Re: Re: Why preserving BioDiversity is Extropian (was re: Environmental Degr
Sun, 15 Feb 1998 21:01:03 EST

In a message dated 2/15/98 1:26:45 PM, wrote:

>>> wrote:
>>If your claim is that maintaining biodiversity is a good thing, I've
>>no disagreement with that. But it's not *necessary* for our
>>continued existance as a complex, interesting, populous community.
>Again, how can you be so sure that it's not *necessarry*? Are you
>willing to risk that opinion on your long term survival? My point is,
>it is still too earlier to tell what aspects of this compexity we find
>ourselves in, may turn out to provide critical tools/clues to our future
>viability as a memetic culture.

You're really grasping at straws at this point. Several areas on
earth (old world civilized floodplains) have had their natural
ecosystems obliterated millenia ago, and apart from salinization
in the Tigris-euphrates system, they all work fine. You also
omitted my point that our current crops have been well demonstrated
to have no need at all for biodiversity.

If you're going to try for wild hypotheticals, I would point out
that it's easy to imagine hypotheticals in which biodiversity
brings the end of our civilization. AIDS come over from chimps
only about 50 years ago; if there had been no wild chimps at
the time we almost certainly would have had no AIDS epidemic.
Every time a wild monkey comes down with Ebola there's a finite
chance that it will mutate to a form that readily infects humans
and that really could mean sayonara to human civilization. No
wild monkeys; no Ebola; no risk; but it's silly to make major
decisions on wild hypotheticals, so they stay.

The host-switch disease problem is not entirely hypothetical;
unlike the hypothesized need for biodiversity it really has
happened numerous times in the past, although never yet in
a form that would truly threaten modern civilization. Regardless
of such hypotheticals, we must act on the knowledge we have,
and that indicates that biodiversity is neither essential
nor particularly hazardous to our continued well-being.
In terms of changing our existance in a incremental fashion
biodiversity is probably good; but in terms of major catastrophic
changes it's probably bad.