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Humans just a stress?


Fishteacher73
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Ever since the dawn of thought we humans have been trying to elevate ourselves in one way or another above nature. Most of religious thought carries that idea in one form or another. On some levels all of nature alters nature with time. There is an interesting article in Scientific America about what would happen if mankind vanished. As great as we tend to think we are basically in about 25000 years almost everything we ever built would be gone. What's even more interesting is that outside of broken down leaky reactors most of the evidence we where ever here would be gone also and even the leaked evidence might could be argued about. The planet in general as far as other life would tend to revert back to the state it was in before man spread out with the exception of certain species being gone. One exception which surprized me was the roach would tend to not fair well without our presence and or warmer building structures. In general, and this tells one a bit about man messing with nature, as far as other life on this planet goes they'd be better off without us.

 

What I see as setting man as different from most of nature around us is the level at which we influence the rest of nature. No other creature on this planet can effect other parts of nature as much as we do and with as much choice as we do. We call all our great works progress. But in many ways a certain line from Jurasic Park was right in calling progress the rape of the natural world.

 

The question then becomes is should we mess with nature? On some levels we have to. But, the one thing we tend to lack with all the knowledge we have gained is the wisdom to use such knowledge in a proper way. Perhaps the real fruit of Eden was knowledge after all.

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Okay, so I agree that we change nature drastically, but many other creatures have more influence, they simply don't change as rapidly as we do. Consider ants - they have a more profound effect on nature than we do, they simply don't change what they do so we don't question it. How about beavers - less of an effect, but because we call them 'natural' the beaver-made lakes that change their environment are considered natural. Living things strive to reproduce themselves, and evolution favors those who do it well. Our advantage was our mind, which allowed us to build tools, buildings, cars, anything which came from our minds was natural. As for people loving money more than helping mankind - do you think that other animals do things for the betterment of their kind? They will do things for the betterment of themselves, or their immediate group.

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Ever since the dawn of thought we humans have been trying to elevate ourselves in one way or another above nature.In general, and this tells one a bit about man messing with nature, as far as other life on this planet goes they'd be better off without us.

Good point. As we are at the top of the food chain, there is no other life form that needs us around, other than the ear mite.

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... As we are at the top of the food chain, there is no other life form that needs us around, other than the ear mite.

I forgot about that, our only known predators are viruses and bacteria.

Maybe thats what will happen when we discover life elsewhere in the cosmos

(if we make it that long...I think someone will, though)

 

:) :) :) :)

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Can you show me some evidence? I see evidence of massive changes caused by us, but I don't know what is "good" or "bad" with regard to the earth. I've found that many people seem to think that humans shouldn't interfere with anything else in nature, which I find paramount to putting humans apart from nature.

 

Lets see, we can start with just the global issuse....Ozone Depletion...I can't think of anything good about that, and that's all human. Massive deforestation and habitat destruction on a scale that is eleminating many other species. (I have never seen an example of another life-form causing the utter extinction of another aside from humans). The massive amounts of pollutants are starting to cause the worlds reefs to die off. For specific pollutans we can examine lead. Since the begining of the introduction of tetraethyl lead into gasoline (in the 1920's I believe) the average lead conentrations in humans today are about 300X's what they were before this introduction.

 

I believe that we can say without a doubt that humans are having a negative impact.

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Okay - I'll address these issues one at a time.

 

Ozone depletion - The earth's ozone blocks Ultra Violet rays, to an extent, correct? Chloroflourocarbons, commonly called CFC's, used in spray cans until there were bans on them, destroy ozone. This allows more UV rays in, which can be harmful to all life that doesn't develop a resistance to it. The species that don't evolve quickly enough will die, creating niches that need to be filled, spuring evolution, meaning that, if the destruction of the ozone were to continue, there would be a lot of death, and then a lot of life.

 

Deforestation/habitat destruction: This causes species that cannot coexist with humans to die off, and those that can have to adapt. Raccoons, Opossum, Foxes, even Deer have all learned to live in suburbs - lions, and other big game have not. Would you blame the dinosaurs for the fact that most mammels were small during their reign?

