So Much for the Overpopulation Scares?.......

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by exchemist, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Yes. That is what artificial means.
    : an artifact, a man-made thing; contrived, purposely created by a conscious entity.
    Heavenly bodies or space rocks - in any case, long predating an intelligence as we know intelligence.
    Why does philosophy require such self-contradictory phrases? There can't be anything "permissible" or "forbidden" in nature. Those words denote an authority with preferences, and subjects with free will to disobey. Nature is just physics; its "laws" are unbreakable.
    "Natural" vs "artificial" communicates a meaning. To communicate meaning is what people generally use language for - though maybe philosophers, politicians and lawyers use it for the opposite purpose.

    Indeed! Humans departed from the natural order about 30,000 years ago with intense agriculture, deliberately separated themselves from nature about 6000 years ago with walled cites, and aggressively turned against nature about 2000 years ago with the advent of Christianity (though the roots of the hostility go back farther in some pockets of civilization.)

    Yes, bacteria can be harmful. Lots of things in nature are harmful to other things in nature. But their selection for adaptive traits that confer an advantage in the given environment - even an artificial environment of vaccines and antibiotics - has been natural, until humans started splicing their genes.

    The earth, sure. Insecticides, mine runoff, habitat and food supply loss, industrial pollutants, fertilizers and GMO's, no.

    I know. And they'll probably survive us. But they won't have time to adapt to take over the roles of crop pollinators before we starve. It's the flying insects we most depend on that we've most nearly destroyed. Not to mention organisms that make fertile soil.

    It was, until we figured out how to change the environment to suit our requirements, instead of fitting ourselves to the environment. There is the departure point from natural to artificial selection: humans learned to manipulate reproduction - of domestic animals, as well as themselves - to suit a contrived economy and social order, rather than allowing better-adapted traits to win reproductive rights. Thus, they have created canines that can't run can barely breathe, birds too fat to fly, grasses and fruit with sterile seeds - just as they contrive a system of rulership entirely divorced from fitness to lead.

    The baby boy engendered by the faster rapist in a conquest won't have an advantage: its mother will be reviled by her tribe and possibly killed; the child will be ostracized and denied opportunities. Whichever side triumphs in the end, even the most genetically superior bastard is at a social disadvantage; he might not even get a bride. Meanwhile, a weedy, wheezy dullard of the same cohort will become a man of importance with seven nubile wives and three dozen well-fed offspring, because his father was granted lots of land by the victorious warlord.

    This whole controversy began when I said humans don't follow the previously known pathways of evolution, because their reproduction is artificially constrained and their responses to the environment are technological, rather than adaptive. It's even more true, now that they can manipulate their genetic code directly. That's not evolution; that's industry. In some instances, it may equip its products for a naturally existing environment - as, perhaps, when a specially engineered humanoid sub-species is sent to colonize Mars.
    But the rules that govern the evolution of crocodiles and coyotes no longer apply to humans.
    The most obvious, glaring, game-changing differences are in scale and speed.
    In a week, humans can alter a landscape in ways that would take geological forces half a million years. Humans can extirpate more species in a day than nature can in 10,000 years.
    At the same time, humans turn over a generation in about 20 years - far, far too slowly to adapt to their own effect on the environment. Bacteria and viruses are the only organisms that can stay ahead of that rapid change; the toughest and oldest insects are the only ones that can survive it in the long term.

    Yes. Beavers are conscious and intelligent. The dam is made for a purpose: to alter the environment to suit the beavers' requirements - which evolved in tandem with the demands of the environment. The influence is reciprocal. It does some harm to other life forms, and it does some good to other life forms, but it doesn't collapse an ecosystem.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    All that would be necessary to make that unarguable would be a qualifier - say, that humans don't always follow the previously known etc.
    That humans do still largely and significantly follow the standard pathways of evolution, are following them as we speak, is an observation. Our technology has not cut us free of biological reality just yet.
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  5. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    No, we've deliberately cut ourselves off. By-by, Nose; up yours, Face!
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  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    And we are beginning to pay the price. We can fool mother nature only for a little while, (250 years of industrial pollution) before it responds to any imbalance out excesses create (global warming, pollution).

    We can see that this has already begun.
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    And there you touched on the crux. Of course humans must follow natural evolutionary paths. However there is chasm between the damage humans can do and what damage any other species can inflict on its environment.

    But extinction is not a new phenomenon. Witness the dinosaurs.

    Natural artifacts are change neutral, in that the creation of an artificial lake allows the expansion of one population to replace a population which does not thrive in water. But they just pack up and move and if they like fish, they don't go too far from this new food source.

    This type adaptive behavior is not allowed in human settlements, for the most part.
    This scenario does not happen with human artifacts, except perhaps for a few wild-life preserves and even more structured, zoos.
    Usually, humans bring their own domesticated animals to serve them and hunt or trap the rest to extinction. The buffalo is a perfect example of man's wanton disregard for the earth's eco-system and its hospitable environments it provides for ALL.

    Humans are an invasive predatory (even parasitic) species with a permanent presence once a population is established and completely changing the wood jungle into an asphalt jungle.

    We're not killing the earth, we can't. But we are killing this current earth's environment and morally that's just as bad. We might be committing suicide and we don't seem to care at all.

    In the modern world non-renewable natural resources are to be used up completely, while redepositing billions of tons of sequestered CO2 back into the atmosphere, maybe recreating a CO2 rich atmosphere and our "ghost-towns" will be covered in GREEN in a few decades

    How stupid is that?
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I agree completely, the laws of physics are mathematical, but that also means mathematical permissions and restrictions on mathematical expressions (patterns) in reality.

    When humans introduce unnatural (not naturally occurring) artifacts such as chemical detergents, nature does not have the evolved natural responses and the result is catastrophic extinction for many aquatic species from the natural imbalance allowing a proliferation (overpopulation) of algae blooms.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  10. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    That's what I've been having difficulty communicating: the human-made / natural dichotomy.
    Yes, humans were originally a product of nature, but have recently so far outstripped the capabilities of nature that there is no contest. Upsetting or destroying an ecosystem takes a year or two; restoring it takes 10,000. The only extinction as sudden and complete as humans are able to perpetrate was done by a massive meteor strike.
    I would have preferred my legacy not to be megadeath.
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I agree with you, except for time-scale. The earth is quite resilient and has withstood 250 years of uncontrolled fossil fuel reliant heavy industry. But the effects are rapidly becoming apparent.

    The single saving grace of our use of oil may be that there is only some 50 years available oil left in the world. Question is how are we going to fuel moving vehicles after the oil runs out?

    But at current consumption rates, even massive new discoveries of oil reserves will only relieve shortages for a few years at most. After that we will experience a sharp decline in production and the beginning of this phase;

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018

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