Poll

Finally got around to seeing the Wonder Woman movie.  One mind-opening concept I walked away with was the idea that Gods were playing with the idea that Earth would be better off if Mankind were eradicated.  

I think the Earth would be better off without any Humans, just other life forms
I think the Earth is better with some Humans, but maybe not so many
The Earth is doing great just how things are, but let's keep the status quo, OK?
Live Long and Prosper - more and more Humans indefinitely!
I have a totally different view (write in, in the comments)
meh (maybe comment, maybe don't)

Voting closes: August 16, 2017, 11:40:25 PM

Author Topic: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?  (Read 2498 times)

EscapeVelocity2020

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This is meant to be a fun thought experiment, throwing off constraints of reality for a few minutes (i.e. suspending your disbelief).  Imagining the world without Humans is pretty seductive, but I suppose that's because I'm a human and would want to be there although that's a paradox.  Or maybe I just want to be Wonder Woman-like being, observing humans from a dispassionate distance?

Who knows and who cares, this is just a poll to see what people think, with absolutely no stance on anything real, per se.
Transitioning to FIRE'd albeit somewhat cautiously...

Sydneystache

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2017, 02:10:05 AM »
In the space-time continuum it doesn't really matter which species exists. But we are in the only living/livable planet in our solar system so it is a great privilege to exist here. Us homo sapiens didn't exist a million years ago and the dinosaurs used this planet for hundreds of millions of years. The age of humans is here and really we aren't doing a good job of keeping the planet alive. I'd like to speculate how those mob of dinosaurs lived...wonder if they had "overhead at work" or inheritance issues.

Herbert Derp

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2017, 03:31:03 AM »
Objectively speaking, a world with humans and a world without humans are just two different configurations of meaningless space dust. Furthermore, life on Earth has survived many catastrophes and mass extinction events in the past. Regardless of what we humans do, life will continue to persist, even if it's just bacteria living in radioactive puddles after the nuclear holocaust. So in my opinion, let's just do our thing as a species and enjoy being alive!
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 03:36:01 AM by Herbert Derp »

marty998

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2017, 04:01:57 AM »
It's interesting to ponder who/what would be the dominant species taking over if we disappeared.

- How quickly would great apes evolve?
- Would they learn to use the tools & technology we leave behind?

Ecosystems might look very different, with quite a bit more fish in the sea and birds in the sky.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2017, 04:19:16 AM »
Modern humans are very good at destroying their environment. They kill all big animals that can't be domesticated. They poison their environment. And now we are warming up the planet without doing much about it. We have a very big impact on the earth. Therefore I think the earth and most other animals and plants would have been better off without humans. A few animals however thrive well because of humans. Then I am thinking of rats. Cats and dogs are another story, they are not the original animals they once were in the wild.

FrenchMustache

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2017, 04:21:01 AM »
this is what i think

GuitarStv

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2017, 04:34:48 AM »
It's difficult to support the argument that people have made a positive environmental impact anywhere in the world.

lordmetroid

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2017, 04:34:56 AM »
Better for whom?

undercover

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2017, 04:38:28 AM »
"Better" is a relative term that's completely dependent upon personal perspective. From a universal perspective, nothing is better, it just "is".

Our brains can't comprehend whether or not anything we do actually matters, thus from our perspective there is really no such thing as "better" beyond what our own drives and motivations are.

Ultimately, everything comes to an end. That must include the human race as a whole eventually.
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meatface

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2017, 05:05:07 AM »
If we're looking at this purely from the Earth's perspective, then few to zero humans is probably best for it.

dignam

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2017, 05:43:29 AM »
If "better" is preserving species and not blowing a hole in the atmosphere, we're definitely smart enough to know what needs to be done to achieve those things.  We just have too many people to do it though.

Khanjar

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2017, 05:46:07 AM »
No. Fuck no. Not only do I absolutely disagree with this notion, but in 1 billion years, without the unknown progression of human technology, all life on this planet is fucked.  Completely, and utterly, screwed.

Do you want to roll the dice, and hope that an intelligent, technology producing species will manufacture itself in the next couple hundred million years? I sure as hell don't. Anyone that thinks nature would be better off without us, better realize that cosmic nature isn't some gaia, everflourishing wonderland of green and niceness and flowers. Gamma ray bursts that wipe out any possibility of life for dozens, hundreds of lightyears are just the start of the nightmare.

