Species Extinction is Nothing New

Dodo, based on Roelant Savery's 1626 painting ...

Dodo, based on Roelant Savery’s 1626 painting of a stuffed specimen– note the two same-side feet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Letter to the Editor

As the global warming bubble deflates, another scare is being inflated – species extinction. Naturally the professional alarmists present this as a brand new threat, caused by man’s industry.

However, species extinction, like climate change, is the way of the world.

It was not carbon dioxide that entombed millions of mammoths and other animals in mucky ice from Iceland to Alaska. It was not steam engines that wiped out the dinosaurs and 75% of other species who had dominated the Earth for 180 million years. There were no humans to blame for the Great Permian Extinction when over 90% of all life on Earth was destroyed – animals, plants, trees, fish, plankton even algae disappeared suddenly.

Sadly, history shows that it is the destiny of most species to be destroyed by periodic natural calamities or competition from other species. Earth’s history is a moving picture, not a still life. No species has an assured place on Earth. Some species can adapt and survive – those unable to adapt are removed from the gene pool.

Earth’s periodic species extinctions are usually associated with widespread glaciation, volcanism, earth movements and solar disruptions. Most geological eras have closed with such calamitous events. Random and more localised species extinctions are caused by rogue comets. But global warming and abundant carbon dioxide have never featured as causes of mass extinctions.

Because of Earth’s long turbulent history, most species surviving today are not “fragile”. Every one of them, including humans, is descended from a long line of survivors going back to the beginnings of life on Earth.

Man has thrived because of his adaptability, resourcefulness and more recently, his use of science and technology. We cannot now return to a cave-man existence. Without the freedom to explore, develop and utilise our resources, most humans would not survive.

Species extinction events are not new, are not caused by burning carbon fuels, and will probably occur again. We will need all of our freedom, ingenuity and technology to survive.

Let us not hasten our own species extinction by starving ourselves of food and energy with foolish demonization of carbon, the building block of all life forms.

Viv Forbes,
Rosewood Qld Australia
forbes@carbon-sense.com

I am happy for my email address to be published.

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114 Responses to Species Extinction is Nothing New

  1. Alan Clark says:

    If we want to stave-off species extinction, we need to shut-down windmills because they are slaughtering thousands of birds daily.

  2. Duncan B (UK) says:

    Quite so. Thimbles, peas, moving targets and goalposts.

    Heads up Folks!

  3. SasjaL says:

    Not to forget, more “new’ species are found every year compared to the number of extinct ones.

    (Greenpeace, let go of the Great Panda …)

  4. pat says:

    meanwhile, the British summer is not working out too well:

    4 June: UK Daily Mail: Freezing June! It’ll rain all week, feel chilly and we might even see snow on Britain’s highest peaks
    Up to an inch of rain fell across large parts of the country yesterday
    Unsettled weather expected to continue until next weekend
    Highest temperatures during the day forecast to drop to the mid-teens
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2154340/Freezing-June-Itll-rain-week-snow.html

  5. Garry Stotel says:

    Stupidity and corruption will be our downfall. Ignorance and arrogance also combine to a lethal brew.

  6. Andrew says:

    The struggle for species to survive is the very driver of the process known as evolution. There are many who have a pathological fear of the concept that anything should fail rather than succeed, so we must bail out companies, and in just that manner we must bail out failing species. But to do so requires that we take away the force which drives change and improvement over time. Species and companies stagnate, allowed to repeat mistakes that would ordinarily threaten them with extinction. Out of compassion we leave the environment and the economy filled with feeble, dependent inhabitants that cannot survive without us, whereas in nature every failure is replaced something more robust to the challenge those that failed could not overcome.

  7. Henry Clark says:

    A large part of the letter of Viv Forbes is quite correct. With that said, though, the fact that mass species extinctions have occurred naturally is not really an argument against wanting to prevent them. At least, it is not unless one follows the fallacy of some environmentalists (incorrectly believing anything natural is good) to an ultimate conclusion. For instance, naturally all life on Earth would end within a billion years or so due to increase in the sun’s output, but, if mankind’s intellectual descendants exist then, I would hope they would have disregarded what is natural and would have artificially spread life into space.

    There are only moderate number of thousands of vertebrate species: mammals, fish, lizards, birds, etc. And only a fraction of those are endangered. The widely hyped media figures of millions of species come from counting all sorts of invertebrates, mainly bugs. Under a properly managed program, few if any endangered species would cost more than a few million dollars each at most to, if necessary, capture some individuals and maintain a breedable population of them, as well as to preserve samples for future cloning or other restoration if needed as a backup. So preventing species extinction is not hard in financial terms, not taking even 1/1000th of GDP, nor does it require massive restructuring of civilization as some environmentalists imply.

    Some would object about ecosystems, but actually those are best preserved through encouraging and advancing high-yield mechanized agriculture; for instance, if mankind instead went back to more primitive organic farming, with lower yields, we would not able to spare as much land for nature as we do now.

    A good page:

    http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/

    and, most specifically:

    http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/nature/nature.html

  8. JC says:

    Obviously the Dodo’s extinction is based on its failure to reproduce, due to being a lousy dancer.

  9. wheresmyak47NOitsnotathreatyouparanoidmoron says:

    [snip]

  10. herptile says:

    New species are being ‘discovered’ at a much faster rate than that at which they are being lost, but as invariably only a few specimens are found they go straight onto the ‘critically endangered’ list. Thus the alarmists can truthfully say that ‘ever more species are now indeed ‘critically endangered’.
    There is also the problem of dubious sub-species. If Joe Bloggs ‘discovers’ a new toad he may well be tempted to insist that it is Bufo Bufo Bloggsii.
    When specimens cannot be found in that location some years later we can always put that one down to ‘global warming’ !
    WWF’s alarmism over ‘endangered’ Tigers is as suspect as the furore over the ‘disappearing’ Polar Bear, but that’s a much longer story.

  11. timg56 says:

    I’ve observed a propensity on the part of greens and environmentalists to want to “freeze” what they see as the “natural” environment, indicating a complete lack of understanding of ecology.

  12. Richdo says:

    “We will need all of our freedom, ingenuity and technology to survive.”

    Yes, and of these freedom is the most important. Ingenuity and technology, like capitalism, are just some of the positive emergent characteristics of individual freedom.

  13. Kasuha says:

    Mass human-induced species extinction threat is not new. It’s just been temporarily taken over by more sound buzzwords such as global warming but it’s been there all the time and it was even on the global warming background (coral bleaching, concerns about species being unable to adapt to CAGW, …).
    And there is actually a lot to talk about, because there is no doubt humans are creating evolutionary pressure on their environment. Any domestic animals wouldn’t exist without human influence, but many ‘unwanted’ ones wouldn’t exist as well (such as house mouse or bugs specialized at living with humans).
    There’s whole spectrum of opinions on how much is the right amount, starting with ‘anything is okay’ and ending with ‘there should be no influence at all’. The task for the future is not to deny any problems about it – it is about finding the right position in between these two.

  14. Olen says:

    Everything makes sense except the evolution or species. Evolutionists are still looking for the missing link which they have claimed several times only to find it is not.

    The study of species deserves no more of a pass on speculation and predictions than any other area of science.

  15. John Game says:

    Actually, lets have some accuracy about the facts here, please. Human beings ARE causing and HAVE caused major species extinctions, but it isn’t through climate change. Its through introduction of new invasive organisms to places where they did not evolve and thus the native biota have no resistance to them, its through direction predation, and its though habitat destruction, among other things. I am climate change sceptic, but I also believe passionately in species preservation, and to say that we have not/ are not contributing to extinctions is just factually not correct. The Great Auk and the Dodo and The Passenger Pigeon all went extinct simply because human beings hunted them to extinction – none of them were in trouble before they became hunted, and there are many more examples. Some bird species on Australia’s Lord Howe Island were exterminated by rats that escaped from a ship in the early twentieth century. The Philip Island Glory Pea flower (near Australia’s Norfolk Isalnd) was exterminated by rabbits that we brought there. Many Hawaiian bird species have been exterminated by Avian Malaria and Avian Pox that were brought there by humans and/or are spread by mosquitoes that were brought there by humans – the list goes on and on. Please lets all work hard to protect those species that are seriously endangered, even while pointing out that the Polar Bear does not happen to be one of them.
    - John Game.

  16. eyesonu says:

    JC says:
    June 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Obviously the Dodo’s extinction is based on its failure to reproduce, due to being a lousy dancer.
    =========

    Maybe from a lack of mercury rising. ;-)

  17. Billy Liar says:

    timg56 says:
    June 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree! I find it absolutely preposterous that conservationists, environmentalists and greens in general want to preserve the status quo. It ain’t gonna happen; might as well stop trying. If they’d been around 70 million years ago we’d now be trying to keep dinosaurs out of our gardens.

  18. eyesonu says:

    Andrew says:
    June 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    ====

    Slightly OT response, but maybe industry is failing partly because the HR (Human Relations dept) now controls the composition of employees and mgmt. of any particular industry. HR mgrs. are the product of the new academia.. Product of academics promoting academia. US industry is going the way of the Dodo bird. It may be analogized as a mutation of sorts, not natural selection. It may be all over but for the final collapse in the US and EU as well. Sad.

  19. Mark F says:

    An earlier article by Mr. Eschenbach pointed out that the official “Red List” showed no real anthropogenic extinctions, save for predation. I suspect that a great deal of alarm is communicated by those monitoring species at the edge of their natural habitat, with said alarm being used to stop or stall any human activity. Or worse, chase humans from their lands. “Ooooh, look, I just found a sharp-tailed snake! No more building / logging / gardening or other activity should be allowed within 50 miles!” Meanwhile, said snakes are thriving 100 miles to the South, just like always.

