't mean for this to be taken literally.

Actually, My defense was "I would not of extrapolated it that far." For obvious reasons.


The paragraph i highlighted contains statements which are factually inaccurate. So inaccurate that they show a really basic ignorance of this topic. But these statements were not meant to be taken literally? How else do you propose these statements should be taken? As ignorant ramblings of someone who hasn't the first notion of what he's saying?

I'm afraid you haven't done anything but dissect examples not to be taken literally and shown your lack of understanding of "hypothetical examples". The statements were supposed to be used as rough examples of how greenhouse effects work. That's it.

Eating bananas makes your skin turn yellow.

no they don't - that's ridiculous.

that statement wasn't supposed to be taken literally.

so it was wrong? Wholly ignorant of the topic? An idiotic thing to say?

no it was a hypothetical example of what would happen if you ate bananas and then your skin turned yellow.

so we can't be confident that any of your statements are actually meant to be true?

:words: (repeat ad nauseum, until securing the last post on the matter, hence "winning" the argument)

*sigh*

Dustin, why do you continue to argue? You're just embarrassing yourself. I might have to revise my age estimate down, 15-16 perhaps? How old are you? Really?


Is there anything worthy of addressing here? It doesn't look like it.

andyandy
15th April 2007, 10:44 AM
And? :confused:

well that's fine - we can just assume that any statements you make are actually "not to be taken literally" - as in not true. :rolleyes:

Is there anything worthy of addressing here? It doesn't look like it.

No you've done a fine job of making yourself look foolish. You don't need to add anything else.

spaghetti grows on pasta trees

no it doesn't - that's ridiculous.

that statement wasn't supposed to be taken literally.

so it was wrong? Wholly ignorant of the topic? An idiotic thing to say?

no it was a hypothetical example of what would happen if spaghetti grew on pasta trees

so we can't be confident that any of your statements are actually meant to be true?

(repeat ad nauseum, until securing the last post on the matter, hence "winning" the argument)

You could always address how old you are though...you seem rather reticent on the issue....i wonder why?

Ginarley
15th April 2007, 03:08 PM
I have always thought biomass far more important than bio diversity. The history of this planet is full of major extinction events that have resulted in radiation of speices to fill vacant environments.

Agree entirely, imo individual species really don't matter that much in the grand scheme of things.

xingyifa
15th April 2007, 04:28 PM
Failing to prove every detail of a hypothetical example means I have "explained poorly"?

You failed to support any of your claims. Thus, if one were to assume that there were a factual basis for any of them, you have explained said claims extremely poorly.

If what I say is wrong then all of the credentials in the world wouldn't change that.

That's true. I'd just like to hear you admit you have no background that would allow you to sit at the grownups table regarding any science-based discussion.

Scientists would not take his paper at face value. If Hawking wrote some paper and failed to prove his conclusions, scientists would not take it at face value.

You only continue to prove how little you know about how science works. It is quite common for researchers to leave key pieces of information out of a journal article when they are paying hundreds of dollars per page to have it published. If the researchers are held in good repute within their field, and their findings do not contradict known scientific principles, then reviewers, editors, and readers generally let it slide.

The thing is, few people would have the background to understand the complex mathematical models that go into creating the pretty climate charts you are bandying about. I recognize that there is a distinct possibility that I might not appreciate how all the variables would factor in. Thus, if you were a well-reputed scientist who could site the papers where the information necessary to validate your arguments might be found, I would not expect you to try to laboriously explain the complete ecomechanical models that were used to create the charts. I would accept your authoritative opinion as long as it didn't conflict with the current body of scientific knowledge and you could provide me with sources of verification.

You see Dustin, in science, it is not possible to personally validate every paper and experiment that comes out. At some point, you have to accept that peer-reviewed published results are actually reflecting experimental data and try to use that to build off of. If you were a scientist you would understand that some things have to be accepted on authority if progress is to be made. If other conflicting results are discovered later, then modifications can be made to current theories. This is science 101. Why don't you know this after posting on these forums for almost three years?