May we not go gently into that good night.

https://phys.org/news/2015-02-sun-wont-die-billion-years.html

Quote
An increase of the sun's luminosity by 10% over the current level doesn't sound like a whole lot, but this small change in our star's brightness will be pretty catastrophic for our planet. This change is a sufficient increase in energy to change the location of the habitable zone around our star. The habitable zone is defined as the range of distances away from any given star where liquid water can be stable on the surface of a planet.
With a 10% increase of brightness from our star, the Earth will no longer be within the habitable zone. This will mark the beginning of the evaporation of our oceans. By the time the sun stops burning hydrogen in its core, Mars will be in the habitable zone, and the Earth will be much too hot to maintain water on its surface.
Uncertain models
This 10% increase in the sun's brightness, triggering the evaporation of our oceans, will occur over the next billion years or so.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:19:39 AM by Khanjar »

PizzaSteve

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2017, 08:05:55 AM »
The word better is a subjective concept.  Is earth better than Mars because it has water and more atmosphere?  I think we would need to define our moral compass first.
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partgypsy

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2017, 08:22:25 AM »
Overall biodiversity, intact ecosystems and the future of other living creatures on this planet (aside from fleas, rats, domesticated dogs, also pigeons) would be much better off without humans around. There have been human societies which have pretty well co-existed with nature (hunter gatherers, much of native Americans). But on the whole we have been a disaster. Most scientists believe the current mass extinction going on right now, is human-created. We are changing the earth in permanent ways as well, by mining fossil fuels which took millions of years to create, and pollution (plastic, toxic chemicals and metals) that will take a long long time to clear.

However I'm human, so a world without humans is not a particularly cheerful one to contemplate. Also we are the only species that we know of, that has self-consciousness, so that should count for something. So I vote for a world with a number of people that is sustainable (whatever that number is, but almost certainly less than what it is now).

partgypsy

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2017, 08:25:10 AM »
No. Fuck no. Not only do I absolutely disagree with this notion, but in 1 billion years, without the unknown progression of human technology, all life on this planet is fucked.  Completely, and utterly, screwed.

Do you want to roll the dice, and hope that an intelligent, technology producing species will manufacture itself in the next couple hundred million years? I sure as hell don't. Anyone that thinks nature would be better off without us, better realize that cosmic nature isn't some gaia, everflourishing wonderland of green and niceness and flowers. Gamma ray bursts that wipe out any possibility of life for dozens, hundreds of lightyears are just the start of the nightmare.

May we not go gently into that good night.

https://phys.org/news/2015-02-sun-wont-die-billion-years.html

Quote
An increase of the sun's luminosity by 10% over the current level doesn't sound like a whole lot, but this small change in our star's brightness will be pretty catastrophic for our planet. This change is a sufficient increase in energy to change the location of the habitable zone around our star. The habitable zone is defined as the range of distances away from any given star where liquid water can be stable on the surface of a planet.
With a 10% increase of brightness from our star, the Earth will no longer be within the habitable zone. This will mark the beginning of the evaporation of our oceans. By the time the sun stops burning hydrogen in its core, Mars will be in the habitable zone, and the Earth will be much too hot to maintain water on its surface.
Uncertain models
This 10% increase in the sun's brightness, triggering the evaporation of our oceans, will occur over the next billion years or so.

If you think humans are going to be around in a billion years, I laugh at your optimism.

Gondolin

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2017, 08:40:43 AM »
Quote
It's difficult to support the argument that people have made a positive environmental impact anywhere in the world.

It's also hard to support the argument that the above statement has any meaning.

Taken to a logical extreme it can be argued that any endeavor not related to expanding humanity's reach to new planets (and/or surviving until such expansion is possible) is meaningless and, ultimately, self-defeating.


Also, was Wonder Woman really the first time you'd heard a "return to Eden" narrative? No Noah's Arc? Or one of the half million other divine cataclysm myths out there?
"There cannot be two skies"

partgypsy

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2017, 08:42:28 AM »
The word better is a subjective concept.  Is earth better than Mars because it has water and more atmosphere?  I think we would need to define our moral compass first.

Is Earth better than Mars? Earth, as far as we know, is the only self-sustaining system with soil, fresh water, and many sub-ecosystems that supports a teeming diverse array of LIFE. We have no direct proof that there is anything like this, anywhere in the rest of the universe. So yeah, I'd say that's special. And despite our priviledged status, it is not the right of humans, to mess that up for the rest of the living creatures dependent on this planet. 