  20. DesertYote says:

    If its a rare species with a highly restricted habitat then it is not very important biological. If it is not important, then its loss has little if any impact. Most likely it is on its way out anyways. So no one should really care if it goes extinct. That this is not the common opinion. just goes to show how successful the Socialist have been in brainwashing everyone for the last 100+ years.

  21. DesertYote says:

    BTW, I am sure I don’t really need to point this out, but the definition of a species only known from the fossil record, is very different from the definition of extant species, so any blabbering about the rate of extinction increasing is just a load of coprolite!

  22. DesertYote says:

    timg56
    June 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    :) :) :)

    It its range is shrinking, it it endangered and its mans fault.
    If its range is expanding, it is a weedy species, and its mans fault. *
    If its range is moving, it is being driven out of its homeland by climate change, and its mans fault.
    If its range is stable, it is threatened, and its mans fault.

    * In a surreal moment, I heard someone claim in all seriousness, that mankind was FORCING coyotes to greatly expand their range and population!!!

  23. DesertYote says:

    Mark F
    June 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    ###

    Look at endangerment criteria. Most organisms are list just because of the size and fragmentation of their natural range. In other words, being threatened is natural.

  24. George E. Smith; says:

    Well Mother Nature’s law of survival of the fittest, has worked wonderfully for around 4.5 billion years or so. In his(er) view, wasting precious resources on the unfit, simply drives the whole system in the direction of non-survival. So perhaps humans are endangering the whole system by insisting on the continued survival of species clearly unfit to occupy the niche they currently inhabit.

    The Giant Panda, and the Koala, are two (not so cuddlies) that are just too picky eaters for their own good. Humans are amongst the fittest, in that some of us are prepared to eat damn near anything. Californians struggle endlessly to try and prevent the extinction of trout and salmon in their local waters; yet virtually every species that California anglers fish for, is a non native species, clearly better at utilizing the California waters. Perhaps if Californians would get all their trash trout out of the rivers and lakes in New Zealand, it would be easier to catch a nice New Zealand eel, in those waters.

    But humans risk their very own extinction; simply by being human.

  25. Robert of Texas says:

    Actually most of the so-called mass extinctions occurring “now” are just made up statistics – probably there is a computer model that proves its so.

    I am for protecting natural environments, but you can’t halt all progress because it might impact 20 lizards in a desert. If something is really that rare its going to be extinct soon anyway.

    Better to spend time, attention, and money on large preserves where lots of species have a shot at survival.

    As for climate change, if the species can’t survive a 1 degree Celsius change in climate over 100 years it isn’t going to make it – period. Man has no say in the matter (unless we move them into a Zoo).

  26. Gunga Din says:

    OK. Someone’s got to say it. The Dodo is not extinct. It’s now a politician in Berkley. (or a climate scientist at Penn State, or a …..)

  27. Brian H says:

    The environment is way too complex and brutal for environmentalists to comprehend. They are thus in a permanent state of confusion and shock. Their recommendations and demands are thus literally insane. Ignore or sequester them.

  28. Richard M says:

    Survival of the fittest. Isn’t that what it’s all about? If man is making it more difficult for other species then man is pressuring them to adapt. In the long haul that should be good for that species. In fact, it should be good for all kinds of species. It just may not be that good for man.

  29. John Game says:

    Gunga Din, please learn how to spell Berkeley.

  30. michael hart says:

    The difference between conservation and preservation is as long as a piece of string.

  31. DDP says:

    Sadly some species are at risk due to ‘anthropogenic global warming’. Not from any change in climate, change in temperature, sea rise, CO2 rise or whatever argument is put forward in any given week. But from watermelons who think they can save a planet that doesn’t need saving and has never needed to be saved in it’s 4.5 billion year history. Policies so backward even Greenpeace think are ridiculous and damaging.

    Orangutan numbers in Sumatra have been steadily declining for the past decade as a result of the booming palm oil industry. Which has not only led to palm oil cultivated land accounting for four times the Orangutan’s natural habitat, but hunting is widespread to cut the amount of crop lost as a result of animals scavenging due to their lost habitat.

    Another feather in the watermelon’s cap of deniability.

  32. Alan D McIntire says:

    Henry Clark that most vertebrates are not near extinction. In fact, species follow a roughly Pareto distribution, where a few species are numerous and widespread, more are less numrous and less widespread, and most are limited in number and area- by definition they’re near extinction.

    During the last ice age, much of the world was a desert. Thanks to the warming world, there has been an increase in the area able to support life, and an increase in species to fill the new habitats- and most of those new species spreading into warmer climates will be on the edge of extinction.

  33. Edward Martin says:

    Why all the fuss? Darwin tells us new species are popping up right and left.

  34. Gunga Din says:

    John Game says:
    June 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm
    Gunga Din, please learn how to spell Berkeley.
    ====================================================
    If I spent all my time learning how to spell I wouldn’t have any time left to comment here.

  35. benfrommo says:

    I noticed that a lot of people talk about the threat of “invasive species.”

    Well that is also something that is often misconstrued. Here is the thing: If a species can not “Adapt” to another animal taking over a niche, they were not worthly to survive. That simple, its cold, its a hard truth, but its also life. Humans might have the ability to “keep the damage down” by hunting invasive species which helps limit the changes the invasive creature has on the local environment, but in the end the environment adapts and something will start preying on the now native species everytime. (or force the invasive species to become limited in some fashion.)

    This is how life works, and if you look anywhere that humans adapted species to a new environment, over the course of say 50 years the local environment adapts and something does rise up to put checks and balances into place. That is how “survival of the fittest works.”

    Does this seem cold? I hope so, because it really is. Its simply this: A realistic way of looking at life and the environment. That being said, there are ways to ensure the most bio-diversity after an invasive species is introduced. If say rats had been hunted and had their numbers kept down in New Zealand and the animals there had been given a fair chance to adapt, the biodiversity there today might have been better.

    But that is what life is about, we learn from our mistakes and strive to do the best we can to make life better. We can not keep smacking ourselves and force our species to bow down to other species, because like it or not we are part of the eco-system as well. Taking us out could cause just as much damage to certain animals (say perhaps the animals and plants we eat…) and is that truly a good thing? Picking winners and losers without regard to the worth of either is a sure emotional way to work yourself up to saying that “viruses that harm mankind should not be driven to extinction.”

    IF you want to be emotional to that level, why don’t you talk to people inflicted with certain diseases and ask them how they feel about the disease or virus or whatever it is? Only cold hard science and the truth will allow us to realize that we have a responsibility to ourselves as a species FIRST and then to the environment after we safeguard our own existance.

    There there is this comment by George E. Smith, which is rather ironic when you think about it:

    But humans risk their very own extinction; simply by being human.

    I would tend to argue that humans risk their own extinction by not thinking things through rationally like I said and by being overly emotional (or perhaps being too human perhaps). This is the problem, and perhaps the ironic part of it is that yes, we will risk our own extinction because some of us have more emotions…and yes this will drag us down to a lower level and might lead to our own extinction if we don’t use our brains properly and realize that our survival is more important then any other thing. If humans are too survive, we need to stop the entire process of safe-guarding anything without regard to how it effects the environment…..and especially playing favorites with certain animals , plants and yes especially viruses.

  36. Titus says:

    It’s these types of discussions that make me question whether we really understand our origins at the most basic level. Creation and evolution are both beliefs. In my mind it’s so much easier to accept we just do not have a clue. Applying all of our abilities, with very limited sensors, to understand our existence seems so far out of reach to have any certainty whatsoever.

    The only certainty is that we will end up the same way as every living thing has in the past. There’s confidence in that……..

  37. leftinbrooklyn says:

    I’m just hopefully awaiting the extinction of ‘Climatesaurus Scientificus.’

  38. eyesonu says:

    In another 50,000 years someone/something will find a fossil of a Dodo bird and discuss the atmospheric composition as being thick enough for it to fly. It probably evolved into a penguin due to the ice age of the time that the earth was then coming out of. Will these creatures look like a penguin?

  39. Streetcred says:

    timg56 says [ June 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm ]
    I’ve observed a propensity on the part of greens and environmentalists to want to “freeze” what they see as the “natural” environment [ ... ]
    —————————————————

    I would just be satisfied with freezing those greens’ brains … it wouldn’t take up much space.

  40. P Wilson says:

    species extinction is part of evolution. The cheetah for example performs sex rarely, for 2 days of the year. Lions kill them… They are makiong themselves extinct like Panda bears which are extremely reluctant to have intercourse.

    Besides, new species are being evolving and things are being discovered continously. in 2009, nearly 20,000 new species were discoveered, 41 of them mammals

  41. TomB says:

    pat says:
    June 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    meanwhile, the British summer is not working out too well:

    4 June: UK Daily Mail: Freezing June! It’ll rain all week, feel chilly and we might even see snow on Britain’s highest peaks…

    And the summer Olympics are being held where?

  42. SocialBlunder says:

    If a species is narrowly adapted and man removes that niche, does that mean the species deserved to die (as so many have commented), or that man has ignorantly removed part of the richness of his surroundings? The tone of these comments indicate that many would prefer to be surrounded by tough, resilient species: rats, cockroaches, coyotes, ants and rabbits. That world would be a pale imitation of the world we live in today – it would be like always eating fast food.

  43. P Wilson says:

    re George E Smith’s comment.

    Darwin thought that the human race would eventually be doomed because of its lack of domestication. Even the wildest animals are adapted to their environment. ie, domesticated. Humans are dissatisfied and wish to escape, evade, change, and “progress” materially. In other words we are never happy with our environment.

    Again, the species that survive are the most adaptable, not the most adapted.

