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> Conservation Efforts, Are they futile?
trojan_libido
post Oct 02, 2007, 07:33 AM
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I made this statement in another post and wanted to expand upon it here rather than go offtopic. Its simply: Are conservation efforts a waste of time?

I understand that aligning yourself with a world changing agenda like conservation is generally a good thing, but hasn't the panda had enough opportunities to recover from its extiction status? A lot of effort goes into selecting possible mates for these animals, and the reason they are almost extinct is they have no desire to try new foods or have sex. Aren't we playing God by stepping in, which in almost every other case is frowned upon?

Case in point, genetically modified foods. There has been a backlash of negative pulicity about GM foods, but we've been actively forcing nature into larger bounties for a long long time. Selective breeding, manual polination, large scale cow milking, chicken farming. These things aren't natural in the strict sense. Scientists have genetically modified a chicken so its greedy, this in turn creates fatter chickens and more meat. This means those chickens are hotter and more uncomfortable, even to the point of death, due to the extra weight and feathering. The scientists then developed a bald chicken to reduce labour costs! They then had the bright idea of crossing the bald chicken with the greedy chicken to create super-bald chickens! Overheating chicken problem solved and Dr. Frankenstein hasn't got a look in.

But whats this got to do with conservation?

If you create a panda thats greedy, will it try different types of food? Maybe theres a gene for libido increase that can be altered slightly. Would people object to this kind of genetic modification. The worst that can happen is an invasion of giant man-eating panda rapists...

To me it seems that we want to keep these animals in existence for our own selfish desires, they look cute and we'd like to believe theres room in this world for cuteness - we want our children to see these cute animals. I say cute because I've not seen any reason why an animal like the panda should have so much effort poured into it. Isn't evolution about survival of the fittest, not the laziest.

How many conservation efforts have you seen for some stink-bug, or type of cockroach. I'm sure there are many conservation efforts that are not high-profile, but why do we feel the need to do this? Raising an extinct species is almost a reality, but what would you really want with a mammoth, its environment has long since gone. If mammoth type body styles were required for an elephants environment, if the external pressure was sufficient, I'm sure the genes for long hair would switch back on. We could be interupting the process with our interfering.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakapo
This is the only parrot that is flightless. It arrived on a few Islands lacking mammalarian predators and over time evolved to be more efficient and lost the ability of flight. Man comes with various mammal predators and suddenly the Kakapo is up bird sh1t creek without a wing. With just over eighty of these birds, all named, they've moved them to some mammal free island nearby and continued the conservation effort. This only delays the inevitable.

Maybe selectively adding a single mammal predator to this new environment and forcing them to adapt to flight again would be a better plan of action. This would allow us to see how much environmental pressure is required for adaptation. Actually test Darwins theory rather than just talk about it. The current plan seems to serve no purpose other than our own selfish desires, job creation and what we believe is a righteous path.

RIP: The Yangtze river dolphin
RIP: Tasmanian Devil (Almost)
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Rick
post Oct 02, 2007, 11:05 AM
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Rather than focusing on endangered species, conservationists now are realizing that preserving ecosystems is in the long term interests of the people. The current issue of Scientific American has an article on this approach:

http://sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&...1194989925EAB97

"Conservation for the People"
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GodConsciousness
post Oct 29, 2007, 08:16 AM
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Seems that we have been trying to play God for a long time now.

Perhaps if we could learn to live in greater 'harmony' with nature, we would see that 'conservation' comes naturally.
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Rick
post Oct 29, 2007, 11:41 AM
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QUOTE(GodConsciousness @ Oct 29, 2007, 09:16 AM) *

Seems that we have been trying to play God for a long time now.

Perhaps if we could learn to live in greater 'harmony' with nature, we would see that 'conservation' comes naturally.

We need to attain political power before that can happen.
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GodConsciousness
post Oct 29, 2007, 11:44 AM
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Does the Green Party have the might?
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Rick
post Oct 29, 2007, 11:59 AM
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QUOTE(GodConsciousness @ Oct 29, 2007, 12:44 PM) *

Does the Green Party have the might?

Not even close. And the Democrats seem to be also in the thrall of the corporations (maybe not so bad as the Republigans).
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Hudzon
post Oct 29, 2007, 01:02 PM
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I certainly hope the green party has no power. "The green taliban" is how my transhumanist friends refer to it, and not without a reason.

Anyway, to the topic at hand, I agree that sometimes we should just let evolution do what it wants. People will argue that humans are the reason why these animals are extinct, but they forget that humans are a just as natural part of the ecology as the animals that they force to extinction.
In other words, what's the point in trying to save the animals that already cannot adopt to the world that we created? Even if we breed a few thousand pandas or parrots, they'll just die out once we release them into the "wilderness".

Besides, once garage biotechnology becomes possible amateur hobbyists will populate the world with mutants anyway.

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The current plan seems to serve no purpose other than our own selfish desires, job creation and what we believe is a righteous path.

Technically, any one of the three alone would justify the cause...

And since when was playing God a bad thing...? Unless of course you would rather prefer to play ostrich...
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Rick
post Oct 30, 2007, 11:23 AM
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QUOTE(Hudzon @ Oct 29, 2007, 02:02 PM) *
... but they forget that humans are a just as natural part of the ecology as the animals that they force to extinction.

Just because we are natural does not mean that we have to be stupid about it or behave irresponsibly. Evolution is no longer blind.
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maximus242
post Oct 30, 2007, 11:38 AM
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QUOTE(trojan_libido @ Oct 02, 2007, 09:33 AM) *

I made this statement in another post and wanted to expand upon it here rather than go offtopic. Its simply: Are conservation efforts a waste of time?

I understand that aligning yourself with a world changing agenda like conservation is generally a good thing, but hasn't the panda had enough opportunities to recover from its extiction status? A lot of effort goes into selecting possible mates for these animals, and the reason they are almost extinct is they have no desire to try new foods or have sex. Aren't we playing God by stepping in, which in almost every other case is frowned upon?


We started playing god a long long time ago. To late to turn back now.
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Rick
post Oct 30, 2007, 12:09 PM
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To really learn about playing god read Rudy Rucker's novel Frek and The Elixer.
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kortikal
post Oct 30, 2007, 07:26 PM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ Oct 30, 2007, 12:38 PM) *
We started playing god a long long time ago. To late to turn back now.

if only mere humans had the power to play god, but alas, they are as ineffectual as the flea, and perhaps as ineradicatable.
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Zizius
post Aug 10, 2008, 12:27 PM
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If we want to endure as a species we will inevitably have to restore what has been damaged, create world peace, and find ways to protect ourselves and our planet from asteroids, super-volcanoes, tidal waves, pandemics, alien invasion, and ,heaven forbid, pandas that abstain from sex and extravagant foods.

Nature has a way of repairing itself, but there is no reason we shouldn't make it our business to assist. We should tread slowly and carefully on this path because it is so vital to our survival.

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boots
post Aug 11, 2008, 06:59 AM
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QUOTE
Nature has a way of repairing itself, but there is no reason we shouldn't make it our business to assist. We should tread slowly and carefully on this path because it is so vital to our survival.


Humans are extremely overpopulated. The planet does not have enough natural resources to support all of its people. This is why we turn to genetic modification. That is why many other species are going extinct. But what can be done about this plague? Nothing. Nature has a way of restoring balance when balance is disturbed.
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