Forever Wednesday

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2017, 08:53:03 AM »
Perhaps not...

We tend to have a romantic conception of nature, but there's no denying it can be grisly. Predators exist, disease exists, aging and birth defects exist. If mankind were one day to develop autonomous AI which could sustain itself indefinitely on minimal resources (and without predation and competition), then maybe this would be the better outcome for planet earth?

Gondolin

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2017, 08:58:05 AM »
Quote
not the right of humans, to mess that up for the rest of the living creatures dependent on this planet.

What basis is there for this statement?

"There cannot be two skies"

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2017, 09:00:15 AM »
I mostly have FrenchMustache's bee/human idea.
However, I voted for a few humans because I like how we can untangle an animal from a tree root if it's stuck.

So, I really voted for wild humans with their gumby limbs and opposable thumbs.

Khanjar

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2017, 09:13:56 AM »
If you think humans are going to be around in a billion years, I laugh at your optimism.
I'd rather we make a go at breaking through the great filter, than we quit and die and all become non-sentient space dust again. Whether it's human, or cyborg, or AI that continues from this remote corner of the galaxy, hopefully something does.

I mostly have FrenchMustache's bee/human idea.
However, I voted for a few humans because I like how we can untangle an animal from a tree root if it's stuck.

So, I really voted for wild humans with their gumby limbs and opposable thumbs.
mmm, free meal.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2017, 10:41:30 AM »
Also, was Wonder Woman really the first time you'd heard a "return to Eden" narrative? No Noah's Arc? Or one of the half million other divine cataclysm myths out there?

No, Wonder Woman just got me thinking about it again, along with comments in other threads, a National Geographic show about Easter Island (destroyed their ecosystem building and moving Moai and practically starved to death because they couldn't build fishing boats), Lewis and Clark's expedition, and general curiosity about what us smart Mustachians think.  Really enjoying the mix of philosophical comments (what is meant by 'better' indeed), sci-fi (it's all a meaningless/random/headed to zero entropy anyway), etc. 
Transitioning to FIRE'd albeit somewhat cautiously...

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2017, 11:16:42 AM »
Isn't this one of those tree falling in the forest riddles.

VoteCthulu

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2017, 11:37:43 AM »
The earth doesn't care. None of those options are "better" or "worse" for it, since it will continue to exist pretty much as it is until some stellar calamity befalls it.

Would the other animals and plants be better of without humans? Probably, unless we can find some way to save them from eventual extinction by bringing them with us if/when we leave our solar system.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2017, 02:53:14 PM »
Mammals as a group tend to have short lives as species.  So unless we as a species do something really radical, we will be gone in a few million years anyway.  Barring things like a big asteroid strike, or changes in volcanic activity, and so on.  But really we have just been reshuffling the deck, with a few rule changes, ever since the Permian extinction.

BTW, never ask an evolutionary biologist/ecologist a question like this, it is something that can be discussed for hours days years.
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BlueMR2

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2017, 05:39:43 PM »
From the narrow view it doesn't matter if no one is here to appreciate it.  That said, we're an invasive species.  If it did matter, then the best thing for us to do would be to stop reproducing.

From the other extreme, in the really big picture, it doesn't matter at all.  It's not like we're really going to save the planet.  We can moderate our resource consumption, but the planet's life span is limited anyways, as is everything.  Whether this generation is the one that dies off  or it's the next one is really quite unimportant. 

On the moderate, practical view.  If we were serious about prolonging our existence the logical course of action is to expand to the stars ASAP.  We've already got (barely) the technology and resources to start generation ships on their way.  We only lack the will.  Ultimately it'll come to nothing as everything will end eventually, but that's the best odds on prolonging it...

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2017, 06:17:06 PM »
Unless you don't value the cultural and intellectual products human creativity and intelligence, a world with humanity (or something like it) is much better than a world without. With its amoral Malthusian predation and disease, a case can be made against exalting the natural world.

Deep ecology is a related and contrary view that I don't support but it seems to be currently fashionable.

kayvent

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2017, 06:45:01 PM »
Hmm. This gets me thinking. Imagine the scene from Raptured but every human being vanishes instantly. Soon, all our caged animals and many of our domesticated animals will die. A chicken designed to live in a battery cage and get super fat extremely fast has been breed to be eaten not to survive the wild. Literally.

