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Re: Re: Palaeontology and the Environment



[Warning - Non dinosaur alert.  No dinosaur paleontology mentioned below.]

>Isn't that what a dynamic ecosystem is about -- change.  Could we be more
>ethnocentric than to think we should alter the process to preserve a planet
>fro our own use as a static species? Is that morally any different from
>changing it to cause a mass extinction that eliminates h. sapeins in the
>process?

[I think I've found a point of view as reprehensible as creationism...].

Well, I think we can agree that the latter suggestion is morally worse, in
that bringing about the extinction of H. sapiens (capitalize the "H",
please) is mass murder to a degree beyond the most twisted fantasies of
Hitler or Stalin.

So, how about this argument in turn. Death is inevitable to all of us: you,
me, everyone reading this, everyone you've ever known, everyone that ever
will be.  This is the basic fact of life.  Death of the individual is even
more inevitable than the extinction of lineages.

Would you argue that murder should be legal and moral because of this? Death
is, after all, a natural part of the life process.  Or, would you take a
more typical stance, and agree that unnecessary death is a tradgedy and the
act of bringing about unnecessary death literally criminal?

I'm no philosopher or ethicist, and I don't want to let this proceed to an
agrument about who and what has "rights".  I'd just like to point out that
the argument that "extinction is natural, therefore it's okay" isn't the
whole of the spectrum of ideas on the subject.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
Colege Park, MD  20742
Email:Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
Fax: 301-314-9661
Phone:301-405-4084