What do you mean "discuss it with me as an equal"? Are you claiming that the only way someone could have equal knowledge about evolution as "you" do is to be a biologist? :confused:

I mean that I could conduct the conversation as if I were talking to someone who understands the foundational tenets and theories of that particular discipline; someone who understands how science works. You don't appear to know much of anything about science. Thus, I have to talk to you as a layman and reexplain things that would be common sense to a scientist.

Do you know what a "hypothetical example" is? It's not supposed to be 100% factual. It's just supposed to be a rough point based on assumption to use as an example. It's like saying, "Ok, Imagine if I were falling at 55 mph..." This situation doesn't have to be real and it never needed to of happened. It's an "example" used to further a point.

"Hypothetical example" is not some sort of technical debating term. The way you use it, it means: "weasel way for explaining junk I pulled out of my butt to try to prove a point by stating it as factual, that later was shown to be completely incorrect."

So at this point, you have made a variety of claims on a board full of skeptics. These claims have been disputed (accurately) and you have failed to support or defend any of them. Shouldn't you site some evidence or abandon ship?

athon
15th April 2007, 04:54 PM
You didn't answer my question.

So based on your definition of "subjective" which means 'taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world' would you argue that your thoughts aren't rational since they take place inside of your mind and not in the external world?

God, it's almost painful watching you so obviously struggle to build a strawman straw by straw.

Ok, let's unravel the definition of subjective. In its most pure form, it simply means 'of the mind', however most definitions of the term imply the role bias, emotional reasoning and personal preference has. The quickest of searches provides a site which has numerous definitions covering these; http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:subjective&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title

While rational thought can only occur within the mind (where else is it going to occur?) it in itself is a subjective process. Is it rational? Rational implies reason and logic, which in themselves are significant due to the fact that it is consistent in time. What is logical now is logical later. That is why we use reason - if I make a decision on an event in the future, I have the best chance of having the outcome of my decision be as predicted.

Subjective outcomes are open to inconsistancy as a result of the emotional and personal biases. Emotions change depending on the situation, hence if not taken into account (or treated as objective outcomes), decisions will not have predictable outcomes.

So, your question is poorly phrased and leading. Subjective thoughts are not what I'm talking about, but rather subjective outcomes. Aesthetics is a subjective outcome - it is a personal view. The fact that we should keep pandas because of aesthetic reasons is irrational. The fact that we should keep pandas as people currently like them, and we want to endeavour to make people happy, is rational.

Of course, the second statement needs to be verified quantitatively, but the essence of the argument is there.

Athon

athon
15th April 2007, 04:56 PM
spaghetti grows on pasta trees

no it doesn't - that's ridiculous.

that statement wasn't supposed to be taken literally.

so it was wrong? Wholly ignorant of the topic? An idiotic thing to say?

no it was a hypothetical example of what would happen if spaghetti grew on pasta trees

so we can't be confident that any of your statements are actually meant to be true?

(repeat ad nauseum, until securing the last post on the matter, hence "winning" the argument)

:D

You could always address how old you are though...you seem rather reticent on the issue....i wonder why?

I've wondered the same thing. I hope for his sake he's some adolescent who thinks he's doing well in junior science...

Athon

CplFerro
15th April 2007, 05:13 PM
...Shouldn't you site some evidence or abandon ship?

Dear xingyifa,

All I have to contribute to this argument is that the word is spelled "cite" as in "citation" not "site" and "sitation."

Cheers,

Cpl Ferro

xingyifa
15th April 2007, 11:46 PM
lol indeed.

Old man
16th April 2007, 01:02 PM
Dustin, how old are you? Seriously....i have a working premise that you're about 16-17... My best guess (formulated part way through page one) is that Dustin is a 15 - 16 year old girl who's just discovered 'love', is taking an Earth Science course taught by a young, hot 'enviromentalist', and now wants to save all of the those cute, fuzzy little animals that the rest of us just don't care enough about.:D

Khyron
16th April 2007, 02:56 PM
my guess was that this "discussion" will drag into at least 40 pages, without ever really going anywhere, as we just argue about logical fallacies with Our Dear Dustin. I'll be back on page 40 if so.

