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Peter Dow

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About Peter Dow

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  • Location
    Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Interests
    Republican politics, as in overthrowing the monarchy
  • College Major/Degree
    University of Edinburgh, Computer Science
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Computing, mathematics, physics, political science, applied science, engineering,
  • Biography
    Banned science student turned to political writing
  • Occupation
    Internet political campaigning mostly - on welfare so I do my own thing

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  1. It should be possible for the World Health Organisation and its partner organisations artificially to introduce the gene drive to eliminate any inter-breeding population. Obviously isolated populations and sub-species will remain extant until such time as they are targeted for eradication.
  2. The past is this - 99.9% of species that there have ever been are now extinct. Species have an average lifespan of 1-10 million years. So we can confidently predict that the extinction of mosquito species will happen and now with the new gene drive method of pest control it looks like mosquito extinctions can be and will be sooner rather than later.
  3. Indeed, mosquitoes spread disease to other animals, such as valuable farm animals, whose blood they suck too, all of whom stand to benefit from the extinction of the pest species. So not only will the doctors love this, so too will the vets and the farmers. It's win, win. Most if not all species which eat mosquitoes also eat other things, such as moths, beetles, other flying insects etc. So mosquito-predator species will adapt to the new mix of prey species and will survive no problem. There's been a lot of time, money, science research and engineering development effort directed at this problem. No-one said this was simple or could be done at a whim. Each individual species will have to be individually targeted so exquisitely precise management of which species to extinct, which to leave alone, will be possible.
  4. Well I accepted your attempt to lighten the conversation in good humour by responding in kind, using non-scientific language of my own. My reference to the Noah's Ark story wasn't me "appealing to a deity", any more than you were "appealing to the anthropomorphised animals" which featured in your joke. Even so, my story was more on topic than your joke. Of the two of us, I was the guy telling the more relevant allegorical tale - which better illustrated the truth of pest control which is that it is man who has dominion over the animals, not vice versa - and you were the guy with the more irrelevant, misleading and inappropriate joke. That was the point I meant to make. You could have replied "touché", conceding my point well made and moved on. _________ If the world has about a million or more insect species then it is safe to assume that there will be about the same number of insect species still there after we extinct those relatively few human disease vector insect species. Humans are not the "very bottom of the food chain" but at the very top. The human blood food chain exploited by parasites is starting from a very high vantage point in the food chain. So our blood as food is a very tiny part of the ecosystem and so extincting the parasitic species which are dependent on our blood for their food will bring a huge benefit to mankind without inconveniencing the ecosystem at large one jot. That is a scientific regard for the environment. High human morality is associated with a high birth rate because if a family don't know how many of their children will die from malaria or other diseases then they calculate that it is better to have lots of children to increase the chances that some of their children at least don't die from disease but can mature to adulthood. So we can change that calculation so that people can confidently have fewer children by eliminating malaria and other vector borne diseases as a fact of life in some parts of the world.
  5. Smallpox we didn't need. Lab rats we do. I understood the limitations of his joke and proved that by replying with the more apt Noah's Ark story.
  6. I was pointing that out to Moontanman. It wasn't redundant because his joke suggested the opposite.
  7. It was and is relevant to point out that we humans can select other species for survival but that other animals cannot select us for extinction.
  8. You mentioned "people" and police officers are people, are they not? So my Bible story / fairy tale was OK?
  9. Actually, police officers have a notoriously poor sense of humour. So you think it is "not OK" for a Bible story / fairy tale to be taken seriously? Why?
  10. True. Well you claim that it "doesn't" but I hope that it does at least represent a model of the eradication of a closed inter-breeding population. Clearly subspecies which remain isolated from the mutation will have to await their turn for eradication until such time as the mutation can be artificially introduced into that subspecies. Are you asking how artificially to introduce the mutation into all the various isolated populations in such a way as to be sure that the species is truly extinct and not hanging on by a thread somewhere? The story in Science News admits to possible flaws in the method. So we'll see what further experimentation reveals. No more than your joke was relevant to this discussion. I don't "discount the science of ecology". Do you wonder if your own joke discounts the science of ecology? If not then why is your joke OK but my middle eastern fairy tale was not?
  11. "Mosquitoes diverged from other insects about 226 million years ago", according to Wikipedia, which is around the same time as the first mammals evolved. So there were blood-sucking mosquitoes for a couple of hundred million years plus before there were any people at all. Bees are probably on the decline because of the use of powerful non-species-specific insecticides. If we switch to species-specific pest control methods - such as the one described here - then innocent and useful insects will be protected. Well look even the development of agriculture changed the natural landscape somewhat but I don't see you starving yourself to death on principle of "going back to nature".
  12. Actually, a lot unlike "introducing cane toads". No introducing a new species No cane toads However, if you want to eliminate cane toads, there's this new technique called a "gene drive" which might be suitable. The story in Science News which I linked to in my OP explains
  13. As I have already said "It is the mammalian especially human blood food chain that I have a problem with mosquitoes and other parasites living off of. So if that particular blood food chain and its dependants goes the way of the dodo, that's a win for us." I don't consider that actions to remove disease-spreading pests are "messing" anything worthwhile up. I'm anxious to provide an efficient mosquito etc. pest control method for those places where other methods don't work well or are too expensive to invest in. Well there are plenty more species ready to exploit the nectar food chain and pollinate flowers and would be exploiting more right now if it wasn't for all those blood-sucking disease-spreading mosquitoes also hogging the nectar sources.
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