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Evolution and Environmentalism

Dylan NICHOLSON dnich at cat.cs.mu.OZ.AU
Fri Sep 12 22:53:24 EST 1997

>> <snip>									 I still believe many 'deep
>> ecologists' who insist on other species 'intrinsic worth' and right to
>> survive despite human behaviour, are being hypocritical. It is simpler to
>> accept that nature 'knows' what it best for itself, and nature consists of
>> selfish species. Therefore we should value nature for purely selfish reasons,
>> which include the positive emotions we experience from enjoying it. W.F.
>> Baxter has argued this quite convincingly in 'People or Penguins', an article
>> that appears in 'Planet in Peril', and his views make a marked and welcome
>> contrast to many of the other righteous but ultimately hypocritical views
>> of other writers in the same volume.

>but nature is a system of checks and balances - you're not looking at
>dr. wolper's 'big picture'... that is, mice eat the grain in the silo
>and would eat it all, but some die of a grain-carrier parasite and some
>the cat gets. the cat would eat all the mice, but some hide better and
>sometimes the dog chases it away... species are 'selfish' only as long
>as it's in their interest to be so or as long as something doesn't get
>in the way - and there are lots of obstacles.

Um..selfish is by definition acting in one's own interest...I thought...

>look at herd animals cooperating to keep the young safe from predators
>and cross species cooperation, right up to symbiosis.

Each one of them is doing the best it can to preserve the interest of
their genes...which are more than likely shared in the young. Even if they
weren't, many species have come to learn cooperative behaviour is in their
best interest, even if it means occasional acts of apparent altruism.

>every day, there are new disease popping up out of evolution's magic bag
>of tricks. aids had to be introduced via intercourse or blood
>transferal, so it only got a selected stripe of the population. suppose
>the next big-time-fatal disease were airborne, or arrived in drops of

This is possible. If it were equally lethal to all other species, and 
was widespread, then humans would probably be the only species capable of
surviving at all...albeit in limited numbers. Our natural defense against
diseases may not be so great, but our technological defenses are, even by
today's standard, sufficient to at least have a hope of surviving the
most virulent disease imaginable, even if it meant 5 people locked away
in a bunker...

>you keep making humankind out to be more than it is, and taking wild
>jumps of wishing. wishing don't make it so. on my planet, we wish you'd
>go to bed at a decent hour over here and quit making so much noise. does
>it ever get us anywhere?

As has been said, most of what I've said is FAR from wish, in fact I wish
much the opposite. It is a line of logical thought and fairly rational
predictions...my subjective side isn't very happy about it at all!

As to whether it gets us anywhere...well I'm sure I'm not the only one who's
enjoying participating in (mostly) intelligent debate, and it's always helpful
to have new perspectives on our place on this planet.

..yes I *do* know how to write signature files, but I just can't be
bothered really...

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