My real input:

Extinctions of individual species don't matter for the most part. They only become important in two cases: certain "essential species" in various ecosystems whose loss puts the entire ecosystem out of business (Giant Sequoia, for example, shape the entire ecosystem they live in) or fragile "canary species" whose demise can be used to show threats to ecosystem health.

The former are rarely the latter, and the latter can only be worth conservation efforts in abstract ways. Assuming that a ecosystem is physically protected from development, effort should be spent on improving ecosystem health as a whole - e.g. ability to support the keystone species even if they aren't endangered - rather than striving to preserve the canaries. Since many ecosystems have multiple "essential" species, this can be challenging enough without having to try to save every single species.

athon
16th April 2007, 03:56 PM
my guess was that this "discussion" will drag into at least 40 pages, without ever really going anywhere, as we just argue about logical fallacies with Our Dear Dustin. I'll be back on page 40 if so.

My real input:

Extinctions of individual species don't matter for the most part. They only become important in two cases: certain "essential species" in various ecosystems whose loss puts the entire ecosystem out of business (Giant Sequoia, for example, shape the entire ecosystem they live in) or fragile "canary species" whose demise can be used to show threats to ecosystem health.

The former are rarely the latter, and the latter can only be worth conservation efforts in abstract ways. Assuming that a ecosystem is physically protected from development, effort should be spent on improving ecosystem health as a whole - e.g. ability to support the keystone species even if they aren't endangered - rather than striving to preserve the canaries. Since many ecosystems have multiple "essential" species, this can be challenging enough without having to try to save every single species.

Damn well said, Khyron. Thanks.

Athon

xingyifa
16th April 2007, 06:17 PM
Extinctions of individual species don't matter for the most part. They only become important in two cases: certain "essential species" in various ecosystems whose loss puts the entire ecosystem out of business (Giant Sequoia, for example, shape the entire ecosystem they live in) or fragile "canary species" whose demise can be used to show threats to ecosystem health.

The former are rarely the latter, and the latter can only be worth conservation efforts in abstract ways. Assuming that a ecosystem is physically protected from development, effort should be spent on improving ecosystem health as a whole - e.g. ability to support the keystone species even if they aren't endangered - rather than striving to preserve the canaries. Since many ecosystems have multiple "essential" species, this can be challenging enough without having to try to save every single species.



This would be more or less my current understanding as well. I also find it amusing that this is the first mention of the term "keystone species" on this thread:) ... A further indication that Dustin didn't research this topic before starting a thread debating it.

delphi_ote
16th April 2007, 07:13 PM
What about another kind of species? Not a keystone species or "canary in the mine" type species, but species whose evolutionary niche is "complex". I'm not sure what other word to use, but I'm thinking of species like whales or elephants or polar bears or apes. Animals that have long life spans and have developed social structures and other long term survival strategies. Those kinds of animals take a very long evolutionary period to develop. In a sense, their niche is stacked on top of a lot of other niches.

Preserving this type of critter doesn't seem like a waste to me. It seems very important. They represent hundreds of thousands of years of development. If they're gone, there may very well not be a replacement in the lifetime of our species. There's a sense of scale here we should all find sobering. Think of all of the recorded history of human civilization. That represents just a tiny fraction of the time it took these animals to develop.

Ginarley
16th April 2007, 08:35 PM
Well said Khyron - that's the point I was trying to make, albeit somewhat less eloquently :)

What about another kind of species? Not a keystone species or "canary in the mine" type species, but species whose evolutionary niche is "complex". I'm not sure what other word to use, but I'm thinking of species like whales or elephants or polar bears or apes. Animals that have long life spans and have developed social structures and other long term survival strategies. Those kinds of animals take a very long evolutionary period to develop. In a sense, their niche is stacked on top of a lot of other niches.