  44. AnonyMoose says:

    Some Darwin guy wrote a book called “On the Origin of Species”, which was somewhat popular. He pointed out a while ago in it that extinction is the natural process for creating species. Variation causes improved versions of critters, which then tend to replace the older forms because there often is close competition for the same living space and the improved ones (by definition) have an advantage in that competition. There is also competition with other critters, but competition with similar ones is quite a significant pressure within these relatives.

  45. Steve P says:

    ‘Some really serious blow-back against environmentalists here because of the CAGW hoax. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater, and remember, we are forced to make rules to keep people from pissing in the water, driving while drunk, and committing other destructive acts, like shooting every last Bison, or Passenger Pigeon. I wonder what ecological niche was vacated when the Passenger Pigeon was exterminated…maybe they ate ticks, who knows?

  46. mr.artday says:

    The Great Auk, the Passenger Pigeon, the Carolina Parakeet. They are all gone. Can anybody tell us how their loss caused any problems, anywhere.
    So many species have come and gone that the error bar for the total number of extinct species is larger than the best estimate for the total number of extant species. leading to that old biologists joke: ‘To a first approximation, all species are extinct.’

  47. Torgeir Hansson says:

    I checked the list of species going extinct not long ago, and none were due to global warming/climate change/weirding/what have you. It was all about predation and habitat destruction. And there aren’t many that are threatened by that either.

    But for instance in Northern California we have a problem with feral pigs—a hardy species to be sure. They cause expensive damage. They scavenge crops, cause erosion, and are generally great at producing all sorts of expensive damage.

    Seems like a good idea to cull them hard, and to benefit from the lovely cutlets they yield.

  48. Gail Combs says:

    Andrew says:
    June 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    The struggle for species to survive is the very driver of the process known as evolution. There are many who have a pathological fear of the concept that anything should fail rather than succeed, so we must bail out companies, and in just that manner we must bail out failing species….
    _________________________________
    That is one of the worse parts of factory farming and PETA.

    For robust farm animals you should not be trying to “save” every last animal with extensive vet care as the bleeding hearts are trying to mandate via “Animal Welfare” laws. Also factory farming leading to a narrow genetic make-up is also a danger.

    ….Purdue University animal sciences professor Bill Muir was part of an international research team that analyzed the genetic lines of commercial chickens used to produce meat and eggs around the world. Researchers found that commercial birds are missing more than half of the genetic diversity native to the species, possibly leaving them vulnerable to new diseases and raising questions about their long-term sustainability….

    He said it’s also important to preserve non-commercial breeds and wild birds for the purpose of safeguarding genetic diversity and that interbreeding additional species with commercial lines might help protect the industry…..

    “We suggest interbreeding some experimental commercial poultry lines with native or standard breeds as a backup plan, or ace in the hole, to help the industry meet future challenges, as traits such as disease resistance may be found among the rare alleles of other birds,” he said….
    http://news.uns.purdue.edu/x/2008b/081103Muirdiversity.html

    Do not forget Willis’s post: Where Are The Corpses?

  49. ferd berple says:

    Edward Martin says:
    June 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm
    Why all the fuss? Darwin tells us new species are popping up right and left.
    P Wilson says:
    June 4, 2012 at 7:43 pm
    in 2009, nearly 20,000 new species were discoveered, 41 of them mammals
    ===========
    20,000 new species a year. A few go extinct. This does not suggest any shortages on the horizon.

  50. ferd berple says:

    Smallpox, polio, malaria, TB. These are life forms that need to be saved from extinction.

    If extinction is bad, then where is the justification to drive some species to extinction and not others? You cannot argue that smallpox eradication, or the eradication of any disease is good, if extinction itself is bad.

    Eradication means extinction for the life form involved. Do we have the wisdom to say that smallpox itself is bad? While bad for the individual, perhaps it serves to strengthen the population, preventing human extinction. By eradicating disease, we may be causing our own extinction.

    Isn’t this the logical extension of the argument to prevent extinction. We have already seen the success of the EPA ban on DDT to prevent mosquito eradication, allowing malaria to survive and prosper. Time we applied this logic to all pathogens.

  51. Gail Combs says:

    eyesonu says: @ June 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm
    Slightly OT response, but maybe industry is failing partly because the HR (Human Relations dept) now controls the composition of employees and mgmt. of any particular industry. HR mgrs. are the product of the new academia….
    ________________________________________
    HR’s sole reason for existence is to keep applicants from seeing managers. HR is a real pain in the rump whether you are a manager or an applicant. HR will screen out the perfect candidate because he is too old, over qualified… anything to REJECT the canadate. HR types have no idea what the job is so will only be looking for a cabinet maker who has used a craftsman 12 oz hammer and therefore rejects a cabinet maker who only uses Estwing hammers.

    The other more subtle move is for HR to make the requirements so ridiculous no one in the USA can fit and therefore a CHEAP H1B Visa foreign professional can be “Legally” hired. Just ask anyone now working the computer industry how many foreign professionals they have as workmates.

  52. Gail Combs says:

    SocialBlunder says:
    June 4, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    If a species is narrowly adapted and man removes that niche, does that mean the species deserved to die (as so many have commented), or that man has ignorantly removed part of the richness of his surroundings? The tone of these comments indicate that many would prefer to be surrounded by tough, resilient species: rats, cockroaches, coyotes, ants and rabbits. That world would be a pale imitation of the world we live in today – it would be like always eating fast food.
    ____________________________________
    People would not be so callous about the subject if rare species were not used as a blunt object to beat us over the head with. Once you realize environmentalism is not about the environment but about some jack ass in DC getting his kicks out of being a petty dictator, you tend toward the philosophy of shoot, shovel and shut-up.

    The northern spotted owl for example is one of four spotted owl subspecies. “… also occurs in heavily logged secondary pine-oak forest, warmer and drier conditions and even bare rocky canyons. While some degree of logging may aid foraging, Spotted Owls associate with old trees and old-growth forest for nesting and roosting….” Another words you need logging to increase biodiversity to provide meals for the owls. As long as old growth for nesting is available the owls are AIDED by logging. This did not stop the totalitarians disguised as animal lovers to finally get the U.S. Supreme Court in 1995 to rule spotted-owl laws can be applied to private land.

    In other words the US government has stomped all over our Constitution using environmentalism as an excuse.

    Some years ago, when I was an attorney here at Pacific Legal Foundation in our Environmental Law section, I worked on a Supreme Court wetlands case…

    ….the EPA and Corps took Riverside Bayview and ran with it. Given a green light from the Court, they were not content just to regulate lands adjacent to navigable waters. In 1986, the Corps and EPA issued new regulations and that asserted they could regulate anything called “wetlands” under the Clean Water Act. But: how could the federal government regulate purely isolated wetlands that had no connection whatsoever to any navigable water? Well, EPA and the Corps basically threw out the Clean Water Act’s definitions and Riverside Bayview Homes, and decided that any “waters”, including any “wetlands” that could be said to remotely affected interstate commerce, could be regulated. How so? Because the Constitution grants Congress (not the EPA or Corps, mind you, but Congress) the power to regulate interstate commerce. So how does a puddle affect interstate commerce? Because people spend money and travel interstate to view and hunt migratory birds, which in turn may use these isolated wetlands. For the record: this is not a joke; this was the sum and substance of the government’s position, as expounded upon in SWANCC (refer to the opinion).

    …In short, the problem for landowners now is this: unless you live in a bog, swamp, or marsh, nobody can ever be really sure if the Corps or EPA will determine that their property may legally constitute a “wetland” subject to federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction. Which means that nobody using their property (that is, property that has not yet been developed) is ever really sure they are not running afoul of the law. And EPA likes it that way. Right now, it can assert federal permitting jurisdiction over any land it wants to….

    http://blog.pacificlegal.org/2012/sackett-v-epa-a-due-process-problem-of-the-supreme-courts-ownmaking/

    So as far as I am concerned at this point all the endangered species can’t die out fast enough for me. However if you want to wipe the EPA, USDA, FDA, DOE and the rest of the little totalitarians of the face of the earth I will gladly reconsider that position.

    The government even tried to forfeit a farmer’s tractor for allegedly running over an endangered rat. For crying out loud!

  53. ferd berple says:
    June 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm
    Smallpox, polio, malaria, TB. These are life forms that need to be saved from extinction.

    If extinction is bad, then where is the justification to drive some species to extinction and not others? You cannot argue that smallpox eradication, or the eradication of any disease is good, if extinction itself is bad.

    I agree totally, what is frightening though wrt smallpox is that I understand that scientists in the USA and Russia have kept frozen samples to prevent extinction. If these samples were ever released into the environment either accidentally, or by deliberate act they would decimate the human population aged under fifty because they were never immunised against it.

    If I could wave a magic wand and make an entire species or genus extinct, it would be the mosquito. I hate flies, but they are part of a food chain. Mosquitos contribute nothing, other than their own self-perpetuation. Sentimentality should not be allowed to keep a species/genus alive if it is causing the deaths of 1000′s of people a year.

  54. don penman says:

    We cannot control evolution no more than we can control the climate because behavior is more is more complex then the theory of evolution needs it to be,if we can’t know all the consequences of our actions then genes can’t create specific outcomes,all we have is change(evolution).Those who believe in protecting the environment had worthy aims and we accepted them but now they have become too powerful and threaten our well being.

  55. Bill Tuttle says:

    SocialBlunder says:
    June 4, 2012 at 7:56 pm
    If a species is narrowly adapted and man removes that niche, does that mean the species deserved to die (as so many have commented), or that man has ignorantly removed part of the richness of his surroundings?