Many animals in the `Extinct in the wild` category will become extinct. Some animals near extinction still need human aid and will die out if we vanish.

Plants like McIntosh Apples or Cavendish bananas will eventually cease to exist. We do some messed up things with other species.

If some of our domesticated animals survive, they'll stop looking like how they look like now. For example, dogs are all the same species. Dog breeds, heck any type of animal breeds, only continue to exist because humans are actively participating in breeding them.

Bison will go extinct. Bison find cows cute. In bed.

Speaking about sex, crabs will die out. As in pubic lice. Other parasites that have humans as their host or a vector point will die out. Some other species, like rats or mosquitoes, benefit from us existing and will see their population decrease.

The Earth ran a large CO2 deficit. We've done a good job trying to restore it but with us gone, the Earth will warm up a degree or two then cool down again.

The mole people living underground will rise up and after tasting the warm, fresh surface air will be induced into acts of courageousness that will fuel dissent against their oligarchical government. This will start an intergalactic nuclear war that will culminate in the glassing and subsequent destruction of the planet Earth and three quarters of the milky way galaxy.

Besides all of that. Things will improve.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 02:02:55 PM by kayvent »

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2017, 07:48:50 AM »
Good and better are essentially human judgments some might even say moral. Would a world without humans be better if there were no human to judge that it is better?

Nature adapts, species rise and fall. A world without humans would develop differently than a world with humans, but better? I don't know. Humans are inflicting harm on other species and its future self, but there a plenty of species that do that; there are plenty of boom-and-bust cycles in ecology, viruses that spread rapidly until they have killed too may of their host to reliably be transmitted or the lynx hunting the abundant snowshoe hare and expanding its population until there are too many lynx and not enough hare (then the population of the lynx crashes and the hare booms).

Granted, none of the species currently on earth can alter the ecosystem in the manner that human can, but we fill a niche in the ecosystem; perhaps if we were come the system would rebalance and our niche would be divided up. But, with simple too use observed in multiple species (as well at the ability to teach the use of those tools) and some species able to learn and teach new vocalizations . . . who is to say that given enough time a new species might appear to fill something akin to our niche. Maybe a new monkey, a hyper-intelligent bird, or maybe it will be from the seas which cover most of the planet.


jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #29 on: July 04, 2017, 07:58:27 AM »
What niche do you feel we fill, BudgetSlasher?

RetiredAt63

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #30 on: July 04, 2017, 12:46:55 PM »
What niche do you feel we fill, BudgetSlasher?

That's easy and already said, we are an invasive species.   ;-)   BudgetSlasher may have a different niche in mind though. 
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Greenback Reproduction Specialist

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #31 on: July 05, 2017, 11:07:27 AM »
What niche do you feel we fill, BudgetSlasher?

That's easy and already said, we are an invasive species.   ;-)   BudgetSlasher may have a different niche in mind though. 

LOL right!!

I don't want to toot my own horn, but we are pretty good at filling that niche ; )
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Dezrah

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #32 on: July 05, 2017, 05:24:11 PM »
I think human civilization is literally the most interesting thing that has happened in the universe.  Seriously.  We're the only thing we know of that contemplates the nature of itself.  Our thoughts, books, computers, conversations, telescopes, equations are all part of the universe trying to figure itself out.

Our universe is largely cold, dark, and empty.  But right now, for this very brief instant, planet Earth is literally the most amazing happening in existence. 

I think that's pretty cool.

daverobev

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #33 on: July 05, 2017, 05:49:15 PM »
It's an impossible question. I don't 'believe' in any form of God. I think we are the highest thinking lifeforms, and therefore we can do the most 'interesting stuff'; crocodiles have been around a long time and are awesome (from a human POV such as mine), but really 'is it worth it'? I mean, they are born, they live, they die. Great.

What is the *point* of life when you can't think higher thoughts and do higher things? Does it matter, either way - there are so many stars, planets out there - are we all quarks in some larger being, or do we host universes in our own bodies?

If we didn't exist there'd be more alpha predators, more climax forests. There would BE beauty as we define it; but with nobody to define it....

IOW: Fuck knows.
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Melisande

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #34 on: July 05, 2017, 06:38:19 PM »
Objectively speaking, a world with humans and a world without humans are just two different configurations of meaningless space dust. Furthermore, life on Earth has survived many catastrophes and mass extinction events in the past. Regardless of what we humans do, life will continue to persist, even if it's just bacteria living in radioactive puddles after the nuclear holocaust. So in my opinion, let's just do our thing as a species and enjoy being alive!

