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Research Group
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(11-Apr-2008 at 22:32)


Earth Without People

http://discovermagazine.com/2005/feb...ithout-people/

A really interesting discovery channel segment was on this a couple of days ago and I caught bits and pieces of it. I found the article to be really interesting. As a species we have so much influence it can disappear in a matter of decades and be gone in centuries.

This really got me thinking about a lot of things, in terms of rates of extinction, global warming, pollution, etc.
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(Posted as matinog)
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(12-Apr-2008 at 12:59)


yea its interesting, i read his book on it, The World Without Us. If you find the theme interesting i suggest you read it.
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(12-Apr-2008 at 17:15)


I saw that show. Or at least parts of it.

I didn't like how they tried to present it in the form of "If there weren't people around everything would be wonderful and the earth would recover from the terrible blights we foisted upon it."
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(12-Apr-2008 at 19:31)


Re: Earth Without People

[quote=Royal Assassin3;1635388I didn't like how they tried to present it in the form of "If there weren't people around everything would be wonderful and the earth would recover from the terrible blights we foisted upon it."[/QUOTE]

What's wrong with that?
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(13-Apr-2008 at 05:20)


Quote:
I didn't like how they tried to present it in the form of "If there weren't people around everything would be wonderful and the earth would recover from the terrible blights we foisted upon it."
You mean they suggested that if there were no people there would be none of the problems caused by people? That is so unreasonable!

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
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(13-Apr-2008 at 07:11)
No, RA3 has a point.

It is as if ecologists view human behaviour as unnnatural.

Which is absurd.

Last edited by Gotterdammerung, 13-Apr-2008 at 07:16.
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(13-Apr-2008 at 07:21)


Re: Earth Without People

Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung: View Post
No, RA3 has a point.

It is as if ecologists view human behaviour as unnnatural.

Which is absurd.
Why is it absurd? Everything man-made is, by definition, not natural.

The argument that humans are part of nature, so everything they do is natural and that makes it okay, is just a cop-out.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
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(13-Apr-2008 at 07:47)
Re: Earth Without People

Originally Posted by Voice of Reason: View Post
Why is it absurd? Everything man-made is, by definition, not natural.

The argument that humans are part of nature, so everything they do is natural and that makes it okay, is just a cop-out.
Name one thing that man made on his own (without nature).

Last edited by Gotterdammerung, 13-Apr-2008 at 07:56.
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(Posted as Eldarad)
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(13-Apr-2008 at 09:16)


Re: Earth Without People

Originally Posted by Voice of Reason:
Why is it absurd? Everything man-made is, by definition, not natural.

The argument that humans are part of nature, so everything they do is natural and that makes it okay, is just a cop-out.
What makes something specifically man-made not natural?

Is everything beaver-made not natural?
What about those tool-using monkeys - are those tools not natural?

You only have power over people as long as you don't take everything from them.
But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he is free again.
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(13-Apr-2008 at 10:18)


Re: Earth Without People

Originally Posted by Eldarad: View Post
What makes something specifically man-made not natural?

Is everything beaver-made not natural?
What about those tool-using monkeys - are those tools not natural?
Perhaps you might find enlightenment by using a dictionary.

Quote:
nat·u·ral Audio Help [nach-er-uhl, nach-ruhl] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective 1. existing in or formed by nature (opposed to artificial): a natural bridge.
Quote:
ar·ti·fi·cial Audio Help [ahr-tuh-fish-uhl] Pronunciation Key
–adjective 1. made by human skill; produced by humans (opposed to natural): artificial flowers.
Tell me how the computer you are using would have formed without any human intervention at all and then we can agree it was formed naturally.

This is what every PvP argument boils down to:
Dear Devs:
Rock is overpowered, please nerf. Paper is fine.
Yours, Scissors
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(13-Apr-2008 at 10:54)


Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung:
Name one thing that man made on his own (without nature).
PVC.

