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visits member for 2 years, 8 months
seen Jul 8 at 21:06

May
29
comment If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?
I deliberately seek to avoid a specific case, because such a case would constrain the topic to a narrow set of preconditions, which tend to obscure the preconceptions of those engaging in discussion. For example: your answer and comments have shown how it is actually humanism and not evolution that leads us to preserve endangered species. Every point you have made is about how extinction will affect us, not evolutionary progress, which we cannot hope to assist since by interfering with a system we disrupt causality. Please forgive my bluntness.
May
29
comment If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?
The "fight against global warming" has less chance of succeeding than the "war on drugs." both are fighting economics, which is supposedly the foundation of evolution. I would view an invasive species as "short sighted consumption" at the cost of long term planning, which is why I asked this questions.
May
29
comment If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?
I agree with your last two paragraphs, but not the first two. Calling genetic drift a "mechanism of evolution" is inaccurate at best since no new genes are produced. If evolutionary history cannot be recovered, as you say, then how have various traits "re-evolved" multiple times throughout history? It is only the "inferior" combinations of those traits that (hopefully) will never re-emerge. This is where I fundamentally disagree with evolution. Each creature is majestic in its complexity and to merely call it a "mistake" and "inferior" needing to go extinct for life to march forward is mad.
May
29
comment If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?
You could just as easily have said that "our actions will change us, probably for the better."
May
27
comment If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?
Your comment about nuclear holocaust is hilarious in its reference to morality for which evolution provides no basis. Your questioning human survival is even more comical since you previously said that humans are "too fit" and must be restrained from dominating other species. Your final joke about waiting for the ecosystem to heal is choice. Human speciation would "heal" the ecosystem, no? Wait! Humans aren't speciating! They are becoming inbreds! New question: how to reconcile speciation with inbreeding?
May
27
comment If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?
There are contradictions in this answer: First we "benefit" from the process of mass extinction, then we "loose knowledge." Some creatures benefit from the extinction of others. However the "loss of knowledge" argument seems hocus pocus since various traits have been shown to have evolved multiple times in different species. While I agree that organisms are majestic etc. I don't see how evolution provides any precedent for preserving diversity. Like you said; the extinction of one species provides room for a superior species to speciate. Human speciation would seem to be the ultimate good.
May
27
comment If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?
In the first paragraph you portray extinction due to invasive species as illegitimate. In the second paragraph you say there is nothing wrong with 'natural' extinction. It would seem that you are re-defining extinction to exclude extinction caused by invasive species, which is what humans are most like. Then you say that "current rates of extinction" are orders of magnitude larger than "background rates." It would seem that by background rates you mean "without invasive species." So instead of answering the question you have re-defined extinction to avoid the messy parts.
May
15
comment If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?
@PaulA.Clayton Doesn't natural selection assume that a local optimum (emerging species) is superior to a more global optimum (aka invasive species)? If it were only about preserving outdated ideas we would merely sequence their genes and let the endangered species die--that would be much cheaper in many cases. You mention "artificially increased mixing," but you ignore the fact that for much of early history the world is believed to have been a single continent, which means "mixing" back then was naturally easier than today and likely comparable to human induced mixing of the present.
May
15
comment If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?
@Armatus How does evolution pre-humans deal with the issue of invasive species? Aren't invasive species the "fittest" creatures that evolution through natural selection favours? Doesn't survival of the fittest imply an expense to the less fit aka non-invasive or native species? Why should humans interfere with invasive species? The fittest survive right? Genetic engineering would deserve its own question.
May
14
comment If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?
@Armatus Couldn't the same argument be made for invasive species?
May
14
asked If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?
Apr
17
comment Are there any plants that fix their own nitrogen?
There soon may be: cbgp.upm.es/en/noticias/NFIX_LRubio_BMGF.html
Feb
22
comment Where is the line between Anaerobic and Aerobic?
The Kreb cycle can indeed take place. You speak of the final electron acceptor being different than oxygen, but for what process? Surely you are referring to the electron transport chain? That would power the regeneration of NAD+ and FAD+. Thus anaerobic respiration includes the Kreb and the ETC.
Feb
15
comment Where is the line between Anaerobic and Aerobic?
A friend of mine checked 8 different introductory biology textbooks: 6 of them described respiration as using oxygen. However 2 of them did not specifically state oxygen as the terminal electron acceptor, which I am convinced is technically correct. Nitrogen as a terminal electron acceptor is an exception and not the rule, which is why it is so often overlooked in textbooks.
Jan
7
accepted Where is the line between Anaerobic and Aerobic?
Dec
16
awarded  Yearling
Nov
1
comment Is There An Initiative To Sequence The Genomes Of Critically Endangered Species?
arthropodgenomes.org/wiki/i5K
Nov
1
comment Is There An Initiative To Sequence The Genomes Of Critically Endangered Species?
It seems like genomes are more valuable than spaceships.
Oct
27
asked Is There An Initiative To Sequence The Genomes Of Critically Endangered Species?
Oct
14
revised Where is the line between Anaerobic and Aerobic?
changed caps to bold