    If a species is that narrowly adapted, it’s just as likely that a natural event will push it over the edge. That doesn’t mean “the species deserved to die” — nature is non-judgemental — it just means that when one niche disappears and another one appears, another species will find it and move in to occupy it.

    Don’t lose sight of the fact that the narrowly-adapted species population morphed from a larger, more broadly-adapted one.

  56. Bill Tuttle says:

    Steve P says:
    June 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm
    Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater, and remember, we are forced to make rules to keep people from pissing in the water, driving while drunk, and committing other destructive acts, like shooting every last Bison, or Passenger Pigeon. I wonder what ecological niche was vacated when the Passenger Pigeon was exterminated…maybe they ate ticks, who knows?

    Naturalists who studied them knew — Passenger Pigeons were nucivouous. A tick was pretty safe, unless it happened to be resting on an acorn.

  57. Bill Tuttle says:

    %$#@! That “nucivouous” should be “nucivorous” — that’s what I get for trying to multitask on only three cups of coffee…

  58. John Game says:

    Anthony, I am disappointed and a bit shocked by both the ignorance and tone of many of the comments here. The fact that most of us here are troubled by “climate alarmism” does not mean that its ok if we cause species to go extinct, which we are doing, by means that have nothing to do with climate change. Social Blunder (at 7:56 pm) puts the situation very well, in distinction to many of the other writers. I am wondering why you posted Viv Forbes’ “letter to the Editor” as a top post, instead of just having it as a comment somewhere? Like the rest of us here, she is entitled to sound off, but the letter is essentially that, there is little factual information in it, and she does not address the positions and concerns that those of us concerned with species survival actually embrace. For example, she writes “We cannot now return to a cave-man existence”. Well, I do not know anyone, on any side of discussions about species extinctions, that believes that we can or should return to a cave man existence. Rather the opposite, most professionals concerned with endangered species want to see detailed scientific approaches to the issue, which are dependent on a continued existence of a sophisticated civilization. Many of us are appalled by the way climate alarmists are prepared to ride rough-shod over endangered species regulations in the California Desert for example, by constructing vast solar arrays which are quite unneccesary, using the alarmist hype about CO2 and global warming, which, like you, we believe is at least grossly exaggerated if not outright wrong.

  59. Richard111 says:

    95% of all species that ever existed on this planet are now extinct. We are latecomers on a tired planet. Evolution seems to be running down. As pointed out above, adapt or die. Try telling the children. But they have access to other information they believe is more valid than their parents advice. Ah, well. Evolution in this case may be faster than expected.

  60. Bill Tuttle says:

    Gail Combs says:
    June 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm
    HR types have no idea what the job is so will only be looking for a cabinet maker who has used a craftsman 12 oz hammer and therefore rejects a cabinet maker who only uses Estwing hammers.
    The other more subtle move is for HR to make the requirements so ridiculous no one in the USA can fit and therefore a CHEAP H1B Visa foreign professional can be “Legally” hired.

    Most HR-types are clueless about job-requirements. I’ve seen openings for desk jobs written with such stringent physical requirements that only a SEAL could fill them.

  61. mizimi says:

    Survive.
    Reproduce.
    The two fundamental biological imperatives hardwired into every living thing.
    And survival entails adapting to environmental changes of whatever kind and of whatever origin. Success entails exploiting the environment to ensure your species’ survival regardless of the effect on those others sharing it with you. That is ‘Natures’ way of things and regardless of how we ‘feel’ about it, it is so.
    If, through human activity a species dies out, then another will rise to fill that part of the environment left vacant, and who is to say which one is preferable?

  62. thojak says:

    Let’s not forget this phenomenal performance by Georg Carlin:

    Brgds
    TJ

  63. Steve P says:

    Bill Tuttle says:
    June 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm/11:00 pm

    Naturalists who studied them knew — Passenger Pigeons were nucivouous. A tick was pretty safe, unless it happened to be resting on an acorn…“nucivorous”

    According to Wiki:

    The mainstays of the passenger pigeon’s diet were beechnuts, acorns, chestnuts, seeds, and berries found in the forests. Worms and insects supplemented the diet in spring and summer.
    [...]
    The birds traveled and reproduced in prodigious numbers, satiating predators…

    Before men developed an appetite for them, the abundance of these doves means many other predators must have included Passenger Pigeons in their diets. The same is no less true for the Bison, and we know who depended on those big beasts for survival.

  64. David Chappell says:

    I just wonder what would have happened if the greenies had been around when the Neanderthals et al were extant.

  65. Steve P says:

    Bill Tuttle says:
    June 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm/11:00 pm

    Naturalists who studied them knew — Passenger Pigeons were nucivouous. A tick was pretty safe, unless it happened to be resting on an acorn…“nucivorous”

    But, according to Wiki:

    The mainstays of the passenger pigeon’s diet were beechnuts, acorns, chestnuts, seeds, and berries found in the forests. Worms and insects supplemented the diet in spring and summer.
    [...]
    The birds traveled and reproduced in prodigious numbers, satiating predators…

    Before men developed an appetite for them, the abundance of these doves means many other predators must have included Passenger Pigeons in their diets. The same is no less true for the Bison, and we know who depended on those big beasts for survival.

  66. Bill Tuttle says:

    Steve P says:
    June 5, 2012 at 2:04 am
    But, according to Wiki: The mainstays of the passenger pigeon’s diet were beechnuts, acorns, chestnuts, seeds, and berries found in the forests. Worms and insects supplemented the diet in spring and summer.

    Many animals — especially birds — classified as seed or fruit eaters merely means that those are their preferred foods, but most are opportunistic predators. I’ve seen hummingbirds eat spiders and goldfinches eat aphids. My neighbor watched a chipmunk eat a nestful of baby starlings and the neighborhood deer regularly chow down on sparrows caught in the netting over his strawberry plants.

  67. David, UK says:

    DesertYote says:
    June 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    If its a rare species with a highly restricted habitat then it is not very important biological[ly]. If it is not important, then its loss has little if any impact.

    Agreed. Who’s life is worse off because the bloody Dodo no longer exists? Or the Tasmanian Tiger? We’re conditioned to say how sad it is – but if we’re honest with ourselves, are we genuinely sad or are we just vocalising the politically correct response? Unless the creature is particularly cute and fluffy then it’s the latter of course. I watched an episode of Nature’s Giants last night. Each episode a team of scientists cuts open a large dead animal (e.g. giraffe, hippo, crocodile) to examine its inner workings – it’s really fascinating, if somewhat gory. But the host always starts by earnestly saying something like “Sadly this majestic animal died of unknown causes. This is not just about studying the animal, but celebrating and paying respect to its life” or other such fluffy BS, thrown in to appease animal rights whackos. This is the mindset I’m talking about.

  68. Mike the Tyke says:

    I believe it is fair to say that the Earth’s environment is changing naturally. CO2, a minor player in climate change, is not exceptional in its presence in the atmosphere at this present time. Other, more intensive, naturally caused, climatic changes to our environment will impact more extensively in the future. Historical records of previous Earth changing events are being ignored at our peril. We should not waste our present abundant, but nevertheless limited, resources. All species, including the human race, will have to adapt or perish in the future.

  69. Brian H says:

    People keep citing that performance by Carlin. They misunderstand him. He was profoundly misanthropic; he wanted the planet to continue happily on its way sans humans, ASAP. A real jerkwad.

  70. Brian H says:

    Richard111 says:
    June 4, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    95% of all species that ever existed on this planet are now extinct.

    I think you’re missing a few 9s. The actual number is 99.9x%, where x is some positive integer.

  71. M. Jeff says:

    Henry Clark says: June 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm
    “The widely hyped media figures of millions of species come from counting all sorts of invertebrates, mainly bugs.”

    Please allow me to “nit” pick. “Bugs” are more precisely know as hemiptera, (half-wing insects), of which there are only 10′s of thousands of species. The entire group of insects consists of millions of species.

  72. Gail Combs says:

    John Game says:
    June 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Anthony, I am disappointed and a bit shocked by both the ignorance and tone of many of the comments here….
    ________________________________
    Then you do not understand. It is not “ignorance” but knowledge of the ultimate goal that causes the “tone”

    “The urge to save humanity (species) is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” ~ H.L. Mencken

    That goal of the UN’s IPCC, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN’s Agenda 21 are all the same. It is to put humans into “preservations” (Company Towns) and forbid them any freedom except to work for one of the large multinational. A return to feudalism.

    George Bernard Shaw was cofounder of the Fabian Society with the Webbs who also founded the London School of Economics. A school educating top political and corporate leaders such as John F Kennedy, George Soros & David Rockefeller. Speakers at LSE include Pascal Lamy (WTO director) Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan, Ben Bernanke, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Jeffrey Sachs, George Soros, and Lord Stern. Anthony Giddens, former director came up with the “Third Way”

    Ole George stated the actual goal.

    “Under Socialism, you would not be allowed to be poor. You would be forcibly fed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you liked it or not. If it were discovered that you had not character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble, you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst you were permitted to live, you would have to live well.” ~ George Bernard Shaw: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, 1928, pg. 470)
    [Shaw is even more blunt here:]
    “The moment we face it frankly we are driven to the conclusion that the community has a right to put a price on the right to live in it … If people are fit to live, let them live under decent human conditions. If they are not fit to live, kill them in a decent human way. Is it any wonder that some of us are driven to prescribe the lethal chamber as the solution for the hard cases which are at present made the excuse for dragging all the other cases down to their level, and the only solution that will create a sense of full social responsibility in modern populations?” ~
    George Bernard Shaw, Prefaces (London: Constable and Co., 1934), p. 296.

    From the Sovereign Independent Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    There will be no owning a home or small business. Unless of course you are George Soros (Wyoming) Maurice Strong (Colorado) tr the Bush family (Texas) yeah BUSH too.

