Borneo and Sumatra are two of the most bio-diverse regions of the world, yet they have the longest list of endangered species.
It follows. The more life, the more death. After all, if nothing lives, then nothing dies.It's the circular singularity.However, there's this: This list includes the magnificent orangutan. Now that's enough to make me stop using palm oil. Gotta leave some for the poor orangs. They're dying without their oil.But those football fields are the killer. Gotta put a stop to all that football field destruction. It's bad enough I hafta go all summer without my football; can't be having that go extinct....Eric Hines
This list of endangered species in the Sahara, however, is quite short.
I will risk overanalysing what may be a one-off slip by the essayist and try to pierce the veil of what he(?) was thinking: there are good, life-y places where humans have not ruined things, versus bad, death-y attitudes of human beings. Borneo is a magnificent life-y place. Therefore it just seems shocking that there should be any deathiness there. It just shows how far down we've come in the world.I wonder how he thinks - if he thinks - natural selection occurred before human beings arrived.
"Yet"? That's just what you'd expect, isn't it? No. I'd expect bio-diverse regions to have a long list of species but not necessarily a long list of endangered species.That said, the sentence is idiotic. You might be able to get away with an "and" instead of a "yet" but even then it doesn't really make sense. The author isn't content to simply say:Borneo and Sumatra are two of the most bio-diverse regions of the world. Sadly, far too many of their species are on the list of endangered species.Instead he wants to work that "longest" in there because he is incapable of logical thought.My favorite line in the essay was:This vicious cycle ultimately takes independent, culturally traditional villages and exposes them to the Western world.He makes it sound like "the Western world" is some hideous virus. (I love the use of bold-facing all over the essay also.)As for AVI's question about natural selection, there is this quote at the end of the essay:"There is no way that something as beautiful & innocent as an orangutan could've ever evolved into man."I'm not an expert on evolution but I don't think anyone has claimed, is claiming, or will claim that orangutans evolved into humans.
The claims is that it's the "longest" list of endangered species. Now somewhere has to have the longest list, even in an idyllic case in which almost no species are endangered. Say there's a minimum percentage of species that are endangered in a perfect case, because of purely natural evolutionary processes. Say that we get to that figure, and it's just 1%. Now, which region will have the longest list in this ideal case? The one with the most species, of course, because 1% of a million is a longer list than 1% of a thousand.It could be true that more diverse regions are more stable (sometimes this claim is made), in which case you might say that the endangered percentage will necessarily be higher in less-diverse regions. Even then, though, it has to be quite a delta to make the numbers come out with the less-diverse region having a longer list.I would find it surprising to learn that Borneo had fewer endangered species than a relatively barren region. That would be a mathematical oddity requiring an explanation! To hear that it's the other way around doesn't strike me as being all that odd.
I wonder how he thinks - if he thinks - natural selection occurred before human beings arrived.Well, obviously, humans from our nearby future, as Babylon 5 has revealed the capacity for, traveled back in time to the K-T boundary and threw a large rock that wiped out the dinosaurs. This, resulting from our own intelligent design that flowed from that strike, set in motion all of the subsequent lesser extinction events that are culminating in the obviously human-caused mass extinction currently in progress. As evidenced by Borneo and Sumatra losses.Eric Hines
Say there's a minimum percentage of species that are endangered in a perfect case, because of purely natural evolutionary processes.I take your point - and it's a telling response/rebuttal to me - but I suspect that to the author of the essay, no species is ever endangered because of purely natural evolutionary processes. The world is perfect just the way it is - or at least just the way it was before humans became advanced enough to change it.
Sigh. As soon as I walked away from the computer I realized that, yes, Elise, and that's why he wrote what he did. And that I wrote what I did means I, too, think about evolution as something that used to happen, not something that's happening now. That's discouraging, to think I share any thinking with the writer of the essay.I once said to someone that I worried about plastic because it might take a billion years for the planet to break if down. He said, "The planet doesn't care how long it takes." I realized that here was someone who understood reality in a way I didn't - and apparently still don't. Weird.
Don't sigh. You have no idea how delighted I am to learn that what I wrote turned out to be important and interesting to you. :)
Thanks, Grim. That's a nice way to frame it. :+)
Elise, my education at fine schools (I turn 60 in a few months) was suffused with the assumption that evolution had virtually stopped tens of thousands of years ago. Oh, there were a few little superficial things that were changing vewwy slowly, but basically, we were a unity from 100,000 BC to now. I don't think people said it often, it was just an assumption, necessary to the idea that all human behavior was deeply malleable via Changes In Society.So it's hardly surprising that was your default assumption. It turns out to be wildly inaccurate, according to the HBD folks, but that's a new set of ideas to us.
AVI - Yup, age range is about right - I turned 59 about 6 weeks ago. It's funny that I never even thought about that assumption - although I guess that's kind of the definition of an assumption. :+)What's sort of discouraging is that I never really thought about it even after reading a book (the name of which escapes me) in which the author made a sarcastic reference to people who believed that the last 100,000 years were The Period During Which Nothing Much Happened in human evolution.HBD = Human Biodiversity?
...assumption that evolution had virtually stopped tens of thousands of years ago.That's also the idea that underlies such claptrap as Paleo Diet(s). Never mind that we aren't that species anymore.And never mind that those ancestors of ours didn't necessarily thrive on their version of that diet, either--they just got away with it.Eric Hines
Well, the idea is that you'll lose weight. :)
The Paleo Diet bugs me for completely different reasons. Other than weird ketosis tricks, the only ways to lose weight are to take in fewer calories than you expend, thus forcing the body to burn fat stores. But leave that aside, why did ANYONE think that emulating the diet of people with an average life expectancy in the 30's was a good idea?
[W]hy did ANYONE think that emulating the diet of people with an average life expectancy in the 30's was a good idea?Die early, lose weight sooner.Eric Hines
"...but I suspect that to the author of the essay, no species is ever endangered because of purely natural evolutionary processes. The world is perfect just the way it is - or at least just the way it was before humans became advanced enough to change it."Yes, exactly. Utopia might be a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
Mike, actually, hunter-gatherers and foragers didn't die in their 30's. Most of that average comes from infant mortality and childhood diseases. In most of those societies, if you made it to 15, you had a 50-50 chance of making it to 60. Even hunting mammoths.People didn't make it past 80 very often, but they didn't croak out without some disease or accident that often, either. They did, however go hungry a month or so most years. Not fun.
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