You are trying to define everything that can be found in the universe as nature, and everything made of natural ingredients as natural. You are creating a definition purely to exclude everything not-natural.

This is contrary to normal understanding of 'man-made', and it shows how futile your position is that you have to go to such lengths to try and support it.

Here, learn what man-made means

–adjective
1. produced, formed, or made by humans.
2. produced artificially; not resulting from natural processes.
3. Textiles.
a. (of a fiber) manufactured synthetically from a cellulosic or noncellulosic base; produced chemically.
b. (of a fabric or garment) constructed of synthetically made fibers.



Originally Posted by Eldarad:
What makes something specifically man-made not natural?
The fact that it is made by man and doesn't occur in nature, obviously.

Trees are natural, they will grow whether humans are around or not. Laptops are man-made, because with no humans there are no laptops. What is difficult about that?


Quote:
Is everything beaver-made not natural?
As it is not man-made, normal people would call it natural, and as it causes no damage to the environment there is little reason not to.

You could descend into petty pedantry and say 'Aaah... but if there were no beavers there would be no beaver dams' and create a new category of 'beaver-made', and follow it up with a horde of new categories to cover birds nests, termite mounds, ant hills, mole hill, wasp nests, etc. If that makes you feel good, go ahead.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
#11  
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(13-Apr-2008 at 11:06)


Re: Earth Without People

Originally Posted by Voice of Reason: View Post
You mean they suggested that if there were no people there would be none of the problems caused by people? That is so unreasonable!
Problems are only problems to people. Animals don't have problems. So by definition, if there were no people there'd be no problems, but then again, nobody would care about there being no problems either. So would the earth be a wonderful place without people? From which perspective exactly?

Modern world I'm not pleased to meet you

You just bring me down
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(13-Apr-2008 at 11:33)


Re: Earth Without People

Originally Posted by Caelis666: View Post
Problems are only problems to people. Animals don't have problems. So by definition, if there were no people there'd be no problems, but then again, nobody would care about there being no problems either. So would the earth be a wonderful place without people? From which perspective exactly?
The animals facing extinction as a result of human activity have problems. It is bit too late for ones already extinct.

Problems exist whether humans are aware of them or not. You seem to be confusing worry with problem. Global warming, for example, is a problem that affects everybody - even the minority who are still in denial and think it isn't a problem.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
#13  
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(13-Apr-2008 at 13:03)


Re: Earth Without People

Originally Posted by Voice of Reason: View Post
The animals facing extinction as a result of human activity have problems. It is bit too late for ones already extinct.

Problems exist whether humans are aware of them or not. You seem to be confusing worry with problem. Global warming, for example, is a problem that affects everybody - even the minority who are still in denial and think it isn't a problem.
Extinction is a part of nature. Species were dying out long before humanity got powerful enough to take part in that process. Even if that's a problem then it's an unsolvable one. On the other hand, humanity's recent actions have been great for several other kinds of living creatures, such as a lot of insects, bacteria, etc. Take humanity away and they'll have just as much 'problems' as other creatures have because of humans.

Oh I'm sorry, I forgot. You only meant to include beautiful, cute and likeable creatures there. My bad.

As for confusing worries with problems, I think that you are the one that's confused. Something is only a problem if it threathens something that a creature sees as an interest to him. I have yet to find the first non-human animal that is interested in the survival of its species.

Modern world I'm not pleased to meet you

You just bring me down

Last edited by Caelis666, 13-Apr-2008 at 13:09.
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(13-Apr-2008 at 14:38)


Quote:
Extinction is a part of nature. Species were dying out long before humanity got powerful enough to take part in that process.
I really despise this ridiculous argument. Pain is part of nature: should we dispense with painkillers? Dying is part of nature: should we legalise murder? Disease is part of nature: should we close all the hospitals?

Saying a problem is part of nature is no excuse to make it worse.