Preserving this type of critter doesn't seem like a waste to me. It seems very important. They represent hundreds of thousands of years of development. If they're gone, there may very well not be a replacement in the lifetime of our species. There's a sense of scale here we should all find sobering. Think of all of the recorded history of human civilization. That represents just a tiny fraction of the time it took these animals to develop.

I agree that there are human-based (e.g. research or emotional) reasons for preserving these complex animals (and personally I am all for it) but it is important that we are honest about the reasons we are doing it, and don't try and hide behind misguided notions of ecosystem integrity or some other notion they are "needed".

athon
16th April 2007, 08:36 PM
What about another kind of species? Not a keystone species or "canary in the mine" type species, but species whose evolutionary niche is "complex". I'm not sure what other word to use, but I'm thinking of species like whales or elephants or polar bears or apes. Animals that have long life spans and have developed social structures and other long term survival strategies. Those kinds of animals take a very long evolutionary period to develop. In a sense, their niche is stacked on top of a lot of other niches.

Preserving this type of critter doesn't seem like a waste to me. It seems very important. They represent hundreds of thousands of years of development. If they're gone, there may very well not be a replacement in the lifetime of our species. There's a sense of scale here we should all find sobering. Think of all of the recorded history of human civilization. That represents just a tiny fraction of the time it took these animals to develop.


The argument, though, is whether it is an aesthetic appreciation we have (one which causes us to marvel at the complexity of biodiversity, at the fact such things take so much time to develop) or one which has an appreciable effect on human well being if it is removed.

An elephant indeed has a niche, and is an amazing creature. If it was gone, its niche might be unfilled for some time or be rapidly taken over by another organism; either way, the knock-on effect would be relatively minor, with few other species relying solely on the elephant to exist. Humans relying on that ecosystem for resources would find it easy to adjust to the loss of all elephants.

Does this mean we should wipe out elephants? No. For one thing, I personally happen to like biodiversity, and feel that as a whole it is important. It is not a universal, rational reason why we should keep them, but it does support my view of why I personally wouldn't like it.

Liken it to stalactites growing in a cave; there's no rational reason for or against vandals destroying them - but I'd be well and truly pissed if some little bugger came in and smashed them all to pieces.

Athon

Jeff Corey
16th April 2007, 08:44 PM
Well said Khyron - that's the point I was trying to make, albeit somewhat less eloquently :)



I agree that there are human-based (e.g. research or emotional) reasons for preserving these complex animals (and personally I am all for it) but it is important that we are honest about the reasons we are doing it, and don't try and hide behind misguided notions of ecosystem integrity or some other notion they are "needed".
Bees.

Ginarley
16th April 2007, 08:48 PM
Bees.

:confused: lol

delphi_ote
16th April 2007, 09:44 PM
An elephant indeed has a niche, and is an amazing creature. If it was gone, its niche might be unfilled for some time or be rapidly taken over by another organism; either way, the knock-on effect would be relatively minor, with few other species relying solely on the elephant to exist. Humans relying on that ecosystem for resources would find it easy to adjust to the loss of all elephants.
While I agree this is probably true, I think we should be very cautious about it. This is a decision that can't be undone, and it might have implications we haven't thought of just yet. For example, an organism that rapidly takes over the elephant's niche might itself be dangerous to humans. Or there may be something we have yet to learn from elephants that would be lost if we wiped them out.

Personally, if I weigh that against the relatively small cost of the collective effort necessary to preserve its habitat, I'd just as soon proceed with caution.
Liken it to stalactites growing in a cave; there's no rational reason for or against vandals destroying them - but I'd be well and truly pissed if some little bugger came in and smashed them all to pieces.
Very well put. I think there's a little more to my objection than that, but I definitely share your sentiment.

athon
16th April 2007, 10:50 PM
While I agree this is probably true, I think we should be very cautious about it. This is a decision that can't be undone, and it might have implications we haven't thought of just yet. For example, an organism that rapidly takes over the elephant's niche might itself be dangerous to humans. Or there may be something we have yet to learn from elephants that would be lost if we wiped them out.

