Re: Environmental Degradation? was: Re: Julian Simon
Fri, 13 Feb 1998 11:15:51 -0800 (PST)

Paul Hughes wrote:
> Although I agree with your overall outlook James, can anyone argue that
> we have had a *gain* in biodiversity? Over the years I've looked pretty
> hard for evidence in the literature of any new species coming into
> existence in the past 100 years. As far as I know, there is none. There
> is plenty of evidence of species lost on the other hand.
> Now weather this species loss is a good or bad thing is another question
> entirely. There is plenty of evidence to show massive species lost in
> the past, yet life has kept going anyway. The question here is, will
> the present species loss put our own lives in jeapordy? Probably not,
> assuming any of the major nanotechnologies come to fruition in a
> reasonable time..

Actually, I do agree that extinction is happening. However, most of the organisms marked as extinct (large higher organisms), don't seem to be terribly missed by the environment as a whole. The disappearance of your arbitrary large animal appears to have little or no impact on the environment. Beyond any aesthetic reasons, what serious disasters have been caused by the absence of the carrier pigeon or dodo bird? I have the suspicion that most plants and insects would barely miss the absence of the majority of higher organisms. I am not advocating the purposeful extinction of any animal, but I question the real impact of doing so.

-James Rogers