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Norwegian Cat
09-04-2007, 02:26 PM
Is there a point in saving animals that are endangered? I mean, global industrialisation and expansion of Humanity is kind of inevitable, so why bother? Some animals want to die. Just take the panda; doesnít want to fuck to save its specie, and what are we actually forcing it to fuck. Some scientists say apes are at a stronger evolutionary scale than us, and in time, will get smarter than us (...and take over the human world! Sounds familiar?)

Two species die each hour or so. Is it even worth talking about them?

Of course, bio systems will degrade when it comes to biodiversity. So desertification and mass urbanization is right around the corner. Who said a big, grey, shadow casting city isnít nice? Is Coruscant ugly?





I like animals. In my opinion, save them.

Bazza
09-04-2007, 07:23 PM
http://www.hedgehogs.org/hedge.jpg

Mota Boy
09-05-2007, 09:13 AM
Various arguments. I'm using this to try to keep myself awake, so it'll be slapdash and sloppy.

1) Each species makes the world a bit more interesting, and teaches us a little more about it. I'm not even saying that in a rhetorical, philosophic way - different species have radically different evolutionary-driven behaviors that can teach us important things about ourselves and our relation to the world.

2) We, as stewards of the planet, have a responsibility for each species in our care. Ecosystems have adapted to specific balances of animals, and destroying one can have unanticipated consequences which, ultimately, may negatively impact us.

3) I wanna ride a woolly mammoth, but thanks to a bunch of short-sighted fuckwits ten thousand years ago, I've gotta keep my fingers crossed and hold out for cloning. I'm also bummed about the disappearance of the giant ground sloth. I bet those would've made some excellent burgers. Hell, I almost never got to taste bison.

Norwegian Cat
09-05-2007, 09:37 AM
2) We, as stewards of the planet, have a responsibility for each species in our care.

What about animals like the panda? Doesn't want to reproduce.
Not to mention suicide whales...



3) I wanna ride a woolly mammoth, but thanks to a bunch of short-sighted fuckwits ten thousand years ago, I've gotta keep my fingers crossed and hold out for cloning. I'm also bummed about the disappearance of the giant ground sloth. I bet those would've made some excellent burgers. Hell, I almost never got to taste bison.

Didn't mammoths dissapear because of the end of the ice age? You could maintain a similar point of view towards global warming; if you consider it a natural and inevitable cycle, the emigration and extinction of some animals is also inevitable.

XYlophonetreeZ
09-05-2007, 10:00 AM
What about animals like the panda? Doesn't want to reproduce.
Yes, that's because pandas, like most animals, are naturally selective about mating. Problem is, there aren't as many potential mates to go around. If we can help them get their numbers up, they will want to reproduce more and more. That's why sometimes animals are declared extinct even before the last one dies- because they're considered moribund species, ones that could hypothetically multiply like rabbits and repopulate, but never will due to their selectivity and, often, long and costly gestation periods. Like the baiji river dolphin, which was declared extinct just last year. Pandas are not quite at the moribund level yet, which means we're still trying to help them. And there IS actually mathematical science to determining whether a species is worth saving or not, and ecologists use it all the time. They usually won't waste time trying to repopulate a species that's egregiously low in number. With those, they only conserve and treasure the last ones while they're still around.

F@ BANKZ
09-05-2007, 01:10 PM
Various arguments. I'm using this to try to keep myself awake, so it'll be slapdash and sloppy.

1) Each species makes the world a bit more interesting, and teaches us a little more about it. I'm not even saying that in a rhetorical, philosophic way - different species have radically different evolutionary-driven behaviors that can teach us important things about ourselves and our relation to the world.

2) We, as stewards of the planet, have a responsibility for each species in our care. Ecosystems have adapted to specific balances of animals, and destroying one can have unanticipated consequences which, ultimately, may negatively impact us.