True. There is obviously the chance benefit in having a range of organisms for all manner of discoveries, but again I wouldn't equate that necessarily with being of any great salvation to surrounding human populations. As for the possibility that the removal of some species might create a serious knock-on which results in plagues, pox or pestilence of sorts, I can't say that this is impossible. Yet arguing for adverse unknowns in the face of risk doesn't make for a rational argument, and this is what Dustin was trying to articulate.

Such a risk is not limited to just an extinction event of a single species. Indeed anything we humans do opens ourselves to possibly adverse effects. We make decisions not on the absence of evidence that indicates a speculated or imagined risk, but the information we do have which indicates an actual potential risk.

True, we can't undo it once it has been done, but this is the same argument against genetic engineering. The answer there is not to avoid it, but to be well informed inorder to describe those actual potential risks rather than avoid the whole issue due to speculated risks. The only difference is that there is a benefit to genetic engineering, while the destruction of a species has no benefit at all.

As Ginarly said, this is not about an argument which says we should push for extinction. It is about being honest about our reasons rather than abusing reason and science to support our emotional desires for biodiversity.

Athon

Schneibster
17th April 2007, 01:13 AM
Bees.Yep.

Dustin Kesselberg
17th April 2007, 12:27 PM
Agree entirely, imo individual species really don't matter that much in the grand scheme of things.

I disagree. "Biomass" is the raw amount of life. It's not the amount of diversity. What advantages does "Biomass" have over biodiversity for us humans here and now? How does "Biomass" fit any of the criteria to prevent extinction I listed in the 1st post?

Dustin Kesselberg
17th April 2007, 12:34 PM
Ok, let's unravel the definition of subjective. In its most pure form, it simply means 'of the mind', however most definitions of the term imply the role bias, emotional reasoning and personal preference has. The quickest of searches provides a site which has numerous definitions covering these; http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:subjective&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title


What definition are YOU using then? You can only pick one.


While rational thought can only occur within the mind (where else is it going to occur?) it in itself is a subjective process. Is it rational? Rational implies reason and logic, which in themselves are significant due to the fact that it is consistent in time. What is logical now is logical later. That is why we use reason - if I make a decision on an event in the future, I have the best chance of having the outcome of my decision be as predicted.

This is all true.(though I don't quite understand the last bit) Yet it doesn't jive with your claim that "Subjective can't be rational".

Subjective outcomes are open to inconsistancy as a result of the emotional and personal biases. Emotions change depending on the situation, hence if not taken into account (or treated as objective outcomes), decisions will not have predictable outcomes.

I don't know what you're saying here.

Subjective outcomes are open to inconsistency? What are "Subjective outcomes" exactly?

Emotions change depending on the situation, hence if not taken into account (or treated as objective outcomes), decisions will not have predictable outcomes. What does "Treated as objective outcomes" mean exactly?


So, your question is poorly phrased and leading. Subjective thoughts are not what I'm talking about, but rather subjective outcomes. Aesthetics is a subjective outcome - it is a personal view. The fact that we should keep pandas because of aesthetic reasons is irrational. The fact that we should keep pandas as people currently like them, and we want to endeavour to make people happy, is rational.

How is using aesthetics as an argument against extinction a "subjective outcome" exactly?

Dustin Kesselberg
17th April 2007, 12:35 PM
My best guess (formulated part way through page one) is that Dustin is a 15 - 16 year old girl who's just discovered 'love', is taking an Earth Science course taught by a young, hot 'enviromentalist', and now wants to save all of the those cute, fuzzy little animals that the rest of us just don't care enough about.:D

I'm a man and I'm over 20.

Let me ask you a question. "Old man". Do you want to prevent extinction? Yes or No?