Quote:
On the other hand, humanity's recent actions have been great for several other kinds of living creatures, such as a lot of insects, bacteria, etc. Take humanity away and they'll have just as much 'problems' as other creatures have because of humans.
You have obviously never heard of the Holocene Extinction Event. That is a mass extinction happening now, and driven by human actions. Estimates for the scale of extinction are difficult to produce, but range up to 2 million species in the last century, is continuing at a rate of 140,000 species a year, and the rate of observed extinctions has accelerated in the past 50 years. No way is human activity benefiting that many.


Quote:
Oh I'm sorry, I forgot. You only meant to include beautiful, cute and likeable creatures there. My bad.
Do I? Care to show where I said that? Don't try to be a smart arse, I know full well that extinctions are not limited to megafauna.


Quote:
As for confusing worries with problems, I think that you are the one that's confused. Something is only a problem if it threathens something that a creature sees as an interest to him. I have yet to find the first non-human animal that is interested in the survival of its species.
Problems exist regardless of whether anybody or anything knows or cares about them. Simple common sense should verify that: if you choose to ignore a problem it does not go away, not does ignorance stop a tragic event occurring. People with undiagnosed cancer still have a problem, even though they don't know about it.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
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(13-Apr-2008 at 14:51)


Re: Earth Without People

Originally Posted by Voice of Reason: View Post
I really despise this ridiculous argument. Pain is part of nature: should we dispense with painkillers? Dying is part of nature: should we legalise murder? Disease is part of nature: should we close all the hospitals?

Saying a problem is part of nature is no excuse to make it worse.
Who says we're making anything worse? I disagree with your original premisse that extinction itself is a bad thing.

Quote:
You have obviously never heard of the Holocene Extinction Event. That is a mass extinction happening now, and driven by human actions. Estimates for the scale of extinction are difficult to produce, but range up to 2 million species in the last century, is continuing at a rate of 140,000 species a year, and the rate of observed extinctions has accelerated in the past 50 years. No way is human activity benefiting that many
.

Actually, as far as I know the amount of different species remains mostly stable. Why does it matter if one species dies and another takes its place?
Besides, I'm not a utilitarian. The fact is that lots and lots of animals will die should humanity suddenly dissapear. Why is their death justified by the survival of others, even if that's a greater number?

Quote:
Do I? Care to show where I said that? Don't try to be a smart arse, I know full well that extinctions are not limited to megafauna.
And yet I'm pretty sure that you don't go around wheeping every time someone kills thousands and thousands of bacteria by boiling water.

Quote:
Problems exist regardless of whether anybody or anything knows or cares about them. Simple common sense should verify that: if you choose to ignore a problem it does not go away, not does ignorance stop a tragic event occurring. People with undiagnosed cancer still have a problem, even though they don't know about it.
Mkay, try reading next time shall we? Cancer, even if its not diagnosed, definitely threatens things that we see as being in our interest. If it didn't, then no, it would not be a problem.

Modern world I'm not pleased to meet you

You just bring me down
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(13-Apr-2008 at 16:21)


Quote:
Who says we're making anything worse? I disagree with your original premisse that extinction itself is a bad thing.
Okay. No need for biodiversity. Kill everything, it is all for the greater good.


Quote:
Actually, as far as I know the amount of different species remains mostly stable. Why does it matter if one species dies and another takes its place?
If you really believe that 140,000 new species are created every year then you are living in a fantasy.

The current rate of extinctions is over 100 times the natural rate. The creation of new species just can't keep up.


Quote:
And yet I'm pretty sure that you don't go around wheeping every time someone kills thousands and thousands of bacteria by boiling water.
I am pretty sure that the entire global population of those bacteria are not living in my pan, nor do I agree with your premise that bacteria are always a bad thing. Live yoghurt is full of the things, and I would be quite worried if they became extinct.


Quote:
Cancer, even if its not diagnosed, definitely threatens things that we see as being in our interest.
Exactly. In the same way, animals facing extinction have a problem even though they are unaware of it. They might not be worried by it, but they do have a problem.