3) I wanna ride a woolly mammoth, but thanks to a bunch of short-sighted fuckwits ten thousand years ago, I've gotta keep my fingers crossed and hold out for cloning. I'm also bummed about the disappearance of the giant ground sloth. I bet those would've made some excellent burgers. Hell, I almost never got to taste bison.

I don't feel that any of these points or any others put forward are strong enough for anybody to concern themselves with the issue.
Though animals can admittedly teach us more, the knowledge will not necessarily be that significant as most of the species are obscure ones that receive barely any attention from anybody.
The fact it could damage our ecosystem is an outside-risk. Remember the world is a vast place, which is inhabited by vast amounts of species, of which very few roam it all. Those that do are generally under no threat. Those that are becoming extinct are usually so small in numbers already their effect on the ecosystem is minute.
The idea we have a responsibility for other species is an opinion. I feel we should just do as we wish, all species have an affect on others, it just so happens we are part of a larger one. Though I appreciate that cutting down the Amazon rainforest, leaving just infertile land probably does nothing for our survival as a species.

The only other reason for protecting endangered animal I can think of is to preserve potential medical information, which is pretty similar to the knowledge point anyway.

wheelchairman
09-05-2007, 01:37 PM
Speaking of bizarre interests (apropros XYLZ old thread), the Woolly Mammoth existed in Siberia up until the mid 1800's. Neat huh?

Great Mike
09-05-2007, 03:10 PM
I don't feel that any of these points or any others put forward are strong enough for anybody to concern themselves with the issue.
Though animals can admittedly teach us more, the knowledge will not necessarily be that significant as most of the species are obscure ones that receive barely any attention from anybody.
The fact it could damage our ecosystem is an outside-risk. Remember the world is a vast place, which is inhabited by vast amounts of species, of which very few roam it all. Those that do are generally under no threat. Those that are becoming extinct are usually so small in numbers already their effect on the ecosystem is minute.
The idea we have a responsibility for other species is an opinion. I feel we should just do as we wish, all species have an affect on others, it just so happens we are part of a larger one. Though I appreciate that cutting down the Amazon rainforest, leaving just infertile land probably does nothing for our survival as a species.

The only other reason for protecting endangered animal I can think of is to preserve potential medical information, which is pretty similar to the knowledge point anyway.

Yo, yo throw batteries to the river; we're not fishes lol, God chosen ones, masters of the universe, etc.

Llamas
09-05-2007, 06:52 PM
The most important reason for not allowing species to die out is very simple. If a species dies out, especially one that was once quite prominent, the species that it eats can likely become out of control. We may think as the scientists of our society that "Oh, there are other species that eat that". But when species are dying off around us, we forget what eats what, who's still alive, where they are... things become out of control. Plus, there are certain species that are only really kept in control by one other species. Currently, if those fucking annoying nasty ass Harmonia lady beetles (or, as you might know them, "Asian ladybugs") died out right now, Aphids would suddenly take over our crops and we'd have a sudden problem because there would not be enough vegetable production. I hate those stupid Harmonia... but they're important in their own way, just as is every species.

In addition to what that species eats, it's also important to concern ourselves with what eats that species. There are a lot of things that eat grass, or dirt (worms, for instance)... but let's say worms went extinct. We'd have a huge problem. Suddenly many species of birds would die, and because of this, other species would become dominant (species that live off other things besides worms, obviously) and problematic.

This all is just the tip of the iceberg... species going extinct is really problematic at best.

Jakebert
09-05-2007, 07:07 PM
Any species going extinct, even ones that don't seem important, could throw off the balance of nature in ways that we may not be prepared for.

Plus, this isn't just natural extinction like it has been so many times in the past. Right now, I'm willing to bet that the majority of endangered animals are such because of humans. I think we have the duty to help fix the problems that we caused.

That_Guy91
09-05-2007, 08:55 PM
^pretty much exactly what I was going to say. It's not like when a species becomes extinct due to natural selection. We, as an intelligent species, have the ability to mess up food chains/life cycles/etc.

