There's basically no landscape on Earth that humans haven't altered

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    Implicit in much, if not all, modern environmental sentiment is the idea that the natural world has been despoiled by humans — and if we could just leave it alone, things would get better.
    But new research suggests that in reality, humans have been altering the natural world for millennia, long before the 15th century dawn of the Age of Discovery, when European societies mastered long-distance ocean navigation and began to spread their cultures, animals and diseases to new continents.
    The result of these changes, accumulating over time, has been the creation of extensively altered, highly cosmopolitan species assemblages on all landmasses. Pristine landscapes simply do not exist and, in most cases, have not existed for millennia.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...-hasnt-been-altered-by-humans-scientists-say/
     
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  3. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    That's called the "appeal to nature" fallacy: the false belief that anything "natural" is inherently better than something human-influenced:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature

    It includes as a starting premise the false belief that humans aren't "natural" and get more and more "unnatural" over time, which is what this is:
     
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  5. Nacho Registered Senior Member

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    Also, "Nature" has its bondoogles too: deserts, extinctions, deadly concentrations of solutions of elements (evaporation of dying lakes) ... probably many more.
     
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  7. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    That, to me, is a misinterpretation. One can acknowledge that humans are just as natural as kangaroos, but wish to distinguish the impact humans have had on the environment from that of kangaroos, koalas, kittihawks, and other kreatures.
     
  8. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    I agree that people can, but they often don't or do it improperly. "Organic" food and "natural" products are prime examples.

    It is more nuanced than I worded it, but the advocates of the fallacy draw sharp lines that in reality are misleading or even meaningless or false.
     
  9. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, I certainly agree that such behaviour is common among the nuttier elements, but I believe it is important not to go to further in the other direction and to bring out the nuances that you refer to.
     
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The improper, nutty, foolish, "organic" and "natural" intellectual feebs are now in the position of not having fed themselves and their children industrial trans fats and artificial sweeteners for the past thirty years. They have also gone easy on the antibiotics, had some good times hanging out with interesting gardeners and CSA farmers, been eating better tasting tomatoes and eggs and chicken, avoided killing their local bees and the like, and often avoided sit-down thumb addictions to video games etc.

    And they may have flat out saved your ass on nuclear power - have you been following the latest recaps of what happened at Fukushima? Apparently the spent fuel pool at #4 was saved from igniting by simple, god-sent, counter-engineered, luck.

    So mock them for their inferior intellects if you must, but at least consider the possibility they may know something you haven't figured out yet - the evidence for that is piling up, rather than dissipating.

    Meanwhile, one criterion possible for "natural" is landscape dominated by uninterrupted non-human feedback systems and ecological interactions, creating depth of complexity over time, whether incorporating human influences of one kind and another or not. So human intention - always a simplifying factor - is not structurally visible. For example, the trees are not in rows, or planted in human chosen locations, but instead grew from seeding by neighboring trees (or squirrels, etc) according to the properties of the location in which they were deposited. This produces a landscape of much greater complexity over time, which is apparent (in my experience) in even casual view, as a quality or subliminal affect.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016

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