    This is a map of the goal: MAP (Humans get to live in the little green dots, as I said “Company Towns” )

    The Kalmath Bucket Brigade has a listing of all the bills/laws concerning this coup of the USA: http://www.klamathbucketbrigade.org/YNTKwildlandsproject_table.htm

    If you do not like conservatives a liberal activist also has information DEMOCRATS AGAINST U. N. AGENDA 21

    We came very close to this a decade and a half ago. Stopping the treaty ratification does not mean anything more than slowing the global totalitarians down.

    The Wildlands Project and UN Convention on Biological Diversity Plan to Restore Biodiversity in the United States
    … Four concerned conservative activists who now make up the board of Sovereignty International were able to find UN documentation that proved the Wildlands Project concept was to provide the basis for the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. They used this information and this map produced by Dr. Michael Coffman, editor of Discerning the Times Digest and NewsBytes and CEO of Sovereignty International, to stop the ratification of the treaty an hour before its scheduled cloture and ratification vote….

    Taken From: The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Article 8a-e; United Nations Global Biodiversity Assessment, Section 13.4.2.2.3; US Man and the Biosphere Strategic Plan, UN/US Heritage Corridor Program, “The Wildlands Project”, Wild Earth, 1992,. Also see Science, “The High Cost of Biodiversity,” 25 June, 1993, pp 1968-1871 and the Border 21 Sidebar of NAFTA. The very high percentage of buffer zone in the West is due to the very high percentage of federal land.

    The plan is already going ahead. In California people are being driven from their homes using building code violations and are forced to pay for demolishing the houses. SEE: L.A. County’s Private Property War

    Updated in 2012: In RED, are the areas off limits to human use, they already have significantly reduced public access and no management or resource harvesting through: Wilderness, Critical Habitat and Roadless Areas. YELLOW Areas are areas of Highly regulated Use where hiking may be allowed, but no homes. Only GREEN areas will allow housing. See: http://stewardsofthesequoia.org/Wildlands_Project.html

    Close-up Map of the far west: Corridor Map

  73. Steve P says:

    Bill Tuttle says:
    June 5, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Many animals — especially birds — classified as seed or fruit eaters merely means that those are their preferred foods, but most are opportunistic predators. I’ve seen hummingbirds eat spiders and goldfinches eat aphids. My neighbor watched a chipmunk eat a nestful of baby starlings and the neighborhood deer regularly chow down on sparrows caught in the netting over his strawberry plants.

    So the classification as fruit-eater or whatever is really an over-simplification in some cases. ‘ Gotta watch out for those; they’re everywhere!

    Anna’s Hummingbird is a year-round resident in California. In winter, when nectar is not widely available, they eat insects, and even when nectar is available, they continue to eat insects occasionally, a behavior I’ve witnessed many times. This past winter, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Anna’s Hummingbirds were gleaning insects from Eucalyptus trees right outside my 2nd floor window, where I had an excellent view of the proceedings.

    As Yogi Berra put it:

    You can observe a lot just by watching.

  74. Owen in GA says:

    Some folks complain about the callousness of the responses. Get a life. If the environmentalists actually used something approaching a scientific argument instead of always argument to emotion, then most of us would not have such a visceral reaction to yet another attempt to move us all into the great socialist utopia, concepts of freedom be [self-snipped]. The part that gets me personally is the idea that these useless city-dwelling busy-bodies think they are better stewards of the land then the person that lives on it daily and has watched its seasons for decades. Then there are the nimrods that think we have to put out every fire in the western US, so that now when we do get a fire, there is so much fuel that it is impossible to prevent it from over-running populated areas and people get killed trying to stop it. It is so overgrown now that disease is running rampant in the trees and every lightning strike is a cause for concern. If environmentalists knew half as much about the actual environment as the do about implementing socialist dystopias, I might give them the time of day.

  75. Steve P says:

    But the bigger point is that a when a species is destroyed, a thread is ripped from the fabric of life, whose colors, textures, and weave we are still trying to understand. It won’t hurt much if we rip a few parts out here and there. Heck no.

    It doesn’t seem like much changes when the Dodo is gone, or the Peregrine Falcon no longer flies. If the last few hundred Elephant Seals had been clubbed to death, that would just mean more room for us at the beach – right? – especially valuable now that some of us are starting to approach that size.

    ‘Same way with the Bison. Who needed them? ‘Could have wiped them out too, if only we’d tried just a littler harder.

    Is this Survival of the Fittest, or do human actions resemble those of the House Sparrow?

    Passer domesticus is a non-native bird that was imported by humans. Actually a Weaver Finch, both males and females will sneak into the nest of beautiful E. Bluebirds in N. America, and blind or kill the nestlings, a fate that could befall an adult Bluebird as well, if one is unlucky enough to get caught in its nestbox when a House Sparrow enters.

    The House Sparrow tries to kill off competitors seen as being in the way. Not so unlike certain bipeds, eh?

  76. Matt Skaggs says:

    John Game,
    I sympathize. At this point hopefully you realize that the difference between you and almost everyone else on this thread (and seemingly a simple majority of WUWT readers for that matter) is that you are capable of realizing that entities other than yourself have intrinsic value.

  77. Larry in Texas says:

    Torgeir Hansson says:
    June 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Well, my God, Hansson, we can actually agree on something you said this time. God bless the pig, feral or otherwise, and the delicious cutlets they make.

  78. eyesonu says:

    With regards to the spotted owl. I read recently (~6 mo ago) that the USFWS (possibly a different fed agency) has a program where they have hunters (feds) that call in another species of owl and shoot them (kill) because they are better adapted to the mature forest that the spotted owl nests in and are thus competing with the spotted owl. What a job, get paid to kill a protected species for the hell of it.

    When the program for the reintroduction of the so-called Red Wolf began back in the 70′s they were released in NC Cades Cove area of the Smokey Mtns. A suit was filed by a Tennessee landowner to remove the pack attacking his livestock. Ultimately in around 1990 a federal judge ruled they were protected under the interstate commerce clause because tourists may come to hear them howl. The land owner presented his case w/ DNA analysis proving that the ‘Red Wolf” was nothing other than a hybrid between a coyote and a grey wolf. This has been researched and proven by a multitude of studies since. The so called ‘Red Wolf’ program continues to this day and costs several million dollars per year. This program should have never been started and certainly not exist today. Research / google the abuses resulting to the region around the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in NC perpetuated by the USFWS on behalf of the ESA (Endangered Species Act).

    The USFWS on behalf of the ESA is as corrupt as the EPA in many instances. But in defense of the USFWA, they simply enforce the ESA mandates. That in itself brings in the milk money, so keep milking as one might say. These issues would be extended to the US Park Service as well but with more absolute corruption.

  79. Robbie says:

    I could write a book about the mistakes this author makes in this piece.
    It starts with the picture: A dodo. Clearly a species not driven to extinction by natural causes.
    Nobody really knows what happened at the End Permian Mass Extinction event. A foremost expert on this event, Michael J. Benton, wrote a book about it: When Life Nearly Died. The answer points to global warming caused by carbondioxide increase to be possibly the main cause for the majority of the mass extinction, but it certainly was one of the factors:
    http://webh01.ua.ac.be/funmorph/raoul/macroevolutie/Benton2003.pdf
    http://planet.uwc.ac.za/nisl/Biodiversity/Temporary%20Transfers/Biodiversity/Chapters/Info%20to%20use/palaeo.pdf
    The End Permian Extinction Event took at least a million years or so.
    The trouble with these natural mass extinction events (apart from the Dinosaur extinction event) is that for all of them it took several thousands even hundreds of thousands of years to unfold. We are seriously increasing CO2 for what 50-70 years now. We don’t know what impact this increase will have on our future. But there will be warming and that’s undisputed.
    And tell me: Where do all the species we have collected in Natural Reserves need to go when it gets warmer? They can’t go anywhere. So the majority of them will become extinct as well. Again we are to blame.
    Just take a look at the natural history of Australia for example: Do some research how Australia was like before man arrived there and take a look at how the state of nature is currently. You will become very disappointed what man (including the natives) has destroyed on that continent alone.
    The disappearance of the Pleistocene Megafauna in Eurasia, North America and Australia (again) at the end of the last Ice Age is still hotly debated in the scientific community. So it is impossible to draw any conclusions on the fact if man is to blame or not.

    Mr. or Mrs. Forbes: Name one species that went extinct in the last 2000 years because of natural causes. Just name one?
    I can give you a list of dozens (maybe hundreds) of species that went extinct because of humans in the last 200 years. Either by hunting or habitat destruction. Just look at how many species are now driven to the edge of becoming extinct because their numbers are so low due to man’s interference. A drought or a disease is all it takes to whipe them from the planet.
    http://listverse.com/2009/07/25/10-recently-extinct-animals/
    And here is the most recent extinct species: http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0523-hance-christmas-island-pipistrelle.html

    Yes it’s true: In the past it was natural catastrophy that killed life on Earth, but today it is man doing the job very quickly and thoroughly too. Either by overhunting, habitat destruction and in the future by changing the climate.

  80. TonyG says:

    “The struggle for species to survive is the very driver of the process known as evolution.”

    I have long maintained that “civilization” is anti-evolutionary. It protects the unfit, at the cost of weakening the race as a whole. Might seem a bit cold, but the evidence seems to support it.