+1. I used to believe the first option -- the earth would be better without humans. However, my beliefs on the matter have evolved to more closely match the above. There is no instrinsic meaning in the world or better way of being. No matter what, the human race will perish sooner or later. It's meaningless to ask if this is good for the planet, because concepts like "good" and "bad" are human constructions. They will go away when we do.

So, yes, let's just enjoy being alive!

Linda_Norway

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2017, 01:27:26 AM »
I think human civilization is literally the most interesting thing that has happened in the universe.  Seriously.  We're the only thing we know of that contemplates the nature of itself.  Our thoughts, books, computers, conversations, telescopes, equations are all part of the universe trying to figure itself out.

Our universe is largely cold, dark, and empty.  But right now, for this very brief instant, planet Earth is literally the most amazing happening in existence. 

I think that's pretty cool.

I agree.
Life has been on earth for quite some time and as far as we know there hasn't developed intelligent life before us on the planet. We don't know if any of the dinosaurs ever developed intelligence Although some birds are pretty smart, they didn't develop mathematics.
Many scientists are quite convinced that the changes of there being life on other planets (or moons) in the universe is very big. But we have no idea how much that life would have evolved. A planet must be in quite a safe position to not be in danger for eruptions that would wipe out most life.
My personal guess is that on planets where there has been life for a long time, there will have developed animals and plants or something completely different that we cannot imagine yet. But it doesn't necessarily need to be intelligent enough to have developed space travel and computers.

Khanjar

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2017, 06:16:42 AM »
Although some birds are pretty smart, they didn't develop mathematics.

Nor can I imagine the likelyhood of them ever doing so! Humans have opposable thumbs, and dexterous hands, on top of the power of our brain. Dolphins have to contend with being in a 3d liquid, where it would be hard to influence events to bring about parasitic relations with their food sources and help them grow(see Guns Germs and Steel for how small the wild cousins of our domesticated crops were), as well as being impossible to my imagination to bring the force as well as the finesse necessary to create stone implements of use, and to move forwards onto metal ages. The water itself is even corrosive and weathering to most attempts at stability, so writing would be even harder to remember/keep.

partgypsy

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2017, 11:56:17 AM »
I think human civilization is literally the most interesting thing that has happened in the universe.  Seriously.  We're the only thing we know of that contemplates the nature of itself.  Our thoughts, books, computers, conversations, telescopes, equations are all part of the universe trying to figure itself out.

Our universe is largely cold, dark, and empty.  But right now, for this very brief instant, planet Earth is literally the most amazing happening in existence. 

I think that's pretty cool.


I agree.
Life has been on earth for quite some time and as far as we know there hasn't developed intelligent life before us on the planet. We don't know if any of the dinosaurs ever developed intelligence Although some birds are pretty smart, they didn't develop mathematics.
Many scientists are quite convinced that the changes of there being life on other planets (or moons) in the universe is very big. But we have no idea how much that life would have evolved. A planet must be in quite a safe position to not be in danger for eruptions that would wipe out most life.
My personal guess is that on planets where there has been life for a long time, there will have developed animals and plants or something completely different that we cannot imagine yet. But it doesn't necessarily need to be intelligent enough to have developed space travel and computers.

what do you define as intelligent life? There is plenty of non-human intelligent life. Perhaps not technologically advanced, but sentient nonetheless. Or do you construe intelligence so narrowly only humans can fit the bill? No matter how "cool" humans are, calling them an invasive life form is probably the most appropriate. They weren't invasive before "civilization" 10K years give or take, but after that we have drastically affected the earth.  We consume more resources than the earth can carry, degrading everything from soil, the air, and the fresh water resources. I would say no matter how you rate "better" (whether only other species and entire ecosystems get wiped out, or we are going to cause the extinction of our own species) yeah, not a "good" scenario. And although I'm a fan of science fiction, having the backup plan of moving to another planet or planets is not really a solution, unless we learn how to have a more peaceful sustainable way of existence. Because even if you get to another habitable solar system, it will just happen all over again. Basically we are just intelligent enough to do a lot of damage
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 11:58:45 AM by partgypsy »

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2017, 12:49:15 PM »
Earth is only special because humans are on it.
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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2017, 02:00:41 PM »
It's an impossible question. I don't 'believe' in any form of God. I think we are the highest thinking lifeforms, and therefore we can do the most 'interesting stuff'; crocodiles have been around a long time and are awesome (from a human POV such as mine), but really 'is it worth it'? I mean, they are born, they live, they die. Great.