 

Extinction: You say that you do not know of any life form which caused the extinction of another except for humans. Before humans, did species only go extinct because of natural disasters? Or is it possible that competition for resources forced the species that were not as efficient to die off, leaving only the most efficient to continue.

 

Pollutants, lead: Lead concentrations have increased in humans. Is this immoral? Many animals have died. Is this wrong? Is death immoral, simply because it is death? In order for life to continue, death must occur. I believe that death produces MORE life than it kills. Death is necessary for evolution.

 

Can you please explain to me what is negative about massive change?

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Ozone depletion will deicmate pretty much all terrestrial life, a great deal of the aquatic life will do ok in the short run, but this massive die off will trigger atmospheric changes that eventually cause the chemistry of the oceans to shift, causing great die offs. True some life will live on past this and eventually repopulate the Earth. It would be highly improbable that humans would be one of the ones to survive.

 

Most of the "success" stories you have mentioned only survive because of the cull rate in which humans hunt these animals. Deer quickly over populate a region and unless are culled by hunting, a large percentage dies due to starvation. These animals have not found a stable niche.

 

As for extinction, I stand by my statement. I can find no evidence that would support any other. You say maybe, but I simply say there is no evidence of this happening. Most preaditor prey relationships co-evolve. A steady stale-mate in an arms-race. (See Evolutionary Wars, by Levy).

 

Polutants: Survival of the fittest? Those microbes that can withstand the harsh pollutants will be the only thing left. I am unaware of any multi-cellular organism that has resistance to most of the pollutants that we are producing.

 

Again, I say man will not destroy life. Man will make a big dent in it and fall in the divot left by his errors. A few hardy critters, unicellular probably, will survive and start the process over.

 

The only real reason for man to alter his ways is for him to be able to hang on for a little while to possibly be noticed in the fossil record of the future.

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As for extinction, I stand by my statement. I can find no evidence that would support any other. You say maybe, but I simply say there is no evidence of this happening. Most preaditor prey relationships co-evolve. A steady stale-mate in an arms-race.

 

Then how did any animal become extinct before humans?

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Environmental shifts how? In order for it not to be caused by another species, extinction could only happen during major environmental shifts - ice ages, tectonic plate movement, space debris - are you going to maintain that no species has ever competed for resources, and lost? Not predator/prey, but predator/predator?

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Many species have evolved into other forms, but moving away from an ancestor phenotype to a new one I do not think qualifies as extinction.The obsolete phenotype will fade...but I have seen no evidence that one predator overshadowed another halting its evolutionary line. This competion has spurred evolution. Most natural systems also do not have species that co-exist in the same niche. This is why bringing non-indiginous species into the wild causes so many problems. This VERY rarely occurs on the natural stage, and if it does only in an isolated area, not decimating whole species, but just ursurping local populations.

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Many species have evolved into other forms, but moving away from an ancestor phenotype to a new one I do not think qualifies as extinction.The obsolete phenotype will fade...but I have seen no evidence that one predator overshadowed another halting its evolutionary line. This competion has spurred evolution. Most natural systems also do not have species that co-exist in the same niche. This is why bringing non-indiginous species into the wild causes so many problems. This VERY rarely occurs on the natural stage, and if it does only in an isolated area, not decimating whole species, but just ursurping local populations.
Interesting. I can't think of an example of two species, one evolved from the other, that exist(ed) concurrently. ??
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So, if a species dies out because it evolves, it's not extinction? What is extinction then?

What some paleontologists (e.g. Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldridge) think happens is that a species can remain stable for millions of years. Then a more-or-less isolated population evolves rapidly to meet some new environmental challenge. This evolved population becomes a new species, and its parent species remains unchanged. The two species continue to exist, to meet whatever fate has in store, included additional bouts of speciation, and ultimate extinction, separately.

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Interesting. I can't think of an example of two species, one evolved from the other, that exist(ed) concurrently. ??

There are many...your household pet dog Fido came was bred from wolves; we still have both.

Most of the rift vally cichlids are still in a state of flux and the taxonomy is still confused as to which are sub-species/color variants etc.

Most any predator/prey relationship has forced both parties to co-evolve. As on species gets better at hunting/not getting eaten, the other has natural selection pushing it to advance. The myriad of defense stategies that have evolved have pushed predators to better hunting teqniques.

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