Re: Environmental Degradation? was: Re: Julian Simon

Paul Hughes (
Sat, 14 Feb 1998 18:19:49 PST

Michael Lorrey wrote:
>It depends on whether you only look at genetic diversity. As humans
>opened the memetic ecology to rapid evolution, there has been a modern
>'Cambrian Explosion' in the memetic diversity in the past few decades
>has inversely matched the decreases in genetic diversity. Additionally,
>think that you are talking only about 'naturally' evolved species

Yes, of course I am talking only of genetic diversity - the very stuff
which you and I *still* depend on to breath and eat. Memetic diversity
won't help us here until or unless it helps acheive the 'assembler'
breakthrough.. Like I said earlier, we may escape the ecoloical
instability through advance nanotechnology - either as a way to repair
the damage we've done and/or to escape our biological ties altogether -
in which case environmental destruction probably becomes irrelevant to
our future survival.

>I think that the state of the world ecology was like that of an old
>forest: chock full of diversity, but with no evolutionary niches left
>fill, so no new species have evolved. As evolution is an extremely slow
>process, the gaps we create with our environmental stresses probably
>be filled for at the very least several hundred, if not several
>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
>locale than the original niche inhabitants.

You make a good point here. Keep in mind that an ecosystem as simple as
a praire took thousands of years to evolve through a pregressive series
of co-evolutinary and collaborative processes - soomething which may be
next to impossible to replicate in a few short years.

Paul Hughes

DISCALAIMER: In the end, the Earth doesn't need saving. The biosphere
has proven itself to continue despite several ecological upsets and
massive species losses. The question remains, will humanity reach the
level of technolgical self-suffiency (i.e nanotech) before any sort of
possible ecological collapse takes place?

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