What is the *point* of life when you can't think higher thoughts and do higher things? Does it matter, either way - there are so many stars, planets out there - are we all quarks in some larger being, or do we host universes in our own bodies?

If we didn't exist there'd be more alpha predators, more climax forests. There would BE beauty as we define it; but with nobody to define it....

IOW: Fuck knows.

How can you be sure that humans are the only species, flora or fauna, that can have higher thoughts and do higher things?
If you could tune into alpha waves how do you not know that you could communicate and learn amazing things from plants? Why is our thought and communication the only possibility? We already know that trees communicate through fungal networks in the soil. That is some "interesting stuff", can your higher thinking self do that?

Sometimes I like to think that maybe dolphins are the most intelligent species on the planet. They live in a land of abundance and spend most of their time playing. That is what life is about, play. We take it much to seriously. They may be looking to us and thinking that we are entirely stupid, "why if they were more intelligent wouldn't they get what it's all about?"

Having higher thoughts does not give life a point either. Having higher thoughts can get us stuck in a moment that doesn't even exist. We can get lost regretting the past or anticipating the future without even appreciating the now. Being lost in contemplation while missing what is a-happening now seems kind of pointless too.

To answer your question, I think that we do hold the entire universe within our bodies. We are it, everything, and nothing is separate from us, just as the flower is not separate from the field, its stalk, leaves, or roots.

Would the earth be better without us? Who knows. I agree with other posters that say you cannot define what better is anyway. I think that if deep down we thought we were important we wouldn't have developed the atomic bomb and other means of entirely wiping ourselves out of existence.

Earth is only special because humans are on it.

That seems like a very narrow view.


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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #40 on: July 06, 2017, 07:09:30 PM »
I think human civilization is literally the most interesting thing that has happened in the universe.  Seriously.  We're the only thing we know of that contemplates the nature of itself.  Our thoughts, books, computers, conversations, telescopes, equations are all part of the universe trying to figure itself out.

Our universe is largely cold, dark, and empty.  But right now, for this very brief instant, planet Earth is literally the most amazing happening in existence. 

I think that's pretty cool.


I agree.
Life has been on earth for quite some time and as far as we know there hasn't developed intelligent life before us on the planet. We don't know if any of the dinosaurs ever developed intelligence Although some birds are pretty smart, they didn't develop mathematics.
Many scientists are quite convinced that the changes of there being life on other planets (or moons) in the universe is very big. But we have no idea how much that life would have evolved. A planet must be in quite a safe position to not be in danger for eruptions that would wipe out most life.
My personal guess is that on planets where there has been life for a long time, there will have developed animals and plants or something completely different that we cannot imagine yet. But it doesn't necessarily need to be intelligent enough to have developed space travel and computers.

what do you define as intelligent life? There is plenty of non-human intelligent life. Perhaps not technologically advanced, but sentient nonetheless. Or do you construe intelligence so narrowly only humans can fit the bill? No matter how "cool" humans are, calling them an invasive life form is probably the most appropriate. They weren't invasive before "civilization" 10K years give or take, but after that we have drastically affected the earth.  We consume more resources than the earth can carry, degrading everything from soil, the air, and the fresh water resources. I would say no matter how you rate "better" (whether only other species and entire ecosystems get wiped out, or we are going to cause the extinction of our own species) yeah, not a "good" scenario. And although I'm a fan of science fiction, having the backup plan of moving to another planet or planets is not really a solution, unless we learn how to have a more peaceful sustainable way of existence. Because even if you get to another habitable solar system, it will just happen all over again. Basically we are just intelligent enough to do a lot of damage
This is one of the best articulations I've come across about what makes humans special and more than merely an "invasive species".

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #41 on: July 07, 2017, 09:31:37 AM »

BTW, never ask an evolutionary biologist/ecologist a question like this, it is something that can be discussed for hours days years.
I absolutely agree.