I'd also like to mention that throughout the typing of this post, the circle of life song was in my head.

Duskygrin
09-06-2007, 11:36 AM
I used to care about endangered species - like, when I was 8 years old. I grew out of it; not only is the damage man has already done to the planet irreparable, but I've other more pressing worries to clutter my mind with.

F@ BANKZ
09-06-2007, 01:40 PM
Yo, yo throw batteries to the river; we're not fishes lol, God chosen ones, masters of the universe, etc.

Yeah I wasn't really clear; I'm not saying do what we want literally, as inderviduals. I'm thinking, as a speicies, let us not waste our time and resources on matters such as this but focus on the issues that evidently concern our own species right now such as poverty, war, 30,000 nuclear wepons and McDonalds. I'm not for pointless destruction in any way, I comprehend the risk of throwing ecosystems off balance but the idea we have a responcibility for other species is abstract and, in my opinion, less important than a great many other issues.

sKratch
09-07-2007, 10:17 AM
I think we have the duty to help fix the problems that we caused.

I'd be interested to hear your opinions on the Iraq war

Great Mike
09-07-2007, 02:12 PM
Yeah I wasn't really clear; I'm not saying do what we want literally, as inderviduals. I'm thinking, as a speicies, let us not waste our time and resources on matters such as this but focus on the issues that evidently concern our own species right now such as poverty, war, 30,000 nuclear wepons and McDonalds. I'm not for pointless destruction in any way, I comprehend the risk of throwing ecosystems off balance but the idea we have a responcibility for other species is abstract and, in my opinion, less important than a great many other issues.

Ok, this sounds rational now ;) .

Sin Studly
09-07-2007, 02:20 PM
I've always wanted to eat an endangered animal.

HeadAroundU
09-07-2007, 03:26 PM
Lol, me too. I'm going to poach on Lodat.

Paint_It_Black
09-08-2007, 04:36 AM
2) We, as stewards of the planet, have a responsibility for each species in our care.

Stewards of the planet? Terms like that are testament to the immense arrogance of humanity. For one thing, it assumes that we possess the ability and the knowledge to be stewards of the planet. We simply don't. Nature is far too complex a system for us to understand enough to competently manage it.

Look at Yellowstone as an example. The world's first national park. An admirable attempt at preserving and mantaining the natural balance. Except, the history of Yellowstone proves that we know very little about this natural balance, and attempts to preserve a system that exists in a constant state of flux are doomed to failure.

First they try to prevent forest fires. Then they discover that forest fires are a normal part of forest life, and in fact an essential part of the system. So they finally allow fires again, but then they burn too fiercely because of all the deadwood that's been piling up while the park rangers prevented all the fires. They burn so hot that the ground becomes infertile.

They kill all the wolves. Then they bring back the wolves.

They protect the bison. Then they have to thin out the rapdily swelling numbers of bison.

Just a few examples. Even if we had the right to consider ourselves stewards of the planet, we most certainly don't have the ability to perform the job. Let's see if we can be competent stewards of national parks first.


Right now, I'm willing to bet that the majority of endangered animals are such because of humans.

There's no doubt that humans have caused some extinctions, and will cause more. But the kind of statement you just made cannot be verified. We don't even know how many species exist in the world, which means we cannot know how many are endangered, which really means we can only guess at how many are endangered through human activity.

Mota Boy
09-08-2007, 06:09 AM
Stewards of the planet? Terms like that are testament to the immense arrogance of humanity. For one thing, it assumes that we possess the ability and the knowledge to be stewards of the planet. We simply don't. Nature is far too complex a system for us to understand enough to competently manage it.
You started off with "For one thing", but never got around to the others, so I'll answer your original charge:

To me, being a steward of the planet doesn't mean that we have the ability to manage it well as much as it means that we have the ability to manage it poorly. As many mistakes as were made in Yellowstone, you've got to admit that the wildlife happens to be much better managed there than it has been in, say, Hoboken, New Jersey or the Three Gorges Valley in China. My point isn't that we should run around the Earth, constantly making sure that every ecosystem is operating exactly as we think it should - I mean that we should attempt to minimize our impact on the environment wherever possible. Say, by attempting to prevent invasive species from appearing, or by restricting outputs of toxic chemicals. Certainly, you're not going to argue that we can't claim to know the effects of dumping large amounts of heavy metals into an environment, so we might as well go ahead and do so?