Dustin Kesselberg
17th April 2007, 12:39 PM
Extinctions of individual species don't matter for the most part. They only become important in two cases: certain "essential species" in various ecosystems whose loss puts the entire ecosystem out of business (Giant Sequoia, for example, shape the entire ecosystem they live in) or fragile "canary species" whose demise can be used to show threats to ecosystem health.

Your two instances of extinction mattering is actually only one type of instance. Ecosystem sustainability. However I mentioned two other reasons to care about extinction in my 1st post.

1. We currently simply don't know which DNA of which species might be able to be used in the future to cure any number of diseases, cancer for instance. It could be that in the near future we will discover a method of using the DNA from some obscure jelly fish to breast cancer. But unfortunately that Jelly Fish might of went extinct because we didn't think it could of been of any use.

2. The fact that we want future generations to be able to observe their beauty directly, and not just from a text book. How tragic would it be for your offspring to blame your generation for not being able to witness first hand, many species that are currently going extinct? I for one, would of loved to of seen the Dodo bird or the Thylacine, or even the recently extinct Chinese river dolphin.

The former are rarely the latter, and the latter can only be worth conservation efforts in abstract ways. Assuming that a ecosystem is physically protected from development, effort should be spent on improving ecosystem health as a whole - e.g. ability to support the keystone species even if they aren't endangered - rather than striving to preserve the canaries. Since many ecosystems have multiple "essential" species, this can be challenging enough without having to try to save every single species.

This is true. However we can't write off any species as "worthless" or as you put it they "don't matter for the most part". This sort of attitude is the reason we're losing so many species.

athon
17th April 2007, 05:14 PM
Subjective outcomes are open to inconsistency? What are "Subjective outcomes" exactly?

You know, if somebody is genuinely out to learn something, I don't mind explaining stuff. But when somebody is obviously somewhat slow on the uptake and has great trouble understanding things acts as if they have all the answers already, it's called 'arrogance'. You, Dustin, are an arrogant person.

Since I'm endeavouring not to change your mind as much as continue to debate for anybody following it;

Subjective outcomes are those outcomes you strive to attain which are subjective. I'll give you an example; 'I wish to be beautiful'. Beauty is subjective, being beautiful is a subjective outcome.

What does "Treated as objective outcomes" mean exactly?

It means the outcome needs no judgement to be declared true or not. It is evident by its existance, and not by my perception of it.

In the case of extinction, if I don't find biodiversity all that aesthetically pleasing, your saving of the panda will by a waste of time and effort. Hence according to me, your claim that it is aesthetically pleasing to have biodiversity is incorrect. Yet neither of us are right or wrong.

How is using aesthetics as an argument against extinction a "subjective outcome" exactly?

Because it depends on our own, personal views of what is aesthetically pleasing.

Athon

Dustin Kesselberg
17th April 2007, 06:25 PM
Subjective outcomes are those outcomes you strive to attain which are subjective. I'll give you an example; 'I wish to be beautiful'. Beauty is subjective, being beautiful is a subjective outcome.

You claim that "Subjective outcomes are open to inconsistency as a result of the emotional and personal biases."

Going with your example "Striving for beauty is open to inconsistency as a result of the emotional and personal biases."? I don't quite understand this. What sort of inconsistency are we talking about? Inconsistency with what? With what people perceive as beautiful? No, That can't be relevant to your point. Inconsistent with initial goals?


It means the outcome needs no judgement to be declared true or not. It is evident by its existance, and not by my perception of it.

In the case of extinction, if I don't find biodiversity all that aesthetically pleasing, your saving of the panda will by a waste of time and effort. Hence according to me, your claim that it is aesthetically pleasing to have biodiversity is incorrect. Yet neither of us are right or wrong.

The fact that you personally don't find biodiversity aesthetically pleasing isn't relevant to the discussion of whether or not we should actually preserve the species. The reason being, You are one individual person. Does your desire outweigh the desire of millions of others? If I find it aesthetically pleasing to have as much biodiversity as possible, that is a logical motivation for me to preserve it. Even if everyone on the planet hated biodiversity, They still don't have a right to rob it from the next generation to enjoy it.