As an ecologist, I have to stress that it depends on what species/ecosystems/"world" you are referring to.
Humans have obviously had extremely negative impacts on a whole bunch of species and ecosystems - just visit the endangered species lists or type in 'degraded ecosystem'

BUT - for some species there has undoubtedly been a net benefit.  Rats and Jays are two exmples - the former has persisted, evolved and expanded because of its proximity to civilizations, the latter thrives in 'fragmented habitats' - which happen anytime we subdivide a forest.
We've also vastly increased the net primary productivity of large swaths of land by investing chemical fertilizer and undertaking large-scale agriculture.  This means there is more total plant and animal biomass than we would otherwise have, but the diversity (the total number of species) has been severely reduced by reducing these complex ecosystems into essentially monocultures.

Our existence (and our globe-trotting ways) has probably been a boon to microscopic life, which makes up >90% of the species on earth. Our attempts to irradiate numerous diseases have accelerated the evolution of quite a few microbes and created entirely new microbial species. 

We tend to look at the world through the eyes of a large mammal.  Certainly we've been 'bad' for most other large mammals, but in their absence their competitors have thrived.
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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2017, 09:30:32 PM »
Earth is only special because humans are on it.

That seems like a very narrow view.

You have to remember though, humans are only special because of the creation of Jazz*.





*Free Jazz and Smooth Jazz notwithstanding . . . and Jazz Fusion, we're still keeping an eye on you.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 09:32:19 PM by GuitarStv »

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #43 on: July 08, 2017, 10:21:03 PM »
What is meant by the word 'better' here? If it means a better environment, then definitely less humans. It's a little of the 'chicken or egg' concept though. If there were no humans to deem the Earth as special, is it still special? I suppose it is if there is another species looking for a planet to live on somewhere...

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #44 on: July 09, 2017, 01:09:31 AM »
Quote
If there were no humans to deem the Earth as special, is it still special?

Yes :)

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2017, 04:52:19 AM »
Humans are the apex species of the entire planet.  If we went extinct, there would be a giant ecological shuffling. 

1) Species that had spread quickly across the planet because humans brought them would begin to diverge again. 

2) Many species who coexisted with humans would either perish or adapt.  Some species would thrive in the absence of humans.

3) Itís likely another apex species would emerge.  Maybe another primate, or perhaps something entirely different.

It is an interesting thought experiment though.

Whoever said earth is only interesting because humans are on it should go watch some nature shows, or perhaps do a little traveling. 



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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2017, 08:32:12 AM »
Ve are all nihilists here, Lebowski.

Ve believe in... nozzing!

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2017, 06:33:32 PM »
A decade ago I watched documentary about Yellowstone National Park. One section of it explained that the beaver populations were struggling in Yellowstone. 'Why were they', the documentary asked with a coo. It then started the long tale: beavers need trees, trees get eaten by Elk, Elk get eaten by Wolves. But the wolves were eradicated in Yellowstone; the Elk population exploded, trees got eaten, and beavers froze to death due to the reduced tree population. The reintroduction of Wolves slowly helped the Beaver population (a quick googling of this finds me this link for those who are interested: https://www.yellowstonepark.com/things-to-do/wolf-reintroduction-changes-ecosystem.) Other species equally suffered.

Thinking about this now, could humans be a keystone predator in many places and our eradication mean devastation?

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #48 on: July 10, 2017, 06:38:50 PM »
A decade ago I watched documentary about Yellowstone National Park. One section of it explained that the beaver populations were struggling in Yellowstone. 'Why were they', the documentary asked with a coo. It then started the long tale: beavers need trees, trees get eaten by Elk, Elk get eaten by Wolves. But the wolves were eradicated in Yellowstone; the Elk population exploded, trees got eaten, and beavers froze to death due to the reduced tree population. The reintroduction of Wolves slowly helped the Beaver population (a quick googling of this finds me this link for those who are interested: https://www.yellowstonepark.com/things-to-do/wolf-reintroduction-changes-ecosystem.) Other species equally suffered.

Thinking about this now, could humans be a keystone predator in many places and our eradication mean devastation?

The damage that humans do to the natural world is not really through predation though.  The bulk of it is through waste and overpopulation.  There's no balance to our actions because there exists no force to keep us in check.

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Re: Would the Earth be a Better Place if Mankind No Longer Existed?
« Reply #49 on: July 11, 2017, 05:43:56 AM »
The word better is a subjective concept.  Is earth better than Mars because it has water and more atmosphere?  I think we would need to define our moral compass first.

It is certainly better for those life forms that require water and oxygen to breathe.  I'm not aware of any other life forms.