Secondly, I think you're drawing the wrong lessons from your own example. Yes, several mistakes were made in attempting to preserve Yellowstone and the species involved (you didn't happen to get that bit of information from State of Fear did you?) - but nature conservancy was an infant science when Yellowstone was first created. The first time humanity attempted a taxonomy of all species, we didn't get beyond plants and animals, and Aristotle made all sorts of ridiculous categorizations, but does that doesn't mean that humanity should've tossed up it's collective hands and said "Shit, this is all too difficult. I give up." Since we made various mistakes with nature conservancy, we've learned precisely the importance of preserving both top predators and the fire cycle (or whatever it's called). These two mistakes have both been corrected, as will, hopefully, whatever mistakes we're making in the present. The entire point of being "good stewards" is to look around every so often and say "Oh shit, I guess we shouldn't have done that.", then attempt to correct the problem.

My main concern is that we humans are drawing our collective understanding of the universe based upon a single shot. To me, it's similar to the mistakes that teenagers fall into when they think they're invincible. At a certain age, you haven't died yet, and you have no reason to think that you ever will. Even when kids know the dangers of any particular activity, those dangers still only exist in the realm of the abstract, and so it doesn't actually figure into calculations about, say, car surfing (http://4wheeldrive.about.com/od/new4wd4x4atvdrivers/a/car_surfing.htm). Similarly, tens of thousands of teens take up smoking each year, not fully understanding the dangers of addiction. I mention smoking specifically because the benefits are so disproportionately weak to the ultimate drawbacks.

To me, it's analogous to the current situation of humanity as a whole: we're basing our entire knowledge of how the planet reacts to industrialized societies on just a few decades of existence as such. The problem is that humans have a very short individual lifespan relative to the lifetime of our civilization as a whole, so we don't think or act far beyond a few years or decades at most, and yet we'll have to live on this planet for millennia. To act as if incremental losses do not matter or are somehow too difficult to understand and deal with, is, in my opinion, to resign our species to live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse.


There's no doubt that humans have caused some extinctions, and will cause more. But the kind of statement you just made cannot be verified. We don't even know how many species exist in the world, which means we cannot know how many are endangered, which really means we can only guess at how many are endangered through human activity.
We know of most of the megafauna on the planet. It's a news store when we discover any land creature larger than a toaster. As for "guessing", such guesses are based on the scientific method, so I think a more accurate word would be "estimate", which refers to the fact that the number is based on certain calculation of knowables. I think it's perfectly reasonable to say that humans are the cause of most extinctions on earth, particularly among the species we know best. Of all the animals on the endangered species list, I do now know of a single one that was put there by anything other than human activity,

Paint_It_Black
09-09-2007, 06:45 AM
The entire point of being "good stewards" is to look around every so often and say "Oh shit, I guess we shouldn't have done that.", then attempt to correct the problem.

I absolutely agree. And generally agree with your entire post, though I'm far too lazy right now to go through point by point.

I didn't mean to seem like I was attacking you to begin with. Actually, my hope was that you would respond with a well written, well informed post. Exactly as you did. I was intending to provoke you, but in a good way.

And yes, some of what I said was influenced by State of Fear because it was fresh in my mind. But my viewpoints come from documentaries that I hazily remember, as well as my own research after reading State of Fear. I first learned about Yellowstone's history when they began reintroducing wolves because I have quite an affection for them.