Quote:
If it didn't, then no, it would not be a problem.
Yep. If cancer was harmless it would not be a problem. Flawless logic.


Right... cancer wouldn't be a problem if it was harmless. Flawless logic.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
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(13-Apr-2008 at 16:56)


Re: Earth Without People

Originally Posted by Voice of Reason: View Post
Okay. No need for biodiversity. Kill everything, it is all for the greater good.
*rofl* Such a dramaqueen. Nobody said anything about killing everything. Nor did I say anything about any greater good.

Quote:
If you really believe that 140,000 new species are created every year then you are living in a fantasy.

The current rate of extinctions is over 100 times the natural rate. The creation of new species just can't keep up.
I never said that the balance per year was equal. I said that it was equal over time:
Originally Posted by http://www.earthportals.com/extinct.html:
Mass extinctions, in which from 40% to 95% of all plant and animal species died out, have occurred several times in the distant past. One occurred about 225 million years ago which ushered in the age of reptiles. Another, about 65 million years ago, spelled the end of reptile dominance and led to the age of mammals. The cause of these past events is hotly debated, but the proposed explanations all have geologic (volcanoes), cosmic (asteroids), climatic (hot verses cold), and pathogenic (diseases) bases.

Following each mass extinction, there was a rapid radiation of new species. Once in existence, most species remained relatively unchanged for millions of years until they, in turn, scummed to extinction. Other species were molded, in a Darwinian sense, by adaptation to minor fluctuations in the ecosystem. Some animals, like the horse, also got much bigger.
Quote:
I am pretty sure that the entire global population of those bacteria are not living in my pan, nor do I agree with your premise that bacteria are always a bad thing. Live yoghurt is full of the things, and I would be quite worried if they became extinct.
So you care more about species going extinct then about creatures dying? That is the oddest thing ever. What is the inherent value of the survival of a species other then the survival of its members?
Nor did I say that bacteria are a bad thing. I just don't care about killing them. Whether I would be worried if they all became extinct, of course. But that worry is only relative to me. If humans no longer existed, I wouldn't exist, so the not existing of bacteria would then no longer be a problem.

Quote:
Exactly. In the same way, animals facing extinction have a problem even though they are unaware of it. They might not be worried by it, but they do have a problem.
I sincerely doubt that creatures that are not human can be said to have any interests in the proper use of the word, but even granted that they do, they surely do not care about their species surviving apart from what that means for their own life. They aren't even aware that they're part of a species.

Quote:
Yep. If cancer was harmless it would not be a problem. Flawless logic.
Actually, yes that is flawless logic.

And I'd really appreciate it if you stopped cutting up my posts. You show a tendency to pull things out of contexts and apart from that it's a bitch to read and to respond to.

Modern world I'm not pleased to meet you

You just bring me down
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(13-Apr-2008 at 17:47)
Re: Earth Without People

[quote=Caelis666;1635467]Who says we're making anything worse? I disagree with your original premisse that extinction itself is a bad thing.[/qtuoe]
some of us see biodiversity as a good thing in itself, and in addition something that makes the biosphere more resilient and thus is good for humans as well. You never know if any of the species going extinct will turn out to have been very important.
Quote:
Actually, as far as I know the amount of different species remains mostly stable. Why does it matter if one species dies and another takes its place?
What did the black plague matter? There were soon new people to take the place of the old ones
It takes millions of years for diversity to recover, and in the meantime the world is a poorer place.
Quote:
And yet I'm pretty sure that you don't go around wheeping every time someone kills thousands and thousands of bacteria by boiling water.
But you do risk a diarrhea if you kill all the billions of bacteria in your intestines. We need bacteria to survive. There are more bacteria than cells in a healthy human being.
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(13-Apr-2008 at 19:54)


Oh but I don't disagree that we should be careful with what we do to our environment because it could be dangerous to us.
The question was however if the world would be better off without us, so then you can't refer to possible benefits/dangers to humanity.

Modern world I'm not pleased to meet you

You just bring me down
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