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10 January 2009 @ 11:01 am
Darwin and Environmentalism  
2009 is the year of Darwin..now I have issues with Darwin for slightly crazy reasons mainly that he wouldn't have published his work if it wasn't for Wallace telling him that he was going to publish work which made the same claims using evidence from a different part of the world (and Wallace also remembered to write down where he'd been when he spotted the animals, something Darwin didn't think was necessary) So Darwin published his work and everyone remembers him because he was a 'gentleman' whereas Wallace had to work for his money...class seeming to win over knowing where you've been..

Anyway, that's not what this topic is about.

2009 is the year of Darwin..now if we were to think that everyone believed what Darwin(Wallace) found, which I know lots of people don't...(for more scientific reasons than me (I found Wallace's work more convincing)) but supposing that we all did...All of us believed that the animals who adapted to their environment the best would survive to pass their genes onto the next generation and those animals who were least suited to their environment died out (a brief summary) then surely when an animal was dying out such as the giant panda because it only ate a certain type of food which was being destroyed then we should leave the panda to die or adapt instead of helping them to continue to be unsuitable for the changing environment

And yes, I know...it is us, the humans, who are changing the environment and doing it incredibly rapidly and no one likes rapid change but then humans are adapting to it...cats are adapting to it very well (cats can go from domesticated to feral in one generation and then back to domesticated again) foxes are adapting quite well...those bears/deers (cant remember what they are) who invade that canadian city every year to mate/eat food from bins in the main street seem to be doing fine...I bet if people stopped shooting the polar bears they'd be inside people's bins...living outside of maccyd's getting people to buy them burgers real quick...they've already adapted to the lack of ice by swimming more...(soon they will reach those penguins and then the penguins had better learn to fly)

We're in the middle of an economic disaster and those who can adapt the quickest to the new environment will survive...unfortunately woolies wasn't going to make it because there were loads of shops doing the job of woolies cheaper and better...adams might not make it because primark are selling cheaper better kids wear...the specialist purfume shop in my local town centre probably won't make it...just like the freshly squeezed fruit juice shop didn't make it...annoying, subway will.

If I felt like being controversal I could even take it all the way to people who can't afford medical treatment and such...however, I think that communities which rely on each member of the community working to help others is a step in evolution...lions and meercats do it and people are stronger when they work together then when they work alone (possibly the tribes we are working in are a lil too big to be constructive at the moment)

Anyway, that is my random post done...go and see how cool Wallace was and ignore everything that Darwin ever said..
Catpain Blackuddercharlycrash on January 10th, 2009 12:13 pm (UTC)
the animals who adapted to their environment the best would survive to pass their genes onto the next generation and those animals who were least suited to their environment died out

If I'm to be picky with semantics, that's actually Lamarckism.. which interestingly I seem to remember some evidence was found for recently, but I can't remember how solid the evidence was or much else about it other than that - I find Larmarckism fairly questionable though, as it'd imply wholescale karyotypic changes caused by living changes to the phenotype.

Darwinian* evolution is about random mutation or genetic recombination making an individual subtly more likely to produce more offspring that will themselves survive to produce offspring.

Other than that - I have to say, I find your idea fairly ridiculous. Why? The web of biota on Earth has evolved incredible complexity and small changes in one part of the biosphere can cause widespread changes. Major extinction events such as the one we seem to be currently in the process of causing could quite easily end up biting us on the arse.

Maybe in the process of, I dunno, wiping out aphids that prey on food crops with pesticides we put a toxin into the environment that destroys a large amount of the local honey bee population, meaning that crops that are usually pollinated by those bees aren't any more and regardless of our methods to compensate, we have great difficulty growing that crop.

I find extinction sad because it's narrowing the scope of the wonders that the Terrestrial biosphere has wrought. I don't think that paucity is anything but a negative thing. To me, losing the baiji or the dodo or whatever else is like all copies of all John Wyndham novels disappearing overnight, or New Zealand and all its people and culture vanishing overnight. That loss is incredibly sad.

* or Wallaceian, if you prefer - and I'm not sure I like your scorn of Darwin. Wallace may have generated the nugget of the idea but Darwin enriched it significantly and popularised it, which isn't a minor thing. This is ignoring that Wallace was only himself building on ideas that had been recognised for thousands of years: people had recognised for thousands of years that offspring show the qualities of their parents.
Catpain Blackuddercharlycrash on January 10th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
I should add wrt the honey bee thing HB populations go down by something ridiculous like 20% a year, and it's only frantic human breeding of them that means they haven't been totally wiped out. HBs going extinct wouldn't be a minor problem, either: were HBs to go extinct, we'd be pretty fucked. All our crops that rely on HB pollination (about 30%) would die out or would at any rate no longer be a viable food crop. And of course, any food web that involved HBs would collapse very quickly.
sta_kittensta_kitten on January 10th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
We'd probably find a new thing to replace the honey bee with

If it weren't for extinction some of the creatures we have today...probably even we wouldn't be here if it weren't for the extinction of something else..who knows what creatures would evolve if we stopped attempting to keep these things alive...

Yes its sad that we lose things but if we kept hold of everything we ever had the world would never move forward.
Catpain Blackuddercharlycrash on January 10th, 2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
I wonder how long your little ideas would last were you personally at threat.
sta_kittensta_kitten on January 10th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
Selfishness is a problem...we talk about destroying the planet but the truth is we will destroy ourselves and the planet will recover and new life will evolve...it is our selfishness that is destroying us and that is making us try to change our behaviour.
Catpain Blackuddercharlycrash on January 10th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
That's sort of like saying that you shouldn't warn someone they're about to be hit by a bus because if they are, someone else can have their lunch.

The reason we're in such trouble in terms of extinction/diversity right now is because of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event.

During the Cretaceous, life was remarkably stable and changed a lot less than you might expect. The Yucatan comet/meteorite/whatever it was that caused the C-T extinction destroyed so many species that it created an instability via opening up new and vacant post-event habitats that even now, 65 million years later, the Earth biosphere is still working its way towards some sort of equilibrium: the fact that we're developing so fast and managing to wipe out so many other species that aren't able to adapt their way around us is precisely because of this lack of equilibrium.

In other words, by causing another mass extinction, we're furthering this state of affairs and lengthening the chaos caused by the C-T event.

It would help if you illuminated what basic principles of "good" and "bad" you're working from here.
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sta_kittensta_kitten on January 10th, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
Wallace said the same thing, so ignore Darwin and listen to Wallace and we'll start a strange revolution which won't really make that much difference to the world
eulipious on January 10th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
I'm all for strange revolutions that don't make much difference to the world.
almagill: weird beard egg head trollalmagill on January 10th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
Besides, Wallace was really cute in that Braveheart thing...

El Estuche: Awa chan hehehczarny on January 10th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
Haha! Brilliant :D
ijournalerijournaler on January 10th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid the verdict of history favours Darwin and to give everyone their due the paper announcing the theory was jointly presented to the Linnaen Society in 1858. However your suggestion would make a compelling TV drama.

Letting evolution take its course would probably end up with two mammalian species - humans and rats - so please let's keep saving the pandas.

Edited at 2009-01-10 04:34 pm (UTC)
sta_kittensta_kitten on January 10th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
They were jointly presented...Wallace wrote Darwin a letter and told him that he was going to present but that he'd wait for Darwin...Darwin just got the praise...