Re: Environmental Degradation? was: Re: Julian Simon

Michael Lorrey (
Sat, 14 Feb 1998 14:00:40 -0500

Paul Hughes wrote:

> James Rogers wrote:
> >
> >I could have turned on CNN and heard what you just wrote. You are
> spouting
> >the party line of the concensus-based "science" of the general public.
> >Your "devastation" has very marginal validity when evaluated rationally
> >(and these issues have generally been discussed in great deal on this
> >list). I hope for your sake that you have a great deal of evidence to
> back
> >up your claims of this omnipresent "doom and gloom", because few people
> on
> >this list will accept it on your word or the concensus of the general
> >population.
> >
> 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.

It depends on whether you only look at genetic diversity. As humans have
opened the memetic ecology to rapid evolution, there has been a modern
'Cambrian Explosion' in the memetic diversity in the past few decades that
has inversely matched the decreases in genetic diversity. Additionally, I
think that you are talking only about 'naturally' evolved species emerging.
There have been hundreds of new species developed in genetic engineering
labs around the world in the past ten years. We now have agricultural
species which are resistant to pests and frost due to genetic splicing, we
have thousands of new species of bacteria that have been specifically
'evolved' in the laboratory for the manufacture of drugs and other products.
Likewise, we have many new species of lab animals of all sorts, from pigs to
mice, that are new species.

I think that the state of the world ecology was like that of an old growth
forest: chock full of diversity, but with no evolutionary niches left to
fill, so no new species have evolved. As evolution is an extremely slow
process, the gaps we create with our environmental stresses probably won't
be filled for at the very least several hundred, if not several thousand
years, unless we develop something to occupy that niche, or use genetic
engineering to reestablish a viable population of the original species,
though possibly altered to be more resistant to environmental stress, or to
bring in an existing psecies from elsewhere that can better survive in that
locale than the original niche inhabitants.

> 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..
> Paul Hughes
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   Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------ Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
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