After making that last post I dropped a hint somewhere in General Chat that I'd just read State of Fear. Did you pick that up, or just get it from that post? Regardless, I was curious whether anyone would pick that up.

Mota Boy
09-09-2007, 07:43 AM
I read State of Fear a while ago and thought I recognized the argument from the book, which I also thought was terribly interesting. Though that book as a whole turned me off Crichton, a move completed by a juvenile bit in Next where he... well, just read this amusing article (http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?pt=kVkvv0cQL8S27qg04PBaUS%3D%3D).

Interestingly enough, immediately after posting my last post I finished up Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee, which actually devotes several chapters to the exact issue of species extinction. To paraphrase one of his best arguments "To consider the importance of any one species going extinct, think of the top five trees that we use for lumber around the world. Then think of the ten species of birds that prey on animals living in those trees, and the ten species of insect that each bird hunts in the trees. And the ten species of insect that pollinate each tree... if a man offered you $100,000 to cut out two ounces of you, you might think it worth the cost, say, if an expert surgeon removed two ounces of fat. But what if he just removed two ounces at random? He might remove a part of you on which your entire body depends, like your urethra."

Diamond then goes into detail about how every time that humanity encountered a new territory, mass extinctions occurred. It's terribly depressing as he goes into exact detail all the bitchin' animals we've killed off over the eons. Once, North America was inhabited by lions and mammoths, gigantic ground sloths and beavers the size of bears. Once, Madagascar was home to ten foot tall birds and lemurs the size of gorillas. Australia had eight foot tall carnivorous kangaroos. New Zealand had a bat that folded up its wings and fuckin' ran. Not to mention a thirty pound eagle with a ten foot wingspan.

I want a time machine and some heavy tranquilizers.

Actually, I'd settle for the tranquilizers.

Paint_It_Black
09-09-2007, 08:50 AM
I enjoy Crichton in what I expect is a similar way people enjoy Dan Brown. It's an easy read, entertaining and fun, but gives you a little something to think about too. Except Crichton is a better writer (not great by any means) and a rather brilliant individual, in my estimation.


I read State of Fear a while ago and thought I recognized the argument from the book, which I also thought was terribly interesting. Though that book as a whole turned me off Crichton, a move completed by a juvenile bit in Next where he... well, just read this amusing article (http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?pt=kVkvv0cQL8S27qg04PBaUS%3D%3D).

State of Fear turned me off a bit in the sense that the story obviously only existed to highlight the author's personal feelings on the subject matter. Purely as a story it's a bit weak. Even by Crichton's usual standards the characters were terribly shallow. However, I thought he had some fascinating points and the novel was a great medium to get those points out there. I wish he had put in more effort in areas other than the science, but oh well. At the same time I have wondered if the characters were intentionally two dimensional, in which case I sort of love it.

I read about 30 pages of someone else's copy of Next when it first came out. I haven't gotten around to picking it up myself yet, though I did hear about the part your link referred to. Personally, I don't have a problem with stuff like that. I see it as a harmless joke really. Yes it's juvenile, but I feel it's also a bit tongue-in-cheek. I mean, it's so obvious. Someone of Crichton's intelligence could craft something far more subtle if he wished. He's just having a little bit of fun. If an intelligent member of the BBS used "you have a small penis and molest children" as a comeback I don't think we'd take it as anything but intentional silliness.

But of course, that's also how I want to perceive it.

bouncingcoles
09-09-2007, 07:16 PM
animals have just as much of a right to live on this planet as we do. Protecting them should be one of our main priorities, expecially since we are the ones destroying this panet. i do as much as i can since i work at a wildlife center.

wheelchairman
09-09-2007, 11:58 PM
I'm looking forward to the day that Apes evolve far enough along to become a servant race to us. bye bye physical labor!

Paint_It_Black
09-10-2007, 01:16 AM
You're looking forward to the 18th century?

Offspringfan67
09-23-2007, 08:56 AM
i agree we need to at least try to protect the animals because the ffects could be distrouis