  81. P Wilson says:

    ferd berple says:
    June 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm
    Edward Martin says:
    June 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm
    Why all the fuss? Darwin tells us new species are popping up right and left.
    P Wilson says:
    June 4, 2012 at 7:43 pm
    in 2009, nearly 20,000 new species were discoveered, 41 of them mammals
    ===========
    20,000 new species a year. A few go extinct. This does not suggest any shortages on the horizon.

    reply:

    Indeed! We inhabit a fantastically rich and diverse planet, (which I imagine has become more so in this temperate world climate we’re enjoying) which has seen a lot of new found species in the past decade. From 2000-2009, there were 176,311 newly discovered species. 50% are insects, 11% are plants, 7% are fungi, 5% are microbes 3% are vertebrates and the rest are invertebrates. In the Amazon alone, 1,200 species were discovered, ranging from mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and plants.

  82. Steve P says:

    Robbie says:
    June 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

    A dodo. Clearly a species not driven to extinction by natural causes.
    […]
    A foremost expert on this event,
    [...]
    But there will be warming and that’s undisputed.,

    So warmer is bad? Maybe we should go back to conditions of the LIA, or even before the last retreat of the ice sheets, when it must’ve been…well, cold. How cold would you like it to be?

    California’s Imperial Valley is arguably the hottest region of the United States with summer daytime temperatures in the range 100-120F not uncommon. Yet, in addition to being hot as heck, the Imperial Valley is also the nation’s most productive agricultural region, so don’t let anybody fool you that warm – even hot – is all bad.

    Yeah, hot weather is tough on the obese, but with air conditioning, everything is cool. It was once important for people to be able to jump up and grab at least the low-hanging fruit, but now the bar is pretty low, and we can just head for the ‘fridge, or the drive-thru. Of course, all that stuff takes power…

    From the PDF on the end-Permian event (251 mya)
    you linked:

    Evidence on causation is equivocal, with support for either an asteroid impact or mass volcanism,
    but the latter seems most probable.

    Do you have any suggestions how we can avoid any future asteroid impacts, or mass volcanism? Would turning off all the coal-fired power plants do it?

    But you are right about the Dodo; it was a poor choice to illustrate the article, in my opinion, but at least we have learned the real reason the Dodo went extinct: it had two left feet!

  83. thojak says:

    “Brian H says:
    June 5, 2012 at 6:18 am
    People keep citing that performance by Carlin. They misunderstand him. He was profoundly misanthropic; he wanted the planet to continue happily on its way sans humans, ASAP. A real jerkwad.
    ——-

    Brian H: Agree fully on Your Carlin’s misantropics – regretting at same loosing that/in my (Your?) point. Sorry! – Go figure….

    Brgds
    //TJ

  84. benfrommo says:

    Robbie says:
    June 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I could write a book about the mistakes this author makes in this piece.
    It starts with the picture: A dodo. Clearly a species not driven to extinction by natural causes.

    So man is not a natural presence on this planet? Are we artificially created?

    But to ask a simple question: Would the book you write on this subject be called a “bible”? Or a religious book? But insults aside for a moment, no one is saying humans should strive to drive species to extinction. I am rather glad that the buffalo was saved, as I think buffalo steaks are excellent.

    Hope I did not insult you too much, and to qoute Anthony, “be as upset with me as you want.”

    Like I say all the time, I just drive the cold hard truth home to others who refuse to embrace reality and live in some magical fairy tale land. Have you ever fought against invasive species yourself? Or how about the others here who think its terrible that mankind damages the environment?

    I have to ask this because its important:

    Have you gotten off your backside and helped the environment in some fashion instead of pontificating from your armchair about how evil man is and how everyone else should save the species while you sit on your backside?

    It took just one man to save the buffalo. And it only takes one person to save a species but to do that you have to get off your butt and stop telling others they are wrong. No one is stopping you from dropping your job, internet connection and everything else and living off the land to save species. Instead of using lawyers and going against others you can save the species yourself with the right plan. Use your brain and sacrifice if it means that much to you. Sorry if this sounds like a rant, but the last person who told me I was evil for telling them that I don’t care that the dodo was extinct got an earfull for not coming with me to hunt invasive species…..(I offered and was declined because hunting and guns are bad, but I digress…)

    So who is the better environmentalist (or religious person for that matter)?

    The person who sacrifices for what they believe in or those who just talk a big game and don’t change their life one iota for what they pontificate?

  85. Robbie says:

    Steve P says at June 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    “Evidence on causation is equivocal, with support for either an asteroid impact or mass volcanism,
    but the latter seems most probable.”

    Have you also read the next sentence: “The extinction model involves global warming by 6°C and huge input of light carbon into the ocean-atmosphere system from the eruptions, but especially from gas hydrates, leading to an ever-worsening positive-feedback loop, the ‘runaway greenhouse’.”

    Or do you just want to read the things you want and simply ignore the rest? Are you a specialist on the End Permian Extinction event?

    And about the Imperial Valley. Some rivers run through it (Whitewater River, Alamo River and New River) which make irrigation possible. Without the rivers and the Salton Sea the Imperial Valley would be just as dead as Death Valley. If it gets warmer there and the Salton Sea dries out. It is game over for productivity.
    Warmer is bad in that case.

  86. John Game says:

    Steve P., once again I am dismayed by the lack of knowledge here. “….just as dead as Death Valley” ??? – Death Valley happens to be a magnificent National Park, the largest in the contiguous 48 States. It is TEEMING with life, it has unique FISH in its creeks, for example, that are found nowhere else in the entire world. It has MANY species of unique plants, also unique snails and other creatures. Lizards, Snakes, Mammals, Birds are all richly represented. Check out “Rock Lady” and “Salt Creek Pupfish” in Google. Then tell me where you can find any plant in the world that looks like Rock Lady and grows somewhere else.

  87. Robbie says:

    benfrommo says June 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Thank you very much for your insulting language towards me.

    What we are doing on this planet is not natural. Building homes or skyscrapers or flying around and emit all kinds of nasty materials in our environment is not natural. Overfishing, overhunting or habitat destruction on a scale we are conducting is not natural. In all 500 million years no living species has ever destroyed so much globally like we are doing right now. Or do you know of any T-Rex cutting down forests on a scale we are or a Pteranodon overfishing the oceans? There was at least some kind of natural balance. That’s the cold hard truth. Like it or not!

    I am not a religious person and neither do I live on a magical fairy tale island. And no you don’t need to fight against invasive species as long as they got there naturally. Rabbits, Feral Pigs or Cane Toads in Australia were introduced by man. Who else? Just like Goats on Galapagos. They could not have gotten there without our help and that poses a different problem. Humans are way too stupid and irresponsible to understand what they are doing with this planet. In the end we will and are going to pay the price for it. That’s the cold hard truth. Like it or not!

    It’s good of you that you took the bison as an example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bison_hunting#Comeback
    http://siarchives.si.edu/history/exhibits/documents/hornaday.htm
    http://twp.duke.edu/uploads/assets/Duval.pdf
    It looks like the species was not saved by just one man and it seems you are the one living on a fantasy island. Thanks to many people and organisations the bison is still here. It’s a team effort.

    To answer your fat-sentenced questions: Yes and I am not going to justify myself towards you.

    Furthermore your whole rant has nothing to do with the subject or thread. So what’s your point exactly?

  88. Robbie says:

    John Game says: June 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    That remark was mine and I meant Death Valley could never become a productive area as Imperial Valley is today. Death Valley lacks a river system and a lake.

  89. Smokey says:

    Robbie says:

    “What we are doing on this planet is not natural. Building homes or skyscrapers or flying around and emit all kinds of nasty materials in our environment is not natural. Overfishing, overhunting or habitat destruction on a scale we are conducting is not natural.”

    Wrong, Robbie. They are all natural. So is smallpox, and by your definition we should not have eradicated it.

    The problem is that eco-fascists use arguments like yours to beat everyone over the head in order to gain political power, instead of rolling up your sleeves and doing something about it with your own money.

    And where is your litany of complaints about China, Russia, India, and a hundred smaller countries that put out about a million times as much pollution as the ultra-clean U.S.? Do you think the Chinese government cares about shark fin soup fisheries?

    There are no greater hypocrites on earth than environmentalists.

  90. John Game says:

    Robbie and Steve P., I misattributed a comment about Death Valley to Steve P when it was made by Robbie. Sorry to both of you for that. But its great that Death Valley can not become like Imperial Valley because Death Valley is fine the way it is. Also, it may not be relevant, but the Salton Sea is not natural, it was created by humans.

  91. John Game says:

    Robbie, I agree with your comments made at 9:01 am about the errors in the original article. I guess I don’t agree that warming is at present a major threat to species, to me its more about habitat destruction and introduced invasive species. But unlike a lot of others here, you and I seem to agree that preventing further species extinctions is very important, and that we humans have in the last few hundred years caused significant species extinctions.

  92. Owen in Ga says:

    Robbie: what planet did your ancestors evolve on? If they evolved here, they are by definition, natural, and anything they do is also by definition, natural. We are not the only species that alters the environment to our liking. Termites build large towers on the bush which create cool spots near the ground and large CO2 concentrations in their surroundings. Those did not exist until they built them. Some plants put out toxins either in their leaves or their root systems to kill off competing species. Those toxins did not exist until the plant put them there. Beavers build large ponds structures by damming small streams. The resulting floods often run other species out of their homes. There are many other examples of plants or animals changing the environment to suit them. This is a pretty amazing world, but the Gaea worship of the environmental movement sees only man as the problem, but we have always been part of the earth, and have always altered the environment around us for our benefit (sometimes short sighted, sometimes not). We have to be stewards of our resources, but we are most definitely natural. Our DNA screams that we could have evolved no where but here so we are therefore natural parts of this planet. To assume we are somehow above it all is a conceit that is counter to all evidence.