Because it depends on our own, personal views of what is aesthetically pleasing.

It doesn't depend on just my own personal views. It depends on the views many people. Also, as mentioned before, Does not enjoying something give you the right to take it away from others? To prevent them from preserving it? If there are 30 people living in a community and there is a public park enjoyed by let's say 10 people in the community. Do the 20 people who do not enjoy it have a right to destroy it? Or even prevent the 10 who do enjoy it from preserving it? No. Moreover, the 10 people who do enjoy it do have a logical reason to preserve it. The logical reason is the fact that they enjoy it. How isn't enjoying something a logical reason to preserve it?

athon
17th April 2007, 06:54 PM
You claim that "Subjective outcomes are open to inconsistency as a result of the emotional and personal biases."

Going with your example "Striving for beauty is open to inconsistency as a result of the emotional and personal biases."? I don't quite understand this. What sort of inconsistency are we talking about? Inconsistency with what? With what people perceive as beautiful? No, That can't be relevant to your point. Inconsistent with initial goals?

I've never said this before; to anyone - but Dustin, you are a complete fool. I say that in light of the fact you say you're over the age of 20. If you were an adolescent who was trying to act grown up, I'd probably be a little more lenient. Seriously, I'd call you a troll if you even had the brain cells to be taking piss out of me right now.

Beauty is a personal perception; what I find beautiful, another will not. Therefore it is a subjective outcome. If you don't understand this, I seriously don't think myself or anybody can help you. You're destined to struggle.

The fact that you personally don't find biodiversity aesthetically pleasing isn't relevant to the discussion of whether or not we should actually preserve the species. The reason being, You are one individual person. Does your desire outweigh the desire of millions of others?

Thank the gods you've finally worked that part out.

That's the point; it becomes a popularity issue. If 99% of the population desire something and want it, then they will work towards achieving it. This does not necessarily make it rational. It makes it an emotional exercise.

If most of the population wants to erect a statue because it looks good and they like looking at it, and it does no harm, then I would use the same argument. Most people don't like looking at graffitti, even though there's no rational reason why graffitti shouldn't be there. It's a matter of popular desire to ban it.

If I find it aesthetically pleasing to have as much biodiversity as possible, that is a logical motivation for me to preserve it.

No Dustin. It is an emotional motivation. In ten years time you might feel otherwise. Logic is consistent, remember?

It doesn't depend on just my own personal views. It depends on the views many people. Also, as mentioned before, Does not enjoying something give you the right to take it away from others? To prevent them from preserving it? If there are 30 people living in a community and there is a public park enjoyed by let's say 10 people in the community. Do the 20 people who do not enjoy it have a right to destroy it? Or even prevent the 10 who do enjoy it from preserving it? No. Moreover, the 10 people who do enjoy it do have a logical reason to preserve it. The logical reason is the fact that they enjoy it. How isn't enjoying something a logical reason to preserve it?

Honestly Dustin, I didn't call you a fool to insult you, but rather because you seriously are having great troubles reasoning anything here and then claim to fully understand the argument and to have a stance against it.

Your statement of morality in preserving things for the future is admirable, and I agree that from my view it would be a shame to lose it. But this is not a logical, rational statement, but one of personal emotions on the issue.

Athon

xingyifa
18th April 2007, 02:49 AM
Dustin
Is your grand argument now reduced to the point that your last refuge lies in the sentiment that subjective reasoning should have just as much validity as objective rationality?
Really?
On a board dedicated to skepticism??
Still no evidence for any of your other points???

The Painter
18th April 2007, 03:22 AM
Bees.

Hey, that’s no joke. The bees are dying and they are more important to us than the cute and cuddly animals.

http://www.propagandamatrix.com/articles/april2007/100407beesdying.htm

Kaarjuus
18th April 2007, 04:48 AM
Hey, that’s no joke. The bees are dying and they are more important to us than the cute and cuddly animals.

http://www.propagandamatrix.com/articles/april2007/100407beesdying.htm

Beekeepers themselves (http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=209114) seem to regard this more as a media hype.