    None of us on this board are saying “go out and slaughter all those animals to extinction, crush all those plants that don’t appear to serve a purpose”. There are a thousand people who comment here and I dare say there are probably two thousand opinions on any given topic, but what we tend to say is that we should take proven precautions for definitely identified problems (we rarely agree on either of those) and search with the scientific method (not post-normal science) for solutions to problems remaining. This board isn’t big on the precautionary principle because that way leads to all of us voluntarily climbing into our coffins for the celestial dirt nap way before it’s time, because only if we are all dead can we prevent us from doing any harm. Of course we also do no good that way.

  93. George E. Smith; says:

    “”””” Robbie says:
    June 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I could write a book about the mistakes this author makes in this piece.
    It starts with the picture: A dodo. Clearly a species not driven to extinction by natural causes……”””””

    History says that the dodo became extinct through predation by a prey species that saw the dodo as readily available food. When eating becomes un-natural, then all species will become extinct..

  94. Galane says:

    Preach a version of evolution at us which is quite at odds with Darwin’s actual theories, then turn right around and demand that evolution be stopped, can’t have any species going extinct – not even ones so foolish as to evolve into a niche pocket environment existing a few feet to either side of one waterfall in the Brazilian jungle.

    One dry-ish summer and that entire species of froogies goes *poof*, naturally. That’s part of evolution, folks.

  95. Bill Tuttle says:

    Smokey says:
    June 5, 2012 at 5:50 pm
    And where is your litany of complaints about China, Russia, India, and a hundred smaller countries that put out about a million times as much pollution as the ultra-clean U.S.? Do you think the Chinese government cares about shark fin soup fisheries?

    Or about the Baiji dolphin, which China polluted into extinction, or the Yangtze River dolphin, which is rapidly heading that way?

  96. mizimi says:

    Owen in Ga says:
    June 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Well said Owen. Too many people try to deny us the right to act just like the rest of the natural world – to use all our resources to change our environment into one that suits us – and if it don’t suit you, well that’s tough. Adapt or die. We didn’t make the rules, but we are entitled ( as residents) to use them to our advantage.

    For many years I lived in an old farmhouse together with a couple of hundred house sparrows.
    ( They didn’t live inside, but under the roof tiles).
    I got used to them. They got used to me climbing up every so often and clearing their mess out of the gutters.
    Then one year I noticed their numbers had gone down substantially. Food shortage? Better housing down the road? pesticides? Then one day i found out why.
    As I climbed a ladder to cut back a large clematis that had invaded the roofvoid, I realised I was being watched – not just by my wife, dutiful at the bottom of the ladder, but by a grey squirrel.
    A tree rat. All. as they say, became clear. The squirrel exited rapidly down into the garden and headed lickitty spit towards the trees…totally unaware our cat, Squeeker, was idly watching from under a bush. As Mr squirrel passed by, Squeeker arose from his hideyhole and dealt Mr S two mighty blows either side of his head. Mr S collapsed in a heap; Sqeeker peed on him and strolled off, tail in flagstaff mode and looking very pleased with himself. I inspected the prostrate squirrel, determined he was dead and buried him forthwith.
    The house sparrow population climbed back to its usual level within 2 years.
    Now, was Squeeker a bad cat for killing the squirrel, or a good cat for (inadvertently) protecting the sparrows?
    ( I occasionly wonder whether he was acting naturally or protecting his own food supply…..)

  97. Robbie says:

    John Game says: June 5, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I agree with your comments.
    And about the Salton Sea. I didn’t know that. I thought it was some leftover from the last Ice Age.
    Just like the Lake Manly system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lake_Manly_system.png

  98. Robbie says:

    George E. Smith; says: June 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Wrong again about the Dodo. It became extinct by an invasive species which didn’t belong naturally on Mauritius.

  99. benfrommo says:

    Robbie, I was not going to reply, but I see that you still are stuck on this “man is not natural kick.” If we are not natural, by reasoning we must be artificial and thus be either made by God or a machine. Which is it? This is why I bring up the religious bent, because you are talking about man as if we are not a creature on this planet. That is quite humorous to be honest.

    As for the buffalo, it was not a team effort. Small numbers of men working indepedently from each other all saved the buffalo. In the end, it only took one of them to save the species (or multiple species) and they did so by their own hard work and effort. This is the type of environmentalism that is good. This is what works, getting off of your backside and instead of pontificating to others what they should or shouldn’t do, doing the right thing and putting your beliefs into action and leading by example.

    And since you provided a link: here are several more stories of individuals from wikipedia no less who all worked by themselves to perserve the buffalo so I can today enjoy buffalo steaks:

    The famous herd of James “Scotty” Philip in South Dakota was one of the earliest reintroductions of bison to North America. In 1899, Phillip purchased a small herd (five of them, including the female) from Dug Carlin, Pete Dupree’s brother-in-law, whose son Fred had roped five calves in the Last Big Buffalo Hunt on the Grand River in 1881 and taken them back home to the ranch on the Cheyenne River. Scotty’s goal was to preserve the animal from extinction. At the time of his death in 1911 at 53, Philip had grown the herd to an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 head of bison. A variety of privately owned herds had also been established, starting from this population.

    Simultaneously, two Montana ranchers, Michel Pablo and Charles Allard, spent more than 20 years assembling one of the largest collections of purebred bison on the continent (by the time of Allard’s death in 1896, the herd numbered 300). In 1907, after U.S. authorities declined to buy the herd, Pablo struck a deal with the Canadian government and shipped most of his bison northward to the newly created Elk Island National Park.[48][49] Also, in 1907, the New York Zoological Park sent 15 bison to Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma forming the nucleus of a herd that now numbers 650.

    he last of the remaining “Southern Herd” in Texas were saved before extinction in 1876. Charles Goodnight’s wife, “Molly” encouraged him to save some of the last relict bison that had taken refuge in the Texas Panhandle. Extremely committed to save this herd, she went as far as to rescue some young orphaned buffaloes and even bottle fed and cared for them until adulthood. By saving these few plains bison, she was able to establish an impressive buffalo herd near the Palo Duro Canyon. Peaking at 250 in 1933, the last of the southern buffalo would become known as the Goodnight Herd.[55] The descendants of this southern herd were moved to Caprock Canyons State Park near Quitaque, Texas in 1998.[56]

    There are quite a few more stories of individuals who made a difference by themselves. Have you made a difference? Until you do, there is no point in you crying here about “artificial man”.

  100. Robbie says:

    Owen in Ga says: June 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    You are making one mistake in your comment: Natural balance.
    All the examples you came up with are somehow naturally balanced. Their numbers are ‘controlled’.

    Beavers don’t live in Africa, Oceania, South America, Antarctica, most of Asia. Humans do.
    Termites are almost found everywhere on Earth, but you forgot to mention that there are 2750 species of them and they all live differently. How many species of humans are there? Is it natural that one species lives all over the globe? Humans invaded every piece of land you could possibly think of.
    Please name another species which has done the same naturally without the help of humans. Just name one?
    You see what we have done is not natural. We evolved in Africa and we should have stayed there as some tree climbing Ape who occasionally walked upright. Our numbers were controlled by lions, panthers, hyenas and some occasional disease.
    Just like the Chimpansee or the Gorilla does in Africa today.

    What about the population of humans on this planet. Is it really controlled? And by what?
    If you want to see another Hockey Stick: Here is one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Population_curve.svg
    Tell me is such a population growth natural? There are a few organisms under the right circumstances which do the same. Pathological viruses and bacteria in a body.
    Do you also know what happens in the long run with such infections? Either the infected body dies or the virus/bacteria-population is destroyed by the immune system of that body.
    For humans on Earth it will be exactly the same. That’s natural.

  101. Robbie says:

    benfrommo says: June 6, 2012 at 7:38 am

    “Have you ever fought against invasive species yourself?”

    “Sorry if this sounds like a rant, but the last person who told me I was evil for telling them that I don’t care that the dodo was extinct got an earfull for not coming with me to hunt invasive species…..”

    To answer your first paragraph:
    Well it looks like you have something with invasive species. Therefore what are you doing in North America? Why don’t you go back to Africa? It’s the place where we all came from. There is our natural habitat. That’s the place where we evolved. Not in Europe, Asia, or the Americas.
    You are not native to North America. So you are an invasive species. It is that invasive species that got the bison in trouble in the first place or else it would not needed to be saved.
    Or is it justified for one species to spread around the globe and invade literally every place on it and breed like crazy?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Population_curve.svg

    And what gives you the right to tell me that I am not allowed to place relevant comments here. I responded to this piece on top of this page. You are not even discussing or rebutting what I had brought up in my first comment. You are discussing the wrong topic here.

  102. Steve P says:

    Robbie says:
    June 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Have you also read the next sentence: “The extinction model involves global warming by 6°C and huge input of light carbon into the ocean-atmosphere system from the eruptions, but especially from gas hydrates, leading to an ever-worsening positive-feedback loop, the ‘runaway greenhouse’.”
    Or do you just want to read the things you want and simply ignore the rest? Are you a specialist on the End Permian Extinction event?

    You’ve already acknowledged yourself that:

    “Nobody really knows what happened at the End Permian Mass Extinction event.”

    However, that doesn’t stop you from making a flight of logic that takes us from a poorly understood, cataclysmic but natural event in the remote past, to mankind’s addition of a tiny amount of CO2 to the atmosphere today, along the way dragging in a whole bunch of other stuff, some of it mutually contradictory, and most of it supported only by arm waving.

    All the direct, empirical evidence argues that elevated C02 is beneficial for plants, despite what the alarmists like yourself would have us believe. On Earth, there is no record of elevated levels of CO2 being the cause of any extinction, or otherwise cataclysmic event.
    In fact, the empirical evidence argues that levels of CO2 lag temperature, rising CO2 is an effect not cause of a warming Earth. First it gets warmer, then atmospheric CO2 begins to rise. The oceans warm much more slowly than your favorite carbonated beverage, but both outgas CO2 as they do, resulting in a flat beverage for drinkers, and disturbing correlations for alarmists.
    ~
    Of course water is required in the Imperial Valley so agriculture is possible, and that requirement is the same every place on Earth where anything grows. You’ve just dodged the points that warmer agricultural regions tend to be more productive than cooler ones, and warmth, by itself, is not inherently bad.

    Where do all the species we have collected in Natural Reserves need to go when it gets warmer?

    They could move into the shade, or take a dip. Animals have various strategies for dealing with the heat, but as long as they have water, most will be fine.

    We could even build air-conditioned enclosures for delicate creatures like the Polar Bear. In truth, most creatures alive today are highly adaptable, and many living on Earth today already experience daily temperature swings greater than that 6°C claimed in your foremost authority’s model. In these parts, 15°C or more is not uncommon. Over the course of my life, I’ve experienced a temperature range of about 75°C, from -30°C to 45°C. When it was thirty below, I had a brush with the reaper, but when it was well over 40, I went for a bike ride and got a slurpy.

    Finally, let me emphasize that I think we need some regulations to manage wildlife, and be good stewards of the land, but we can’t afford to bring our civilization to a standstill in the process. We can and do find a balance. Much work remains to be done, and I encourage you to continue your education to clear up the areas where you’ve been misled.

    I think your heart is in the right place, but I’m not so sure about your head.

  103. Bill Tuttle says:

    Robbie says:
    June 6, 2012 at 8:02 am
    Owen in Ga says: June 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm
    Beavers don’t live in Africa, Oceania, South America, Antarctica, most of Asia. Humans do.
    Termites are almost found everywhere on Earth, but you forgot to mention that there are 2750 species of them and they all live differently. How many species of humans are there? Is it natural that one species lives all over the globe? Humans invaded every piece of land you could possibly think of.
    Please name another species which has done the same naturally without the help of humans. Just name one?
    You see what we have done is not natural.

    If it wasn’t in our nature to do it, we wouldn’t have done it, bur since we did it, it is in our nature to have done it — ergo, it is natural.

    Either the infected body dies or the virus/bacteria-population is destroyed by the immune system of that body.
    For humans on Earth it will be exactly the same. That’s natural.

    You’ll have to go easy on Robbie, Owen — he’s a Malthusian, and because the human race hasn’t offed itself in remorse for being human, he’s feeling a bit peckish…

  104. Smokey says:

    Robbie says:

    Yes it’s true: In the past it was natural catastrophy that killed life on Earth, but today it is man doing the job very quickly and thoroughly too. Either by overhunting, habitat destruction and in the future by changing the climate.

    You cannot provide one bit of evidence showing that humans are changing the planet’s climate, because there is no such evidence. Therefore, your comment is merely fact-free speculation. Making policy decisions based on “what if” conjectures is a fool’s errand.

    Anything can be ‘justified’ by preceding it with: “What if…”. When you can provide hard evidence that human activity is changing the planet’s climate, you will probably be on TIME magazine’s cover, and in line for a Nobel peace prize. But until you can provide solid evidence that humans are changing the global climate, you are just bloviating. We need verifiable facts, not dreamy conjectures.

  105. Robbie says:

    Smokey says: June 6, 2012 at 11:55 am

    “You cannot provide one bit of evidence showing that humans are changing the planet’s climate, because there is no such evidence.”

    Can you provide one bit of evidence showing that humans are NOT changing the planet’s climate, because there is such evidence?
    Can you also provide one bit of evidence showing a respected climate scientist (Lindzen, Christy, Spencer, etc etc.) categorically saying that increase in CO2 won’t cause climate change especially warming?
    If you can do that I will happily look into it and see if your evidence is correct.

  106. TonyG says:

    So, Robbie, please share some of that evidence.

  107. Smokey says:

    Robbie,

    You apparently have zero understanding of the Scientific Method: skeptics have nothing to prove. The onus is entirely on those putting forth their CO2=CAGW conjecture, to provide testable, empirical evidence showing that human activity – specifically, human CO2 emissions – are changing the climate. They have utterly failed to provide any such evidence.

    There is no evidence whatever showing that “carbon” has any effect on the planet’s temperature or climate. Scientific skeptics have repeatedly asked the alarmist crowd to provide evidence showing that X amount of CO2 causes Y amount to temperature rise. But there is no such evidence.

    You are operating under the delusion that CO2 has any quantifiable effect. If it does, show your evidence. And by ‘evidence’ I mean testable, empirical evidence per the scientific method. Computer models are not evidence. Peer reviewed papers are not evidence. Evidence is testable, verifiable data.

    Where is your evidence?

  108. mizimi says:

    Robbie, every single organism on this planet is an “invasive species”. At some time it did not exist, then it did. Then, following programmed biological imperatives it set about populating the local environment, and then, if possible, the greater environment. It succeeded or failed. That is life.
    Man is the most adaptable animal on the face of the earth (because he can control and use his local environment to a much greater extent than any other animal) and it therefore follows from a biological perspective that he will ‘invade’ as much of the planet as his control of the environment allows him to . Perfectly natural behaviour.
    BTW, should we abandon space exploration on the basis that we are ‘invading’ another portion of our environment?

  109. Robbie says:

    Smokey says: June 6, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    “You are operating under the delusion that CO2 has any quantifiable effect. If it does, show your evidence. And by ‘evidence’ I mean testable, empirical evidence per the scientific method.”

    Weren’t you the person who claimed (in an earlier discussion with Robbie, me myself and I) that the current rise in CO2 is caused by the MWP without giving one single source or “shred of evidence” for it? And I mean testable, empirical evidence per the scientific method. Please!
    Here: Smokey says: May 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/08/letter-to-the-editor-a-wish-for-dr-michael-mann-to-clear-some-things-up-from-an-errant-psu-grad/

    I had to believe your particular story that you wrote there, because that one was better than what has been published in the peer-reviewed literature so far.
    And now you are demanding evidence from me that CO2 doesn’t cause warming while I gave you several quotes and sources in that thread that you were wrong about that. I am not going through that discussion again here. Sorry.

  110. Smokey says:

    Robbie,

    You are still avoiding the fact that scientific skeptics have nothing to prove. You are impotently trying to corner me into abandoning scientific skepticism, by demanding that I must provide evidence to, in effect, prove a negative.

    That is not how the scientific method works: Ei incumbit probatio, qui dicit, non qui negat; cum per rerum naturam factum negantis probatio nulla sit. – “The proof lies upon him who affirms, not upon him who denies; since, by the nature of things, he who denies a fact cannot produce any proof.”

    As to the belief that C02 produced by human activity is causing “unprecedented” global warming: the onus lies on those who say so. As to the proposition that there has been an alarming late 20th century spike in global temperatures: the onus lies on those who say so.

    The onus is on you to provide direct, verifiable evidence showing that a rise in anthropogenic CO2 causes a quantifiable rise in global temperature. But you cannot provide any such evidence, because none exists. Thus, your belief in the evils of “carbon” ends at the conjecture stage. Your belief system is not a testable hypothesis, and it is certainly not a theory.

    It is the climate alarmist crowd that claims the rise in [harmless, beneficial] CO2 will lead to runaway global warming and climate disruption. But you are incapable of providing any real world evidence, per the scientific method, to support your conjecture. And the ultimate Authority — planet earth itself — is falsifying your CO2=CAGW belief system. I prefer to listen to what the planet is telling us, rather than listen to climate alarmist nonsense.

    And you still need to get up to speed on the scientific method.

  111. Bill Tuttle says:

    Smokey says:
    June 7, 2012 at 11:38 am
    Robbie,
    You are still avoiding the fact that scientific skeptics have nothing to prove. You are impotently trying to corner me into abandoning scientific skepticism, by demanding that I must provide evidence to, in effect, prove a negative.

    In Robbie’s World, asking him for proof of his hypothesis requires him to demand proof of the null.

  112. Brian H says:

    Robbie, in the most basic terms, here’s the deal:

    The Null (natural variation) is true until you prove it isn’t.

  113. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    Good article, and good comments below it. For me, it is wise for us humans to remember our place. We also must remember that time and space are too big for us to condense into images that fit nicely in our daily lives. We cannot assume. We must keep in mind that life is fragile, but tenacious. We humans must not let our ego fool us into believing that we are important in the life of species, to the course of this planet, to energy balances that involve orders of magnitude more energy and more factors than we can ever hope to influence. We must keep ourselves humble, do what makes sense, not what seems grandiose and magnanimous. Grandiose and magnanimous typically lead to more harm than good. It is very important to keep in mind that, given only the natural order, all species are doomed. Of every 1,000 species that have ever existed on this planet, only one survives. Can it be considered a tragedy to lose one more? And (as pointed out in comments), let us never quite asking, “Where are the corpses?” as Mr. Eschenbach has pointed out.

  114. John Game says:

    The corpses, at least in the case of birds and mammals, are dead skins in museums – Dodo, Great Auk, Passenger Pigeons, a whole string of hawaiian Honey Creepers etc. Then for plants they are pressed specimens in herbaria, eg the Philip Island Glory Pea. We are losing species at a much higher rate, through habitat destruction, human-caused spread of invasives and diseases, and hunting (eg for rhino horn) than was the case before humans came to dominate the planet. It isn’t clear that huge numbers of species are at risk from climate change, but Yes, it is sad that species are going extinct on our watch (which they are continuing to do): for one thing, our children will not be able to enjoy them. This does not mean that climate change is the cause of current extinctions – that’s one possible factor, but in my view exaggerated. But there are substantial and undenible threats from human activity, to island floras and fauna especially, and we are losing distinctive creatures every year.

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