And this does not appear to be novel (http://www.orsba.org/htdocs/download/Dtew.htm).

Old man
18th April 2007, 07:50 AM
Let me ask you a question. "Old man". Do you want to prevent extinction? Yes or No? Mine? Yes.

Everything else? Immaterial.

However, since I do have a vested interest in the preservation of life (as it directly influences MY survival), I try to avoid causing extinction whenever it’s practical to do so.

We currently simply don't know which DNA of which species might be able to be used in the future to cure any number of diseases, cancer for instance. It could be that in the near future we will discover a method of using the DNA from some obscure jelly fish to breast cancer. But unfortunately that Jelly Fish might of went extinct because we didn't think it could of been of any use. And maybe that cancer cure you’re so worried about won't be found until some new species does develop, once competition with existing organisms is removed.

The fact that we want future generations to be able to observe their beauty directly, and not just from a text book. How tragic would it be for your offspring to blame your generation for not being able to witness first hand, many species that are currently going extinct? I for one, would of loved to of seen the Dodo bird or the Thylacine, or even the recently extinct Chinese river dolphin. What if I want my offspring to be able to observe the beauty of the NEW species that will eventually evolve to fill those unoccupied niches?

Do my ‘desires’ count?

Dustin Kesselberg
18th April 2007, 05:19 PM
Beauty is a personal perception; what I find beautiful, another will not. Therefore it is a subjective outcome. If you don't understand this, I seriously don't think myself or anybody can help you. You're destined to struggle.

So how are they open to inconsistency again?


That's the point; it becomes a popularity issue. If 99% of the population desire something and want it, then they will work towards achieving it. This does not necessarily make it rational. It makes it an emotional exercise.

If most of the population wants to erect a statue because it looks good and they like looking at it, and it does no harm, then I would use the same argument. Most people don't like looking at graffitti, even though there's no rational reason why graffitti shouldn't be there. It's a matter of popular desire to ban it.

If 99% of the population want a species extinct then they would need something to base that on. This doesn't negate the fact that aesthetic reasons for keeping are rational.


No Dustin. It is an emotional motivation. In ten years time you might feel otherwise. Logic is consistent, remember?

"Illogical" and "Irrational" are basically two different terms. If by "Logic" you mean "the study of the principles and criteria of valid inference and demonstration" then you're using wrong terminology. The argument is that keeping species for aesthetic reasons is a 'rational' decision based on the subjective pleasures gained from keeping those species alive. Is it a "logical" decision? What rules of logic does the defense of species on the basis of aesthetics violate? It's not an "appeal to emotion" since it's not making any epistemological assertions that can be true or false. It's just motivation.




Your statement of morality in preserving things for the future is admirable, and I agree that from my view it would be a shame to lose it. But this is not a logical, rational statement, but one of personal emotions on the issue.

It's a rational statement. "Rational" is defined as "having reason or understanding". Since preventing species from going extinct based on aesthetic purposes is itself a "reason" then it's necessarily a rational stance.

Dustin Kesselberg
18th April 2007, 05:24 PM
And maybe that cancer cure you’re so worried about won't be found until some new species does develop, once competition with existing organisms is removed.

The species must develop from something. Do you know how long it takes for a "new species" to arise" Be it a plant species for example. A common weed. Centuries at least in most situations.


What if I want my offspring to be able to observe the beauty of the NEW species that will eventually evolve to fill those unoccupied niches?

What species would these be? They wouldn't be large enough to see without a microscope if you're talking about your immediate offspring. Species take centuries or millenniums to appear from speciation in most cases. Birds, trees, mammals...these species don't just "pop up" in a few human generations. Moreover, The way that most species are going extinct, wholesale slaughter, destruction of ecosystems, etc. It's unlikely we'll see any new species "evolving" to fill those niches anytime soon or if at all.